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Free Autism + Neurodiversity Webinars

The Frist Center for Autism & Innovation’s YouTube channel hosts recordings of all of our past webinars! You can view the channel at this link, or keep scrolling for links to individual videos: Frist Center YouTube Channel 


Autistics’ Roundtable Webinars:

  • How COVID Quarantine Mirrors the Autistic Experience
    • July 3, 2020 
    • PRESENTED BY The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation: Hear from researcher TA McDonald about how the challenges of COVID-19 quarantine mirror the experience of being on the autism spectrum. Then, watch as moderator, self-advocate and  Frist Center communications coordinator Claire Barnett talks with this month’s panelists. Panelists included autism self-advocates Frist Center associate director Dr. Dave Caudel and Vanderbilt Autism & Neurodiversity Alliance Vice President Emery Hall, as well as former Frist Center intern Alex Lithgow (NT). 


  • Adults with Autism in Entrepreneurship/Business 
    • August 13, 2020 
    • This month’s topic is how self-employment and entrepreneurship can be successful options for adults on the spectrum. The featured speaker is Dr. Somnath Sengupta, founder of Every Life Works and the parent of an autistic adult. After Sengupta’s presentation, Frist Center Communications Coordinator and autism self-advocate Claire Barnett moderates a panel discussion. Panelists are Sengupta, Autism Possible founder Dr. Teresa Vasquez, self-advocate & Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC) member Dan Burger, and NEC Vice President of Inclusion Brynn Plummer. The group answers questions posed by the moderator, then the virtual audience.


  • International Perceptions of Autism 
    • September 14, 2020 
    • Vanderbilt University’s First Center for Autism and Innovation presents the third episode of the Autistics’ Roundtable Webinar. The main speaker in this installment is Thorkil Sonne, a family member advocate and the founder of Specialisterne. Sonne joined this webinar from his home country of Denmark. Specialisterne is an international social enterprise promoting neurodiversity employment; its leaders believe we should focus on the abilities of neurodivergent people rather than exclusively the challenges. Panelists are Nina Hernitschek, a Vanderbilt Postdoc from Germany, Yvonne Wu, a Vanderbilt employee from China, and Dave Caudel, the Frist Center Associate Director and a well-traveled American. Claire Barnett, the Frist Center communications coordinator, moderates the discussion after Sonne’s presentation and takes questions from the audience. All of the panelists and the moderator are autism self-advocates.


  • Disclosure and Self-Advocacy 
    • October 21, 2020 
    • The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation’s monthly webinar for October, 2020, on disclosing neurodiversity (autism/adhd, etc.) and advocating for yourself. Featuring Zoe Gross of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network as the main speaker, and multiple autistic panelists.


  • Autism and Romantic Relationships! 
    • February 18, 2021
    • Vanderbilt University’s Frist Center for Autism & Innovation presents its February installment of the Autistics’ Roundtable Webinar, covering autistic adults and romantic relationships! The main speaker is Marriage & Family Therapy Student Therapist Rebecca Crinean Pickens. Panelists include Vanderbilt Medical Student Zack Williams, and disability advocates Brandy and Matt Haberer. Brandy and Matt are married to each other, and run a popular instagram account/podcast called “@the.chronic.couple”, which discusses chronic illness and neurodiversity. The panel is moderated by Frist Center Communications Coordinator Claire Barnett, who is autistic and ADHD (instagram: @autistic.chick).


  • Autism & Disability Representation on Screen 
    • March 30, 2021
    • This webinar, hosted by Vanderbilt University’s Frist Center for Autism & Innovation (Instagram: @autismandinnovation), features three autistic adults. They are  Frist Center Communications Coordinator Claire Barnett (@autistic.chick/@clairetbear), UC Berkley student Hari Srinivasan (@harisri108), and blogger Christa Holmans (@NeurodivergentRebel). All three are #ActuallyAutistic​ advocates. Barnett presents the history of autism and disability in the media, then moderates a panel discussion with Srinivasan and Holmans. Topics include Sia’s movie Music, ableist movie tropes, Cripface, and the future of autism representation on screen!


Autistic Pride Month (April) Webinars: 

  • Intersectionality of Autism and Gender 
    • April 2, 2021 
    • This Autistics’ Roundtable Webinar was the first installment in Vanderbilt University’s Frist Center for Autism & Innovation Autistic Pride Month programming. It is all about the intersectionality of autism and gender. Presenter and Frist Center Communications Coordinator Claire Barnett (she/her) provides insight into how non-binary and female people have unique spectrum experiences. Then, she moderates a panel of #ActuallyAutistic​ advocates: model and actress Rachel Barcelona (she/they/fae), autism advocate/professional librarian Lauren Melissa (she/her), and Lydia X. Z. Brown (they/them) from the Autistic Women & Non-Binary Network (AWN). They discuss the gender socialization of men and women, gender identity, sexuality, getting an autism diagnosis, and more over the course of an hour. Claire can be found on Instagram at @autistic.chick and @clairetbear, Rachel at @rachelbarcellona, Lauren at @autienelle, and the Autistic Women & Non-Binary Network at @awn_network. You can follow the Frist Center for Autism & Innovation at @autismandinnovation.


  • How to Empower Autistic Talent in the Workforce, featuring Ernst & Young (EY)
    • April 6, 2021
    • This is the second installment in the Vanderbilt University Frist Center for Autism & Innovation’s Autistic Pride Month 2021 programming. It covers everything from autism & employment stats to best practices for empowering autistic employees. Frist Center HOD intern and Vanderbilt Undergraduate student Ellie Del Guercio opens this webinar with an intro to neurodiversity language, then passes it off to Frist Center Deputy Director and Owen School of Business Professor Tim Vogus. Vogus discusses existing research related to neurodiversity in the workplace – much of which has been applied at Global professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY). After Vogus, EY Neurodiversity Centers of Excellence (NCoE) Global Director Hiren Shukla explains why his organization has so heavily invested in autistic talent. EY NCoE Nashville Manager Emily Edwards and NCoE Nashville employee Bradley Simpkins speak next about how they work together on a daily basis. Finally, Frist Center Communications Coordinator Claire Barnett shares info about some of the other companies prioritizing neurodiversity employment and moderates a speaker Q&A.


  • A Vanderbilt Autism and Neurodiversity Collaboration: Being Autistic at a University 
    • April 9, 2021 


  • Autistic Success in Professional Fields, from Academia to Law to Medicine 
    • April 15, 2021