Kieran Rose presented at our second all-Autistic conference. The conference was due to take in place March 2020 but was postponed and took place online in November due to Covid.
- How are you feeling about presenting at AUsome Conference?
Kieran Rose: The opportunity to present at gatherings where there is an all-Autistic line up of speakers is usually restricted to Autistic Pride events, so the opportunity to speak at a fully Autistic-organised and delivered conference is incredibly exciting.
2. Have you ever presented before?
Kieran Rose: I’ve spoken at events and conferences all over the UK and at an Australian summit and as part of my business I deliver regular training and workshops. I also deliver online talks and webinars to both parents and professionals for various different organisations from around the world.
I’m also doing a tour of Australia later this year with Kristy Forbes from InTune Pathways.
3. What made you decide to send in a proposal this year?
Kieran Rose: I’ve known Evaleen, the organiser of Ausome Ireland for a while and absolutely respect everything she is doing which is really going against the grain of how Autism is viewed in Ireland.
Supporting Evaleen in her quest to reframe the Autism narrative and to help people start to no longer look at Autistic people through a lens of deficit and Behaviourism is the biggest draw for me.
That and any opportunity to spend time amongst Autistic people is worth leaping at.
4. Will you tell us a little bit about your presentation and who it will benefit?
Kieran Rose: My presentation for the main conference will be focusing on Autistic Identity, it’s importance and the importance of understanding the narrative which historically and currently prevents Autistic people young and old from self-acceptance, which has a huge negative impact on self-worth and mental health.
I’m hoping it will be beneficial to Autistic people in terms of reframing how they view themselves, family members in terms of how best to support Autistic people to achieve that; and Professionals in how they view Autistic people and the services those views drive.
5. Why do you think events like AUsome Conference are important?
Kieran Rose: Events like AUsome conference help firstly to reduce tokenism. Too many conferences have singular Autistic people as lone voices speaking amongst a sea of non-Autistic people talking about us and over us.
It’s so important that the voices of Autistic Professionals, Autistic parents and Autistic advocates are platformed. Insight is everything.
6. What do you see as the main differences between AUsome Conference and Autism Conferences that may only feature one or two Autistic presenters?
Kieran Rose: Again it’s the issue with tokenism. Multiple Autistic speakers offer the opportunity to reinforce what each other are saying. One of the biggest themes that run through all my talks and training is the opportunity for outrospection by Autistic people. Unless Autistics can gather, outrospection can never be really achieved. We need each other and if non-Autistic people won’t offer us those opportunities or work with us to do it, as hard as it may be, we have to create them ourselves.
7. What do you think Autistic people gain from attending an Autistic led conference?
Kieran Rose: I think Autistic people gain the opportunity to spend time amongst other Autistic people, something that so few Autistic people get a chance to do. This is something that historically as children and adults we have been denied, or only ‘allowed’ in a way prescribed by non-Autistic people, for fear that we will ‘catch more Autism’ or learn to ‘become more Autistic’ (as if that could ever be a bad thing!). It’s been controlled through fear.
This and hearing validating insight from Autistic speakers who understand how they are feeling and are privileged enough to be able to give voice to that, gives an opportunity to introspect and outrospect and also creates a healthy, accepting environment where unmasking is a possibility. It’s somewhere where you will be accepted for who you naturally are and not judged.
8. What do you think people will learn from your own presentation?
Kieran Rose: I’m hoping people will learn that much of what we know about Autism is wrong because it has been built on 85 years of research that was flawed from the beginning; and the impact that has had on Autistic people, families and Professional services.
I’ll also be shining a light on the Autism industry and its part in continuing systematic oppression against Autistic people and families in its quest for self-sustaining profit.
Lastly I hope to enable people with enough knowledge so they can reframe how they look at Autism, either in themselves or in others.
9. What would you say to someone who is thinking about attending this year?
Kieran Rose: Do it of course!
How often do people get the opportunity to hear so much insight gathered together in one place? It rarely happens, so has to be grasped with both hands.
10. What do you think parents, carers, teachers, SNA’s , therapists, health professionals and so on will gain from attending an Autistic led conference??
One thing that is often overlooked is how many Autistic Professionals there are that are constantly trying to challenge the narrative of Autism, but who are held back by non-Autistic Professionals that are constantly placing barriers in the way.
Autism and Disability generally is in the midst of a civil rights movement across the world. Human rights violations are happening constantly everywhere, no matter how progressive a country may feel it is. This is the time for non-Autistic Professionals to realise that, through no fault of their own but because of the tools they were given, much of what is happening is fundamentally wrong and, whether you see it or not, IS causing great harm.
Parent’s and carers are unfortunately too often led down blind alleys by professionals who have often have been misinformed, poorly trained and are not given the tools to be able to adequately support their family members in ways which are positive, accepting and productive.
This sustainment of this narrative has to change, socially, professionally and culturally; Autistic people need to be valued and not seen as broken or abnormal versions of ‘real’ people.