Final autism conference keynote speakers confirmed

13 June 2017 – Altogether Autism has confirmed the final two keynote presentations for the 2017 learning event at the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport on July 19 and 20.

Peter Dowrick

Peter Dowrick joins the line-up and will speak on the theory of feedforward as a cognitive-behavioural principle of learning with advantages for autism.

Dowrick is a registered psychologist. His hands-on consultation extends from Aotearoa New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada, many states across the USA, plus Micronesia and American Samoa, to Liberia (for United Nations worldwide literacy), and Indonesia, with consultation-from-a-distance to another 17 countries.

His faculty appointments include universities in New Zealand, London, Alaska, Pennsylvania, and Hawai‘i, and he has consulted with more than 100 agencies in different countries. He is also a current member of the Altogether Autism Professional Expert Group.

Dowrick is an expert in observational learning theory, and is internationally recognised as the ‘father of self-modelling’. He originated the concepts ‘feedforward’ and ‘creating futures’ in behavioural science.

His keynote presentation will explore how feedback on the past becomes useful only when converted to feedforward for the future. He will give video examples to illustrate feedforward as a visual self-image of future success, playing into the strengths of autism.

Also presenting at this year’s event is Josh and Maria Man – an Asian/Kiwi/Australian sibling duo – who will offer their unique insight and reflections on what it has been like dealing with life’s transitions, growing up with each other and ultimately living apart in different countries.

They hope that their experiences will help professionals work with families more effectively, remind families to care for each other and encourage people with autism (and their siblings) to have their voices heard.

Josh Man (known as the Bold One-Eyed Pirate in Australia) is a young man with autism peering into the complicated world of bustling humans and autism. He describes himself as a ‘finger-typer’ (as he communicates through his iPad) and a passionate advocate for people who communicate differently.

Josh Man is a seasoned presenter and consultant in Australia, appearing at numerous disability conferences and universities including as keynote at the Queensland Disability Conference (Cairns, 2014); speaker at AGOSCI (Australian Group on Severe Communication Impairment) Conference (Adelaide, 2015); and at the Think-Prepare-Plan Conference (Brisbane/Townsville, 2016).

Maria Man is Josh’s older sister who works as a speech and language therapist in Hamilton, New Zealand with children and young people with autism.

She previously worked for five years with families of children with complex needs at Disability Services Queensland in Brisbane.

Bridging the cultural and language barriers between her Chinese parents and service providers, Maria Man has had a long personal experience of being a strong advocate and caregiver for Josh and her family.

They join Emeritus Professor Rita Jordan from the University of Birmingham, specialist teacher Sue Kinnear of Hutt Intermediate and Tauranga mentor Jason Edgecombe.

Read more and find out more about the conference