A delighted announcement: TPGA is partnering with The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)NOS MagazineAutism Women’s Network (AWN), and autchat to host #AutIMFAR: a Twitter-based conversation between autism researchers and autistic community members. 

#AutIMFAR Partner Orgs: autchat, ASAN, AWN, NOS Magazine, and TPGA

[image: The Twitter logos for five organizations: autchat: a rainbow background with a black infinity symbol and black text reading: “#autchat”; The Autistic Self Advocacy Network: a spiraling rainbow heptagon on a white background; Autism Women’s Network: a pink lowercase “a” overlaid on a light-blue-and-brown illustrations of dragonflies and flowers, above the lowercase black text “autism women’s network”; NOS Magazine: a black circle on a white background, with an illustration of an incandescent light bulb drawn in white and surround by a sunburst in dashed rainbow colors; and Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: All-caps black text on a white background reading “Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism,” with “Person’s” in white text on a black arrow.]

Autism research tends to focus more on causation and cures than on helping existing autistic community members. From both practical and basic rights perspectives, this needs to change. Too many core autistic needs are still under-researched, and, as a result, proper supports and understanding are too often lacking. We are hoping to help autism research better serve the interests of autistic people, and more fully address the research matters autistic people want addressed. 

With this in mind, #AutIMFAR is meant to connect autistic communities with autism research communities directly, during IMFAR, the International Meeting for Autism Research. Such conversations don’t happen often enough at IMFAR due to a variety of barriers: cost, sensory bomb conference environment, having to face people who don’t see why they shouldn’t aim to cure or normalize autistic people, travel stress, etc. 

If you are an autistic person who is interested in autism research and/or an autism researcher, we hope you will participate in #AutIMFAR.

#AutIMFAR Details

Time: Thursday, May 11, 5:30 – 6:30pm PST/8:30 – 9:30pm EST.

Participating: Follow the Twitter hashtag twitter.com/hashtag/AutIMFAR. Alternatively, Twitter chat platforms like TweetChat and Twubs can simplify following these hashtag-based conversations. 

Questions will be asked as “Q1” etc; please answer using “A1” etc.

Partners: The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), NOS Magazine, autchat, Autism Women’s Network (AWN), and Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA). 

Participating Researchers and Journalists:

Deb Karhson (Stanford), Lorcan Kenny (University College London), Laura Crane (University College London), Sue Fletcher-Watson (U of Edinburgh), Chris Gunter (Marcus Autism Center, Emory), Emily Willingham (Forbes), John Elder Robison (College of William and Mary), Steven Kapp (University of Exeter), Alex Plank (Wrong Planet), Melissa Bovis (Centre for Research in Autism and Education), Corina Becker (Autism Women’s Network), Elizabeth Bartmess (autchat), Shannon Rosa (TPGA, moderating only), Carol Greenburg (TPGA), John Marble (NOS Magazine), Meryl Alper (Northeastern), Deborah Budding (UCLA), Timotheus Gordon Jr. (University of Illinois – Chicago), Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone (ASAN), Christina Nicolaidis (AASPIRE). 

Chat participants’ Twitter IDs:

The chat is intended to be between any autistic individual (including self-diagnosed) and/or autism researcher who wishes to participate, as much as anything on Twitter can be controlled (popular Twitter chats are sometimes targeted by Twitter Bots of Dubious Nature). 

If you are a friend, parent, non-researcher autism professional, ally, or other party interested in autism research, we encourage you to RT as much of the chat as you’d like (thank you!). 

We ask that participants abide by TPGA’s community guidelines, the short version of which is: It is OK to disagree, but not OK to insult those with whom you disagree: www.thinkingautismguide.com/p/community-guide.html.

Ideally, chat participants should be aware of the research being presented at IMFAR: imfar.confex.com/imfar/2017/webprogram/start.html.

And should try to follow the conference stream on Twitter, at twitter.com/hashtag/IMFAR2017.

You can also look through TPGA’s rundown of IMFAR 2016’s highlights, at www.thinkingautismguide.com/2016/05/the-state-of-autism-research-tpga.html.

And also last year’s Special Interest Group (SIG) panel on Incorporating Autistic Intellect in Research and Design.

Examples of these conversations going well: www.shapingautismresearch.co.uk.

And apologies to those outside our time zone or who are not able to participate for other reasons; we will publish a transcript of the the #AutIMFAR chat.


Props to Elizabeth Bartmess of autchat for coining the hashtag #AutIMFAR.