Prague, Startup Market, Prague Market Hall, 18 – 19 June 2021, 2nd Autism Conference
Goal: Awareness of hypersensitivity and autism, promoting self-advocacy for people on the spectrum
On Autism Pride Day, 18 June, representatives of people on the spectrum and experts will gather at Prague Startup Market in Holešovice to present topics related to their diagnosis to interested carers, employers, educators and health professionals at the 2nd Autism Conference. After a successful premiere last September, which talked about autism in general, this year the focus will be mainly on topics related to hypersensitivity, i.e. hypersensitivity to certain sensations.
“There is always talk in society that there are more people with high sensitivity. Up to 20% of the population is quoted. We are looking for how to better survive in this time when we are bombarded by many stimuli from the environment on a daily basis and we don’t even have inner lives because of social media. I see people on the autism spectrum as barometers for sensory and emotional overload. They often have great systems to prevent or get out of the overload. That’s why they have something to convey to a society that has already turned real life off, and that’s why for the second time they themselves will be presenting at the conference, not just experts or representatives of non-profits or their parents,” says Dagmar Holá, founder of the ATYP Foundation, which is organizing the Autism Conference again this year with the cooperation of people with autism.
The conference programme will also include the 2021 Self-Advocate of the Year Awards, where people on the spectrum who have actively spread awareness throughout the year will be honoured. Last year, for the first time ever in the Czech Republic, the following were awarded: process specialist in recruitment Mgr. Šimon Hlinovský, 17-year-old student and artist Kateřina “Dodo” Doudová and artist Veronika Jirásek. All three will be speaking at the Autism Conference again this year, along with other representatives from people on the spectrum. Famtoys director Jana Adolfová will give a lecture on overload assistance. “Highly sensitive people deal with dramatic discomfort in the city every day. I recommend being outdoors as much as possible, by the river, in the woods. I’m happy to share simple techniques to compensate for and prevent congestion crises, or what to carry with you, hence good old KPZ (Krabička poslední záchrany-box of last rescue in Czech), as a promise of good preparation for the journey,” she says with a smile. Jana is also the ambassador of ATYP magazine and will moderate the conference. The second moderator will be singer-songwriter on the spectrum Radek Čihák. Jakub Frnka, a Slovak self-advocate and editor of ATYP magazine, will address the topic Differences between people with neurodiverse thinking and neurotypical population. “I believe that both lay people and experts will find something to like. There are blocks on the agenda introducing the issue and familiarizing people with terms that are used mainly in the field of autism, sharing personal experiences of hypersensitive people, but also very practical tips on how to use your sensitivity to your advantage, how to prevent and handle overload or how to help a sensitive person (or an autistic person),” says coach of the atypical team Mgr. Gabriela Böhmová.
The two members of the Ombudsman’s Advisory Board, who have been representing people on the autism spectrum since September 2020, will also give a presentation. For young people, Kateřina Dodo Doudová, for adults, Ing. Sylva Šuláková. Both autistic women are also editors at ATYP magazine. Titles of all lectures and more information about the speakers can be found at Autistickakonference.cz.
There will also be experts, such as Bohnice psychologist Mgr. et Mgr. Adam Táborský, who will talk about hypersensitivity in partnership. For the ATYP Foundation, he conducts mindfulness training for the editors of ATYP magazine, as well as the well-known field teacher Mgr. Petra Dočkalová. This year it will be possible to try out the autism simulator, which was created under the supervision of autistic people. It will be lent to the lecture day by the Za Sklem organization.
NEW are workshops on the second day of the conference
A new feature of this year’s conference will be the second day of the conference, where people will be able to attend special workshops to get practical advice on how to help themselves.
“The workshops are not chosen at random, but respond to the needs of people on the spectrum and also those caring for children with neurodiversities. We want people to really take something from our conference, so we decided to offer them not only the experience and advice of people on the spectrum, but also practical workshops,” adds Dagmar Holá. Participants of Saturday’s workshops will try mindfulness techniques with Michaela Cmíralová, for example, because being able to prevent burnout, overload, anxiety and depression with various mindfulness techniques is very necessary for carers and also for people with neurodiversities. Coach and massage therapist Vladimíra Rychlík, DiS. will give a lecture on Friday about the influence of CBD for relieving stress, tension, anxiety, which also weighs heavily on our target group. On Saturday, Vladimíra Rychlík’s workshop will focus on how to help oneself with self-massage because people on the spectrum, but also caregivers, often live alone, and some people with autism cannot tolerate touch from others. This way they can fulfill their need for touch through various techniques. The authors of the world-famous Kops Method will also work with workshop participants. Kamila and Petr Kops will give a lecture and a workshop on learning about communication types that help people to communicate and interact socially better. These are areas where people on the spectrum have more difficulty, and it is good for caregivers in turn to understand what communication type their child is. High sensitivity is being talked about more and more, so representatives from the Institute for High Sensitivity will also have input. Their talk will focus on explaining sensitivity as a personality trait.
The ATYP Foundation would like to thank all the people on the autism spectrum who have been actively involved in the preparations, as well as those who will be presenting,since this is out of their comfort zone and there is still a lot of stigma attached to autistic people. Special thanks to Hana Rosenthal for the artwork of the conference and Hana Gregorova for the graphic visuals and the conference logo.
Many thanks to the conference’s partners: Prague City Hall, CEZ Group, European Solidarity Corps, Famtoys, Za Sklem, Platform Hope for Autism, Adventor, Tiskárna Daniel, NeuraxPharm and NeuraxBiotic, WP Distro and Portál Publishing House.
ATYP magazine, together with the ATYP Foundation, has been giving people on the autism spectrum a voice for over 6 years. They write articles, create awareness slides, supervise articles written by people without autism., and create podcasts and videos. This year, for the first time, they even published a print version of ATYP Megazine, full of interviews with professionals and people on the spectrum.
Video of some speakers discussing what they will be presenting about.
On behalf of the ATYP Foundation
Dagmar Edith Holá
Founder and Chairwoman of the Board