As a researcher who currently primarily uses qualitative research methods (e.g. interviews), and as an autistic person having used my personal experience to influence my research interests; I very much believe that the best way for people to learn about a condition like autism, is by listening to people’s personal experiences and perspectives.
One thing I, unfortunately, often find is that people have a misconception, as part of a wider societal issue, that being autistic is a bad thing. From my personal point of view I would argue that it isn’t, I enjoy being different and any negatives for me arise from societal views and inaccessible environments. As it would be a little longer before I can look in to sharing our research findings, I wanted to improve community understanding of autism and autistic people.
Along with Sophie Williams (an autistic woman studying at the University of Liverpool and working on our research), we approached the Victoria Gallery and Museum at the University of Liverpool who were keen to host a series of talks which would allow autistic individuals to share their experiences to the local public and other students/staff members at the University.
The talks have been so helpful in opening up discussions and getting people to think about aspects of autism in a different way, so we really wanted to spread these experiences further. As a result we have set up a YouTube channel, not all speakers have given permission for their talk to be uploaded, which we completely respect, but we upload any talks that we were given permission for.
Current talks include
Autism and the Media – Delivered by me
Autism, Music and Coping – Kenn Rushworth
Hidden in Plain Sight – Sophie Williams
Participatory Autism Research – A joint presentation by myself and Sophie
Autism, Mental Health and Coping – Delivered by me
As the second series of talks continue more will be uploaded as they are available. You can watch the talks on our channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBPOG1jLQLvrrwZhMuqQnTQ?view_as=subscriber