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Adapting Your Skills for Autism & Asperger’s: 2. Emotions: Preventing & Healing Mental Ill-health

Peter Vermeulen, PhD - Internationally respected speaker & author

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Members of Autism Oxford’s Highly Acclaimed Autistic Training Team

Date: Wed, 4th October 2017
Time: 8.00am for 9.30am – 3.45pm

Didcot Civic Hall
Britwell Road
OX11 7JN

Booking Rates: Professionals: £69 (£57.50 + 20% VAT). ASC & Family members: £45 (£37.50 + 20% VAT). Concessionary Rate £30 (£25 + 20% VAT)

Praise for Peter Vermeulen from the audience at our 2015 event:

“An outstanding speaker!  I learned so much – I feel empowered and inspired!”

“..lively presentation, full of knowledge, anecdotes & practical common sense”

“Brilliant speaker, makes so much sense, funny – very, very pleased I have been able to hear him speak”

“Very interesting! Useful references & a very welcome pro-autistic perspective”

“Amazing, engaging speaker. Turned perceptions of Autism upside down!”

Adapting Your skills for Autism & Asperger’s

It has been said that no-one can make one feel de-skilled as easily as someone on the autism spectrum.  This is not through any intention of the autistic person, rather it is a result of trying to use skills and working practices designed for successful working with Neuro-Typical (ie non-autistic) people.  Autistic brains are different in their genetic make-up, and in their operating system.  Autistic perspectives and ways of managing their lives are different.  To work successfully with autistic children, young people and adults, we need to learn how to adapt our skills to the autistic way of thinking, operating and living.  We need to listen to and learn from autistic people themselves.  Once we understand the fundamental differences, and adapt our skills and practices with humility and flexibility, we can all work successfully with Autism & Asperger’s.

Peter Vermeulen

Peter’s qualifications include a Master in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium (1985) and PhD in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands (2002).
From 1987 till 1998 he worked for the Flemish Autism Association, first as a home trainer for families with autistic children, later as director of the home training centre and finally as a trainer / lecturer.
Since 1998, Peter has been an autism consultant / lecturer /trainer at Autisme Centraal.  He is Chief Editor of “Autisme Centraal”, bi-monthly magazine of Autisme Centraal, and a Member of the editorial board of the Belgian-Dutch Journal of Special Education, Child Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology.

Peter has published more than 15 books and several articles on autism, including “This is the title: on autistic thinking” (2001), “I am Special: handbook for psycho-education” (2000, revised edition 2013), and “Autism as context blindness” (2012), a book than won several awards in the USA.

Having worked with autistic people and their families for more than 25 years, Peter is now co-director of Autisme Centraal, a training and education centre for the autism spectrum. He is an internationally respected lecturer/trainer and he presents all over Europe and beyond.

Autism and emotions: a story for/about the brain and the heart
Peter Vermeulen, PhD
Autisme Centraal

In 1943, when Leo Kanner published his ground breaking article on autism, he choose to give it the title “Autistic disturbances of affective contact’, putting emotions right in the centre of his concept of autism. Almost eight decades later, the question remains important: do autistic people have access to emotions, both their own emotions as those in other people, in a different way than Neurotypicals? In this presentation we summarize the main findings of 75 years of research of the emotional life of autistic people. These findings show that Kanner’s observations were spot on, his explanation of what he saw, however, were less accurate in the light of recent research. In the presentation we will try to make clear, with numerous examples and illustrations, that cognition and emotion are inextricably linked to each other and that the ‘autistic thinking’ has a significant impact on the way an autistic brain understands emotions. Topics that will be covered are:
How do autistic people understand emotions, both their own as those of other people?
Why is it so difficult for autistic people to talk about (their own) emotions? Autism and the emotional mirror.
Why is it dangerous to assume what autistic people feel? Neurotypical projections, or: who is the one lacking Theory of Mind?
Context blindness and recognizing emotions. Why it is not a good idea to teach autistic children to recognize emotions in faces. The difference between reading emotions from faces and reading emotions into faces.
Why it is not true that autistic people lack empathy. The story about sympathy and empathy or: why autistic people are the opposite of psychopaths.
How to help autistic people cope with the jungle of emotions. An alternative look at refrigerator mothers…

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