MATES Conference

The Autism MATES Conference is our signature event. It’s a conference which gives our young people on the autism spectrum the stage.  We encourage them to use their own voice to advocate for themselves and their peers. 


The Event's Goals 

  1. To present to the community the humanity behind an autism diagnosis and the different faces of the spectrum.  

  2. To empower our young people on the spectrum by giving them the opportunity to advocate for themselves and develop lifelong public speaking skills.  

  3. To connect our young people with the wider community in which they live and help nurture a sense of connection and belonging.  

  4. At Autism MATES Conferences, our speakers are respected for their time and expertise. This event is about giving our young people on the spectrum visibility and a voice.  

Just because they may have difficulty speaking, does not mean they have nothing to say.  

It's amazing how if given the opportunity, our speakers realise they are capable of so much more than the limiting beliefs that are placed upon them!  

Research shows that 51% of young people with autism attending school or other educational institutions, experience communication difficulties. The labour force participation rate of people living with autism is 40.8%, compared with 53.4% of working age people with disability and 83.2% of people without disability.  

Source: ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers: Summary of Findings – 2015  

The Autism MATES Conferences provide young people on the autism spectrum an opportunity to write a speech, practice and then deliver it in front of a large audience. This helps them develop greater confidence and communication skills which will serve them well in seeking employment. It also educates the community with first-hand knowledge, by breaking down barriers and stereotypes. These speaking roles also provide employment as our speakers receive a fee for their contribution.  

Our first event was held in 2016 and we have now expanded interstate with a view to bringing this event wherever we are invited.  

Slide "What an amazing afternoon. Being a mum of an autistic
son, it opened my eyes even more! Thank you fo sharing
the afternoon with us!"
~Julie Sampson 
Slide "Another great event Randa Habelrih and the team. We
all look forward to these events so much."
~Annie Parkes 
Slide "More more more! Great event Randa. Needs to be teams of
these dudes and dudettes touring schools. Talking to
students and mainly, teachers. Hopefully soon these kids
will not have to endure the imposed torture of a system
at fault yet easily changed."
~Earl Densham 
Slide "Thanks Randa for bringing this event to Brisbane. An
important message delivered by those living with these
challenges and talents daily... We must support them,
and where necessary, assist them in being heard thru
events like this and finding ways of taking the message
into schools and I think #justneedamate could be the way..."
~Simon La Rosa 
Slide "I can't wait to speak, i am getting ready and going to
~Summer Houghton 
Slide "Im very excited to hear from all the guest speakers. Makes
my heart happy xx"
~Natalie Faith 
"Was inspiring, uplifting, heart breaking and hope
filled. Thanks Randa. Qwyn said he'd come speak at your
next one. He wants to do it again"
~Annette Densham 
Slide "I want to thank Randa Habelrih for helpping all of us make
it possible to share our stories and be able to show and
prove things that very few would not know by asking
doctors or those that call themselves 'professionals'.
As very few of them will have first hand experience with
it and only go by what they know about it."
~Amy Austin-Eames
"Thanks for organising such a wonderful event and giving
us all an opportunity to speak😀 We all had so much to
learn by hearing each other’s stories❤️xx"
~Rebecca Sharrock 

Sydney 2016

Brisbane 2018

Sydney 2019

Brisbane 2018

Sydney 2018

Sydney 2019