2021 Conference Speakers

Beyond the stereotypes: enhancing the recognition and education of autistic girls to improve their future quality of life

We are delighted to announce our Keynote Speakers for our Conference.

Day One

Dr Fiona Gullon-Scott

Dr Fiona Gullon-Scott

Dr Gullon-Scott has been working in the field of autism for 25 years as an academic, researcher and clinician. Current research interests include identification and understanding of autism in females; cognitive and neuropsychological processes in autism; and overlaps with other conditions. She spent 14 years with the Autism Research Centre University of Cambridge, and currently holds a post at Newcastle University on the DCLinPsy Programme, as well as an Associate Senior Lecturer post with the Tizard Centre. Dr Gullon-Scott has an Independent clinical practice, and also provides sessional work with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. She has travelled the World delivering training and consultancy to various groups, including the Singapore Ministries of Health and Education, Sendai University in Japan, and autism services in Malta, Portugal, Hungary, and Finland to name but a few. She has published articles and book chapters, co-produced a DVD on Asperger syndrome and an online MOOC on ‘Understanding Autism’, developed a screening tool for autism in mainstream children, been involved with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Autism, the National Initiative for Assessment and Screening in Autism, a Department of Health report on Asperger Syndrome, many television, radio and newspaper articles on autism spectrum conditions, and has reviewed and refereed for many journals.

Katherine May

Katherine May

Katherine May is an author of fiction and memoir whose titles include The Electricity of Every Living Thing, The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club, The 52 Seductions, Burning Out, and Ghosts & Their Uses. Her journalism and essays have appeared in a range of publications including The Times, Good Housekeeping, Aeon and Cosmopolitan. In 2019, she will publish a memoir, Wintering, and an edited volume of essays, The Best, Most Awful Job. // Previously the Programme Director for Creative Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University, Katherine currently works as a literary scout and a freelance editor for organisations including Faber Academy and Audible.


Day Two

Professor Caroline Bond

Professor Caroline Bond

Caroline Bond is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Manchester. She is practice placement director for the initial training in educational and child psychology programme and is also the programme lead for supervisor training and the teaching of developmental differences and assessment. She has worked as an educational psychologist in London and the North West. Her research interests include autism, motor skills difficulties, inclusion, children’s rights and professional supervision. Caroline’s autism research has included an evaluation of mainstream autism resource provision in one Local Authority, a review of evidence based educational interventions to support young people on the autism spectrum for the National Council for Special Education, Ireland and she is co-author of a book called ‘Education and girls on the autism spectrum’.

Sarah Wild and girls from Limspfield Grange School

Sarah Wild

I am the Headteacher of Limpsfield Grange School for girls with communication and interaction difficulties including autism. I have worked in education for 20 + years, in a range of settings across London and the South East. I have experience of leadership in a mainstream secondary school in the east end of London; and special schools in London and Brighton. I am a qualified Teacher of the Deaf, and English teacher. Over the past 7 years alongside members of the Limpsfield Grange team I have dedicated time to raising awareness of female autism nationally. Limpsfield Grange School was the subject of the ITV documentary “Girls with Autism” and students of the school have written two novels M in the Middle and M is for Autism with the author Vicky Martin. I have contributed chapters to books about female autism, edited by Professor Carpenter and Dr Hebron, and have written blogs and articles for a wide range of publications. Representatives from Limpsfield Grange speak nationally about female autism, and have spoken at the Autism Show London, NAHT and NUT SEND conferences, the National Autistic Society professional’s conference and the House of Lords.  I am a founding member of the Autism and Girls Forum, and have contributed to published works on female autism and education, and on working with disadvantaged young people with SEND.


Day Three

Robyn Steward

I am autistic and have 9 other disabilities. I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 11. I have worked in the field of autism for the last 15 years. I began aged 17 because I wanted to teach teachers about autism so they could understand that I was not trying to bring bullying on myself and needed help understanding non-autistic people. Over the last 15 years I have become deeply passionate about helping people get a better understanding of autism. Early on in my career I worked as a mentor for autistic young people. I was fascinated by the varying experiences people had, but also the almost universal need to be listened to in a way that is meaningful to the person communicating was a big drive for me. I have written 2 books, the first came out in 2013 when I gave up mentoring (as I was no longer to offer people consistent time and date appointments as I was training and speaking internationally). The first book is called “The Independent Woman’s Handbook for Super Safe living on the Autistic Spectrum”. The eBook was a result of research I did into autistic women’s safety. I am a research associate at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at University College London (UCL). This gives me access to an ethics board. Before any big project I like to do a online survey which compares non autistic and autistic experiences so that I can understand the wide range of experiences and make sure that any outcome fills in the gaps. I also make sure my sample size is at least 100 people in each group. I formed a group of neurotypical (non-autistic) and autistic people to explore the issues raised within the results of the survey and developed strategies (or credited others who had created strategies) that would help people overcome issues with safety. The book has been sold across the world. The second book was a result of research into periods.  “The Autism Friendly Guide to periods” sold over 1000 copies world-wide in the first few months of release. This research was again started by a survey. Of 100 autistic people and 100 non autistic people and involved medical professionals and practitioners. I have also done projects that resulted in academic papers and/or talks. Topics have included stimming, meltdowns and self-employment. I am a National Autistic Society Ambassador and have won awards for my work. I regularly speak abroad in the USA, Australia and Russia. I deliver training for a wide range of clients including schools teachers ,school assemblies, parent groups, universities  and local authorities.

Dr Prithvi Perepa 

Dr Prithvi Perepa

Prithvi Perepa is a Lecturer in Autism studies at the University of Birmingham. Prior to working in academia, he has worked for many years with people with autism in a variety of educational, residential and community settings. Working with families has been a central part of Prithvi’s work. He is interested in undertaking research with practical implications. He has published a number of books, book chapters and journal articles related to the subject of autism.

and a special Early Career Researcher panel with discussion from:

Dr Brett Heasman

Dr Brett Heasman

I am a post-doctoral researcher and the current lead for the Discover Autism Research and Employment (DARE) project at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at UCL, which is examining the factors that underpin sustainable employment for autistic people. My background is in linguistics and psychology. My doctorate focussed on how autistic people are understood by others (both autistic and non-autistic), a phenomenon also known by the term “double empathy”. In addition to publishing research, I am also a trustee of Matthew’s Hub, which supports young adults on the spectrum, and have created participatory autism-awareness projects (e.g. ‘Open Minds’) that are being used by charities and local government in the US, UK and Australia. In 2018 I was the recipient of the ESRC’s national 2018 prize for Future Career Promise and the Finalist for Outstanding Early Career Impact.

Dr Catherine Crompton

Dr Catherine Crompton

Dr Catherine Crompton is a research psychologist at the Patrick Wild Centre, University of Edinburgh. Her research explores autistic communication and relationships, and she is particularly interested in communication between autistic people and how that may differ from interactions between autistic and non-autistic people. She is currently leading two projects exploring options for autistic peer support networks, one based in mainstream secondary schools for autistic young people, and the other as a post-diagnostic support option for autistic adults. She also consults on projects linking participatory design and big data in mental health, ensuring that large scale studies include the voices of those with lived experience. She is a leader in participatory research and was awarded Autistica’s Public Engagement Award for her outstanding contribution to research with autistic community involvement. She was previously on the committee of the Scottish Autism Research Group and has co-ordinated several research, practice and community events in Scotland.

More names for the panel to be announced soon.