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
- To present to the community the humanity behind an autism diagnosis and the different faces of the spectrum.
- To empower our young people on the spectrum by giving them the opportunity to advocate for themselves and develop lifelong public speaking skills.
- To connect our young people with the wider community in which they live and help nurture a sense of connection and belonging.
- 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.