Tara Connolly and Christine Jenkins discuss how can we examine the unwritten social rules that exist around us and to begin a creative engagement with neurodiverse friendly spaces and interactions?

Tara Connolly and Christine Jenkins, each of whom have personal experiences with neurodiverse thinking, will explore with the audience how neurodiverse people crack open unseen spaces to tackle creative challenges and see the previously unseen. The talk is designed, in part, to be a challenge to neurotypical thinkers to push out of their comfort zones to embrace other ways of thinking. How can we examine the unwritten social rules that exist around us and to begin a creative engagement with neurodiverse friendly spaces and interactions?

About the speaker

Christine Jenkins (she/her) is a very late-diagnosed autistic woman from Ottawa. She has written extensively and presented often in the decade since her assessment at age 48. Her own need for support and affirmation led her to co-found Asperfemme Ottawa in 2011 and AsperDames, a closed FB support group for older women in 2018.

Autistic female identification has become her passion alongside music, and Christine has served and continues to serve on several boards and advisory groups promoting services for women and adults. These include the Asperger’s Society of Ontario, the CAMH Advisory Group on Women and Girls under Dr. Meng-Chuan Lai, and most recently the Ottawa Adult Autism Initiative (OAAI).

Christine has been a private music teacher and Carleton CKCU radio host among many other assignments.

Tara Connolly (she/her), M.A., RP, is a Transitions Specialist with over 20 years experience consulting on the use of inclusive practices to support accessibility in a variety of settings. Currently an Assistant Director with the READ Initiative (Research Education Accessibility Design) at Carleton University, Tara is involved with a number of projects that seek to improve accessibility in workplace settings.

In her counseling practice, Tara supports the neurodiversity of thinkers, in particular Autistic adults and youth, to thrive on their own terms and co-creates meaningful strategies that facilitate the transitions into and throughout adulthood. Tara’s background in education and counseling has provided her the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the issues faced by youth emerging into adulthood as well as issues faced by aging adults striving to live healthy and fulfilling lives on their own terms. Tara also works with families looking to support their family members in the best way possible and she offers training to other clinicians, educators, and healthcare providers looking to increase their understanding of autism and learn more about how to work most effectively with clients on the spectrum.

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