Dr. Rachel O’Connor

Autistic adults’ perspectives on how to protect autistic mental health

Inhoud presentatie
We know that autistic people experience increased rates of mental health difficulties compared to non-autistic people; this is a well-established fact. However, there is not yet a consensus as to why this is the case. Through the lens of the neurodiversity paradigm, this talk will explore the wide variety of factors that impact autistic people’s mental health across the lifespan. This will be explored from the perspective of autistic adults, who are best placed to provide us with a deeper understanding of autistic experiences. Rachel will provide an overview of her research, which sought to answer questions about autistic mental health by following the lead of autistic people themselves at every stage. In line with this, Rachel will talk about the process and importance of co-design and co-production with autistic people at all stages of her research process. Most importantly, this talk will discuss what steps can we take to prevent autistic people from developing mental health difficulties and how Rachel is currently implementing these learnings in clinical practice.

Rachel is a Clinical Psychologist working in children’s disability services in Ireland, with St. Michael’s House. Rachel works primarily with autistic children/ young people and their families and is passionate about providing strengths-based, neuro-affirmative assessments and supportss.
Rachel has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland, and is currently completing her PhD at Leiden University at the Focus on Emotions lab, under the supervision of Professor Carolien Rieffe and Dr Els Blijd-Hoogewys. Rachel’s research focuses on the development of mental health difficulties for autistic people and aims to understand how we can support wellbeing for autistic people throughout life, while preventing mental health difficulties. Rachel has benefited greatly from working closely with autistic colleagues and autistic led organisations, including AsIAm (Ireland’s National Autism Charity) when conducting her research.

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    Autistic adults’ perspectives on how to protect autistic mental health

    Datum: 15 mrt 2024Tijd: 10:30 - 11:00 CET