KEYNOTE SPEAKERS


Prof Patricia Howlin
Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK
Patricia Howlin is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College. Her principal research interests focus on the long-term prognosis for individuals with autism spectrum and other developmental disorders and on developing intervention programmes that may help to improve outcome. Professor Howlin is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, President of the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes and past Chair of the UK Association of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. She is a founding editor of the journal “Autism” and author of over 200 research publications. Recent awards include the INSAR Life-time Achievement Award and the Kanner -Asperger medal from the German, Austrian, Swiss Society for Research in Autism Spectrum Conditions.
Dr Peter Vermeulen
Autisme Centraal, Belgium
Dr Peter Vermeulen is a Senior lecturer at Autism Centraal, Belgium, and currently the Chief Editor of their bi-monthly magazine “Autisme Centraal”. He is also the President of the editorial board of the Belgian-Dutch Journal of Special Education, Child Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. He has a Masters in Science, a PhD in Psychology and Educational Sciences, and has worked with people with ASD and their families for more than 30 years. Peter is an internationally respected lecturer/trainer and he presents all over Europe and beyond. He has written more than 15 books and several articles and books 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.
Dr Laura Grofer Klinger
University of North Carolina, USA
Laura Grofer Klinger is a clinical psychologist, a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and the Executive Director of the UNC TEACCH Autism Program. She earned her Bachelor's Degree from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the University of Washington. She oversees TEACCH's clinical services (seven regional centers, supported employment program, and the Carolina Living and Learning Center, an integrated vocational and residential program for adults), international training program, and its community-based research program. 

Dr. Klinger serves on a variety of community advisory boards including Sesame Street (initiative to increase ASD awareness), Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (supporting their development of an insurance policy for individuals with ASD), Government Accountability Office (adult transition), and Extraordinary Ventures (an employment program for adults with ASD). She consults to school systems and employment programs internationally about best practices for supporting the transition to adulthood including supports for employment and postsecondary education.

Her research includes the study of learning differences in individuals with ASD and the development of community-based intervention programs to promote successful adult outcomes. She is the Principal Investigator of a longitudinal study examining outcomes related to employment, quality of life, and aging in 25-60-year-old adults with ASD who were served by TEACCH during childhood. She is also the Principal Investigator of a school-based pilot intervention study examining the effectiveness of the TEACCH School Transition to Employment and Post-Secondary Education (T-STEP) Program.

 


SPEAKERS


Dr Damian Milton
National Autistic Society, UK
Damian works part-time for the Tizard Centre, University of Kent as a Lecturer in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and for the National Autistic Society (NAS) as Autism Knowledge and Expertise Consultant. Damian also teaches on the MA Education (Autism) programme at London South Bank University and has been a consultant for the Transform Autism Education (TAE) project and a number of projects for the Autism Education Trust (AET). Damian’s interest in autism began when his son was diagnosed in 2005 as autistic at the age of two. Damian was also diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2009 at the age of thirty-six. Damian’s primary focus is on increasing the meaningful participation of autistic people and people with learning disabilities in the research process and chairs the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC). In January 2018, Damian also took up the role of Project Leader on the National Autistic Taskforce (NAT).
Prof Mark Brosnan
Centre for Applied Autism Research, UK
Professor Mark Brosnan is Director of the Centre for Applied Autism Research (CAAR) in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath (UK). CAAR is the newest research centre in the UK and the only one dedicated to applied research that impacts upon the lives of those from the autistic community. Professor Brosnan’s focus has been on engaging with the autistic community to co-develop digital technologies through a process of participatory design. Professor Brosnan is an internationally-leading scholar in this area, having published widely for over 15 years.
Prof Christine Bigby
La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia
Professor Christine Bigby is Director of the Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Her research explores the social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities, both during adulthood and into later life. She has published extensively on design of programs to support community participation, and effectiveness of front line practice in supported accommodation services.
Dr Dawn-joy Leong
Autistic Researcher & Multi-Art Practitioner
Dr Dawn-joy Leong is an Autistic researcher and multi-artist investigating the unique expressions of autistic sensory-cognitive idiosyncrasy through her material practice of creating immersive mind-body experiences, with blended elements of music, soundscape, video, photography, installation, narrative, poetry and performance. Lucy Like-a-Charm - a former racing Greyhound that was rescued, is Dawn-joy's creative muse and sensory-alert assistance dog. Dawn-joy has an M.Phil in Music Composition from the University of Hong Kong and holds the 2016 UNSW Art & Design, Australia, Dean's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research for her Ph.D in Autism, Neurodiversity and Multi-Art Praxis.
Ms Jacelyn Lim
Deputy Executive Director, Autism Resource Centre, Singapore
Jacelyn serves as a Deputy Executive Director at Autism Resource Centre Singapore (ARC). ARC is a charity organisation that provides a wide range of services for people with autism. In her six years with ARC, Jacelyn spearheaded the Employability and Employment Centre programme which trains, places and supports many young adults with autism in open employment. She also heads the social enterprise arm of the charity, The Art Faculty and Prof Brawn Café. Prior to her service at ARC, she enjoyed a career of 16 years in banking.
DR TOM TUTTON
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect)
Dr Tom Tutton is the National Manager of Aspect Practice which coordinates Aspect's strategic work on inclusion. Tom trained as a clinical psychologist in the UK and has worked in Australia for Aspect for more than 10 years. Tom is overseeing the development of a disability access and inclusion plan for Aspect and an advisory council who contribute to Aspect's governance. Tom coordinates Aspect's peer mentoring program and the 'Think Tank', a group of autistic adults who reflect on Aspect's service delivery, research and information. Tom regularly collaborates with people on the spectrum in workshops and in consultancies as part of the autism friendly Australia project.
DR KENNETH POON
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION, SINGAPORE
Kenneth Poon is Associate Professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. He concurrently serves as Associate Dean (Education Research) at the Office of Education Research, and as Centre Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Child Development. As a researcher Dr Poon has, to date, led S$6 million worth of research projects and has published widely. His research mainly focuses on the developmental psychopathology of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities(especially autism spectrum disorders) and on the development of instruments for assessment their development. Dr Poon is currently the President of Rainbow Centre, Singapore, a charity serving children with autism spectrum disorders and multiple disabilities.Additionally, he serves on the Board of the Academy of the International Society for the Scientific Study on Intellectual Disabilities, and on the editorial boards of several international peer reviewed journals.
Dr Mariam Aljunied
Ministry of Education, Singapore
Dr Mariam Aljunied is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is currently the Principal Educational Psychologist in the Ministry of Education Singapore, and holds concurrent appointments as Research Associate in the University College London (UK) Educational Psychology Group, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore. Dr Aljunied research interests and publications in autism include topics such as cognitive assessments of children with ASD, CBT-based interventions, school-wide interventions. Beyond autism, she has a keen interest in the research and practical applications of models of SEN provisions, development of psycho-educational assessment tools, and capacity building of educators and allied health professionals. Dr Aljunied has a longstanding professional partnerships with Autism Resource Center (ARC) Singapore and Autism Spectrum (ASPECT) Australia, and is a board member of the National Council of Social Service (Singapore). With over 25 years of experience in the field, Dr Aljunied is recognised for her contributions to special education in Singapore, and is a twice recipient of the Public Administration Medal awarded by the President of Singapore in 2009 and 2018, respectively.
Ms MERRY BARUA
Director, Action For Autism, National Centre for Autism, India
Merry is an activist who pioneered the Autism movement in India, started the first autism specialist school and initiated the first teacher training course. She also started the journal Autism Network, facilitated the start of services across South Asia, and helped catalyse legislative changes that include autism. Merry trains parents and professionals across South Asia, and advocates for the rights of persons with autism as equal citizens of the country. She serves on various Committees and Advisory Boards and is also an Ashoka Fellow, who has received national and international recognition for her work. Merry is parent to Neeraj, her son with Autism.
Dr Kylie M Gray, PhD
Monash University School of Clinical Sciences and Department of Psychiatry, Australia
Dr Gray is an Associate Professor and psychologist at the Monash University School of Clinical Sciences and Department of Psychiatry andis the acting Director of the Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology. Kylie is an Adjunct Associate Professor of the University of Warwick Centre for Educational Developmental, Appraisal and Research, in the UK.

Associate Professor Gray has expertise inthe area of developmental disorders and disability in children and young people. Her work has included addressing issues around diagnosis and assessment, development of assessment tools, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children and families, and the development and evaluation of supports and treatments. Her research is published in some of the leading journals in her field, and in the world’s most prestigious medical journals, most notably Journal of the American Medical Association.

Associate Professor Gray has a well-established international track record and standing in the provision of professional training in autism assessment (ADI-R and ADOS), evidenced by the delivery training workshops across Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. These workshops have collectively trained more than a thousand clinicians in gold standard methods of autism assessment. Associate Professor Gray also supervises psychology students who go on to work in research in mental health, head community clinical psychology services, and work in senior positions in hospital child psychiatry services. She is passionate about combining the disciplines of psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience to transfer clinically-driven research outcomes to the community and education systems in Australia and beyond.
Ms Kirsty Russell
Director, Positive Special Needs Parenting, Australia
Kirsty Russell is a writer, speaker, consultant and special needs parent. A mum of three, her two eldest children share autism and anxiety diagnoses, amongst others. Since 2011, Kirsty has shared her experiences at Positive Special Needs Parenting, where her mission is to help fellow parents support their children, find the positives in their lives and advocate effectively for their needs. She’s been featured in local media, has written a book, Autism Family Travel, presented two sessions at APAC 2017 in Sydney and is a founding member of the City of Newcastle’s Disability Inclusion Advisory Committee (DIAC). Kirsty is currently focused on delivering education and information sessions to teachers, parents and service providers across Australia. Her ultimate aim is to improve relationships, achieve better outcomes and change perceptions of autism and disability in the broader community.
Dr Will Mandy
UCL, Department of Clinical Psychology Workplace
Will Mandy is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at University College London (UCL). His work aims to improve the recognition of autism, and to develop new interventions to help autistic people. He has a particular research interest in improving the identification and care of females on the autism spectrum, who are currently at high risk of going unnoticed and unhelped by clinical and educational services. He also studies sub-diagnostic autistic traits in non-clinical populations, and the role these can play in the development of a range of common childhood, adolescent and adult mental health problems. With colleagues at Great Ormond Street Hospital’s National Centre for High-Functioning Autism he has developed and trialled interventions to help children with autism transition from primary to secondary school, and to teach children about their autism diagnosis, with an emphasis on fostering their sense of self-worth and pride.
Mr Eric Chen
Autistic Autism Advocate
Eric was Singapore's first autistic autism advocate. After started on his autism advocacy journey by appearing in the Straits Times in 2002, Eric has done nearly 100 autism sharings, most of which are at various cities in Greater China.

Eric is the key founder of the WhatsApp Autism Community Singapore, an inclusive autism support network comprising of over 20 groups. Eric has also initiated other ground-breaking projects such as the Autistic Career Study and the Life After Death Autism Forum.

Eric is currently employed full-time doing IT and psychometric work. He has also done some life coaching work with both NeuroTypical and autistic clients. He is actively upgrading his formal qualifications, starting with studying for a Specialist Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology.
Dr Caroline Mills
Western Sydney University
Caroline graduated from The University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) in 2003. Caroline has 13 years of clinical experience supporting people on the autism spectrum and their families in schools and homes in Australia and The UK. In 2008, Caroline was selected as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) and relocated to China to serve as the first occupational therapist at The Shenzhen Autism Society. Caroline returned to Australia and worked as a school occupational therapist and positive behaviour support clinician for Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect).

Caroline holds a Master of Applied Linguistics from Macquarie University and is completing her PhD at The University of Sydney in school based sensory processing intervention for children with autism. In 2013, Caroline was awarded The Aspect Elizabeth Hoyles Fellowship for her research and in 2016, Caroline was appointed an Aspect Practice Specialist in recognition of her experience and leadership in sensory processing practice and research.

Caroline is a Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at Western Sydney University and her research interests are in sensory processing, autism and positive behaviour support. Caroline has presented papers at numerous Australian and International conferences in autism, intellectual disability, sensory processing, positive behaviour support and school based occupational therapy.

Ms Jacquelyn Ang
Autism Advocate
Ms Jacquelyn Ang is a mother of four. Her second son who has moderate to severe autism with challenging behaviours, is now 24 years of age. Jacquelyn is currently supporting him as a job coach as he holds part time employment. Since 1998, Jacquelyn had been an advocate for the autism community both in Singapore and Malaysia. She was conferred the "Inspirational Caregiver Award 2012" from Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists. Jacquelyn currently holds a Masters in Autism Studies (UK) and resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Prof Richard Mills
University of Bath, Taisho University and AT-Autism
Richard is a Research Director of Research Autism London and Hon Research Fellow at Centre for Applied Autism Research at the University of Bath. He is a Visiting Professor at the J-CAAR Taisho University Tokyo, who is also a Senior Research Fellow at Bond University, QLD Australia. He is also an Associate Consultant & Adviser to the board of AT-Autism London, where he leads on European projects, in particular the Synergy programme. Richard is also a Trustee of the John and Lorna Wing Foundation, which funds participatory research. For 25 years he was with the National Autistic Society UK, first as Director of Services and later Director of Research. His current research interests are in cybercrime, criminal justice and programme evaluation. He is a member of the Quality group of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and served on the Guideline Development Groups on Autism in Adulthood and Behaviours that Challenge. Richard has served as a consultant to Autism Resource Centre Singapore since 2005.

Mr Edward Marcus
Marcus and Marcus Ltd
Edward Marcus is a Malaysian, and the founder of a successful UK Domiciliary Care Agency. He has been involved in caring for Adults with a Learning Disability and Autism since 1996. His agency, Marcus and Marcus Ltd is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and accredited by the National Autistic Society (NAS) UK – which means that it meets the standard of excellence, with the aim of improving the quality of support for people affected by Autism. In 2018, his agency was commended by NAS for its exceptional work. The Agency employs around 350 staff and supports over 95 Service Users, a large majority of whom are affected by an Autism Spectrum Condition with significant behavioural challenges.

Ms Paula Teo
Senior Manager, Autism Association (Singapore)
An NTU engineering graduate, Ms Paula Teo started her career in special needs in 1999 with the Autism Association (Singapore) in their Youth Programme. After a brief period with APSN, she rejoined the Autism Association (Singapore) in their Early Intervention Program. She has obtained her Certificate, Higher Certificate and Diploma in Autism Studies from the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore). She has also undergone training in the approaches of Structured Teaching with Division TEACCH of the University of North Carolina, United States of America. Ms Teo has been trained in various teaching and intervention techniques for improving cognitive functioning and behavioral management. Over the past 12 years, Ms Teo has worked with individuals with autism in various intervention models, with the last 2 years positioned as the Head of Centre at the Eden Children's Centre (Simei). Ms Teo currently holds the position of Senior Manager, Programme and Services at the Autism Association (Singapore). With support from the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore), she is heavily involved in driving and shaping the program at the Eden Centre for Adults in its transformation into a centre for adults, and also in overseeing the programmes and services at the 2 Eden Children's Centres. Ms Teo is also one of the facilitators at Autism Resource Centre's specialist training course in the area of adults with autism.

Dr Goh Tze Jui
Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Dr Goh is a Principal Clinical Psychologist with the Department of Developmental Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health (IMH), Singapore. She is trained in the administration of standardized assessments instruments such as the Autism Diagnostic Interview and a certified trainer of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. She has extensive clinical experience working directly with children, parents and caregivers, and also mentors fellow professionals.

Dr Goh was awarded the National Medical Resource Council Fellowship award under the Ministry of Health, Singapore, to complete her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2011. She is also a fellow with the Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore and a Donald J Cohen Fellow at the International Association for Child Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions.She received the Healthcare Manpower Development Plan Fellowship Award (Team) in 2017, and completed a study trip to the United Kingdom with the aim of developing services for Autism Spectrum Disorders. She oversees the Internship Program in Child Mental Health at IMH and manages the research activities ofthe Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is an active reviewer for many established journals and is involved in research projects in developmental disorders and child mental health.

DR SYLVIA CHOO
KK WOMEN'S & CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, SINGAPORE
Dr Sylvia Choo is a paediatrician at the Department of Child Development, KK Women's & Children's Hospital, Singapore. Prior to this she worked at the Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at Singapore General Hospital. She trained at the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne in 2003, and was a member of a team awarded a Ministry of Health fellowship looking at integration and continuity of care for children with developmental and behavioural needs at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC Chapel Hill in 2016. Her interests are in family-centred care, family navigation, parent-mediated interventions, integration of care, and early intervention for children with developmental needs. Sylvia is also involved in teaching paediatrics at the 3 medical schools in Singapore.

DR ILIANA MAGIATI
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE
Iliana Magiati is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore. She completed a PhD in early interventions in autism and her doctorate in clinical psychology in the UK. Her clinical and research interests include understanding and improving mental well-being of autistic people, with a focus on anxiety; diagnosis and outcomes in adulthood; autistic traits and their relationship with mental health; supporting autistic students in higher education, and social camouflaging in ASD. She is an independent trainer for the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Frontiers in Education (Special Educational Needs). She is also an ExCo member of the Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR).

Dr Hasnah Bt. Toran
Permata Kurnia Center, Malaysia
Hasnah is the director of Permata Kurnia Center, a center that provides early intervention and early childhood special education to children with autism, along with support for their parents. Currently there are 300 children with autism receiving services from Permata Kurnia. She holds a PhD in Early Intervention from the University of Oregon, USA. Previously, she was the Head Researcher of the Autism Lab, at the National University of Malaysia, where she carried out research on autism educational best practices. Hasnah has published books on autism and a number of research articles. The learning modules being used in Permata Kurnia are the products of her team's research. She hails from Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang. She has 3 children, 2 of them have autism.