Autistic Researchers Committee Workshops

The newly appointed Autistic Researchers Committee (ARC) of INSAR held a workshop in August 2020 to briefly introduce our committee and gather suggestions from the community regarding our future directions and plans as we strive to promote autistic involvement in research and the inclusiveness of INSAR. We welcomed all interested attendees, whether they were researchers or community members and whether they were neurodivergent or neurotypical.

The live workshop was held twice, to encourage participation across time zones. Please click on the link to watch:

College Autism Summit

I am honoured to serve on the panel at the College Autism Summit on Oct 28th, 2020 discussing the experiences of life on the spectrum on a college campus. As part of the College Autism Network Virtual Association of Scholars (CANVAS), this summit brings together scholars, practitioners, administrators, employers, self-advocates and their family members to discuss evidence-driven strategies that help support college students with autism and related learning differences. Transition to college, experience while in college, and transition to employment and independent living are all areas of focus.

Guest speaker in the Autism Certificate Program

It was a privilege to be invited to speak to a Towson university class on the intersection of race and autism. The class of bright, fierce students were kind, open, and showed a strong spirit of inquiry with their exceptional questions. I wish them all the best of luck with their future endevours.

A special thank you to instructor Dena Gassner for the thought provoking questions, great insights, and for modeling what vulnerability looks like as a strength.

Autism Intervention Research Network for Physical Health (AIR-P)

I am honoured to be a decision-making partner serving on a Autistic Researchers Review Board (ARRB) of the AIR-P along with other noted Autistic leaders in their respective fields. Formerly under the Autism Speaks umbrella, AIR-P is now under the leadership of Dr. Alice Kuo of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and partners at Kaiser Permanente, the AJ Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Research will focus on Health Services, Primary Care/Prevention, Well-Being, Neurology, Genetics, Sexual Health, and Health Care Transitions.

With a $15 million investment by the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (US), AIR-P is “addressing the physical health of autistic individuals across the lifespan [to ensure] they are on a trajectory for a healthy and fulfilling life,” says Alice Kuo, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator of AIR-P and Chief of Internal Medicine-Pediatrics at UCLA.

Fifteen Coordinating Research Entities (CREs) have already signed on to the AIR-P network, with more to follow. These fifteen include the following AUCD network members: Center for Human Development (Alaska), Sonoran UCEDD (Arizona), JFK Partners (Colorado), Rose F. Kennedy Center (New York), Indiana Institute on Disability and Community (Indiana), Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities (Kansas), Kennedy Krieger Institute (Maryland), Mailman Center for Child Development (Florida), Institute on Community Integration (Minnesota), The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities (New Jersey), Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities (Tennessee), UC Davis MIND Institute (California), Institute on Disability and Human Development (Illinois), Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (North Carolina) and Center on Human Development and Disability (Washington).

For more information about the new AIR-P network at UCLA, please email

Sinneave Family Foundation Autism Campus Prep Program

I am honoured to be working on the advisory board of the Sinneave Family Foundation designing the online version of Autism Campus Prep program for Autistic individuals planning on attending post-secondary programs after high school. This program has been offered in several universities across Alberta in its previous iteration and now we are designing this to be accessible for all Autistic individuals across Canada and beyond.

We hope to have the design complete by the end of 2020 and ready to be launched soon after. Please check the Sinneave Family Foundation website for the new online program, a new name, and a new look.

Antistasis Journal Volume 10 #2

(Re)Imagining Leadership and Supports to Promote Enhanced Outcomes for Autism Spectrum Students in Universities: Exploring the Perspectives of Canadian Leaders, Accessibility Services Personnel, Teaching Faculty, and Autistic Students Authors: TC Waisman, Shelleyann Scott, Donald E. Scott

Our article was just published this month (August 2020) in Antistasis and can be viewed here:

A Cross-Institutional Research on UD Autism Training for Faculty

If you are a faculty member or TA of a university and you would like to increase your knowledge of Autistic students, gain an understanding of universal design (UD) as a pedagogical tool that benefits all students, and obtain practical resources you can utilize immediately, please contact me to be added to the wait list for participation in this research. Participants will receive $50USD through PayPal in your local currency. The total time commitment including pre-test, training, post-test, and maintenance questionnaire is approximately 2-3 hours.

Under the guidance of the esteemed Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, I am excited to announce that I am the primary author of our research on Autism & Universal Design Training for Faculty. We are honoured to work with talented collaborator researchers from around the world who are accomplished in the fields of:

  • Online Learning
  • Universal Design
  • Experiences of Autistic students in higher education
  • Faculty Training
  • Camouflaging and Masking
  • Autism and Mental Health
  • Educational Leadership
  • Diagnosis and Defining Autism
  • Neurodiversity
  • Participatory Mentorship
  • The impact of Technology on Equity & Inclusion
  • Sensory processing and sensory sensitivities in autism
  • Leadership, policy, & governance in a post-secondary context as it relates to Autistic students’ outcomes in higher education

Autism Training

The following autism training was created by members of the International Society for Autism Research -INSAR’s- Autism Researchers Committee for use at INSAR international meetings and large conferences. This training is a brief introduction to autistic people, how we see ourselves, myths about autism, and how to work with us. Please cite accordingly.

Citation: Waisman, TC, Gassner, D., Gillespie-Lynch, K., Den Houting, J., Kapp, S., Nachman, B., Shore, S., Dwyer, P. (2020). Autism Training for INSAR 2020 developed by INSARs 2020 Autistic Researchers Committee.’s_2020_Autistic_Researchers_Committee


Co-Chair of our new Autistic Researchers Committee

The International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) unanimously appointed its inaugural Autistic Researchers Committee.

While many Autistic persons and allies have been championing research informed by Autistic lives, this marks the first organized and recognized effort to directly involve Autistic researchers in contributing to the course autism research. in addressing and collaborating on autistic research and the implications for the community.  

The aims of the Autistic Researchers Committee is:

  • To better integrate autistic members into INSAR programs;
  • To foster scientific career development for autistic autism researchers;
  • To create opportunities for autistic scientists to offer their insights to allistic researchers and fellow colleagues;
  • To make INSAR conferences more accommodating and welcoming for autistic and other disabled members and participants;
  • To promote the inclusion of and consideration for issues important to autistic persons in INSAR meetings and in overall autism research across the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, and other disciplines; and
  • To advise the INSAR Board on issues important to autistic people.

INSAR is a scientific and professional organization devoted to advancing knowledge about autism. INSAR was formed in 2001 and is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors who oversee all functions of the Society. Various committees assist the Board in carrying out the mission of the Society. They are known internationally for the international conference that occurs annually, providing opportunities for researchers and stakeholders to examine the newest research, to foster connections and to network with professional from around the world.

The newly appointed members include:

BOARD LIAISON: Cheryl Dissanayake (she/her), Professor, Director & Chair, Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University (INSAR Board Liaison)

John Elder Robison (he/him), Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence, William and Mary College (Outgoing INSAR Board Liaison/Committee Advisor)

CO-CHAIR: Patrick Dwyer (he/him), PhD Student, UC Davis

CO-CHAIR: TC Waisman (she/her) EdD Student, University of Calgary

Dena L. Gassner (she/her), PhD Candidate, Adelphi University; Adjunct Faculty, Towson University; National Board Member for The Arc US

Jac den Houting (they/them), Postdoctoral Research Associate, Macquarie University

Steven Kapp (he/him), Lecturer, University of Portsmouth Brett Ranon Nachman (he/him), PhD Candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dora M. Raymaker (they/them/any), Research Assistant Professor, Portland State University / Regional Research Institute for Human Services

Stephen Mark Shore (he/him), Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education, Adelphi University; Adjunct Professor of Occupational Therapy, New York University

Kristen Gillespie-Lynch (she/her), Associate Professor, CUNY, (Committee Advisor)

Christina Nicolaidis (she/her), Professor, Portland State University (Committee Advisor)