The Life After Death Autism Forum 2019 is an inaugural, autistic-led forum that aims to create conversations about sustainable long-term solutions for the autistic community.
Building on the creation of Singapore’s first autistic-led WhatsApp community, this is a ground-breaking event which brings together autistic autism advocates in Singapore to discuss various topics ranging from schoolgoing children to adulthood.
During this event, Mr Eric Chen, the producer of the Life After Death Autism Forum, will introduce the concept of Inclusive Equality, which is defined as an equal partnership between autistic and non-autistics in providing mutual accommodation and support.
This concept encourages autistics to ask for accommodation, but not privileges. It believes that if autistics want to be treated equally, then they cannot use autism to justify negative attitudes (such as refusing to learn from others) and disruptive behaviour (such as harassing others).
Eric believes that autism advocacy is not just about persuading mainstream society to accept autistics. Various organisations have provided training and coaching, but more can also be done to empower autistics to take the initiative to enhance their lives.
PANEL 1: GROWING UP WITH INCLUSION (focused on school-aged children)
Eric will kick off this panel with a short talk introducing the concept of inclusive equality and why inclusiveness alone is insufficient. The panellists will then discuss the issues relating to growing up with autism, including how we can bring the concept of inclusion into real life. After this, the audience will contribute their questions.
PANEL 2: FACING ADULTHOOD (focused on youth)
Autistics often lack the support they need to develop their self-awareness, inner strength, and wisdom. Without these, they are not ready to face a harsh world where nasty people bully, manipulate and exploit them. Eric will give a short talk about how autistics can develop the inner qualities that allow them to thrive despite the difficulties they face.
The autistic panellists will then discuss how autistics can handle the dilemmas that becoming an adult entails. Just as with the earlier panel, panellists will share their thoughts and the audience will then contribute their questions / suggestions / feedback.
PANEL 3: SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR AUTISTIC THRIVING (focused on older adults)
The panellists will discuss key concerns of the autism community that can include:
- Substitute Caregiving: Finding ways to delegate and replace personal caregiver duties without compromising the care for autistics (e.g. forming an advisory committee of trusted people to advise on life decisions, moving the autistic to an affordable overseas care centre)
- Investment Solutions: Finding ways to use resources to provide for and protect autistics (e.g. community farms, adult care centres, social enterprises, insurance policies, annuities) in the long- term
- Sustainable Success: Finding ways for autistics to achieve their success that also help to provide for their living expenses as much as possible (e.g. teaching autistics how to run a farm to grow food, starting a robot-proof business)
- Living with Dignity: Finding ways to help autistics feel valued, positive and happy (e.g. how to let autistics pursue their harmless interests instead of pressuring them to do chores)
- Building Careers: Finding ways to develop talents and create careers for autistics beyond the formal educational system (i.e. alternatives to just getting paper qualifications and climbing the corporate ladder)
- Personal Development: Finding ways for autistics to master advanced life skills, cultivate personal responsibility, develop resilience, form meaningful relationships and emerge as future leaders.
- Combating Discrimination: Finding ways to bypass or dispel the discrimination that is limiting autistic employability and potential (which includes addressing employers’ concerns rather than trying to compel or shame them to hire autistics)
- Making New Deals: Finding ways for autistics and caregivers to help each other (e.g. fund scholarships for autistics who serve a bond to help the autism community)
ABOUT THE LIFE AFTER DEATH AUTISM FORUM
The forum will be held on Saturday, 28 September 2019, 1pm – 5pm at the Lifelong Learning Institute. For more information, visit here.
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