Dr. Peter Vermeulen
Autism expert, Author, Lecturer and Consultant
MSc and PhD in Psychology and Educational Sciences. Worked with people with ASD and their families for more than 25 years.
Now co-director of Autisme Centraal, a training and education centre for autism spectrum disorders. Peter is an internationally respected lecturer/trainer and he presents all over Europe and beyond.
From 1987 till 1998 working for the Flemish Autism Association, first as home trainer for families with a child with autism, later as director of the home training centre and finally as trainer / lecturer.
Since 1998 working as autism consultant / lecturer /trainer at Autisme Centraal.
Chief Editor of “Autisme Centraal”, bi-monthly magazine of Autisme Centraal.
President of the editorial board of the Belgian-Dutch Journal of Special Education, Child Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology.
Published more than 15 books and several articles on autism, a.o. “This is the title: on autistic thinking” (2001), “I am Special: handbook for psycho-education” (2000, revised edition 2013), and “Autism as context blindness” (2012), a book than won several awards in the USA.
WATCH a video of Dr. Peter Vermeulen on Autism, Happiness and Wellbeing HERE
ABOUT DR. PETER VERMEULEN'S PRESENTATION
From neurodiversity to neuroharmony. Plea for a smaller but stronger autism.
With more than 10 scientific articles per day, autism (as synonym for autism spectrum disorder) is just about the most studied condition in the world. We need all this research to increase our understanding of a condition that suffers like no other from myths and misconceptions.
However, all the research and all the information about how different, specific and unique autism is, has made us forget that people with autism are not only different, but that they share more than we think with all the other people, especially when it comes to basic needs such as happiness.
Accepting neurodiversity is fine, but it emphasizes the differences between people. While it is a big step towards more acceptance of autism as one of the many ways a brain can operate, it is only the first step in our commitment to a better world and more well-being for people with autism.
We should also focus on what connects people with autism with the rest of the human species: the pursuit of happiness and the wish to be seen as a ‘citizen’ with rights and duties, and – above all – as someone who can contribute to society in order to have a purposeful and meaningful life.
It is time to say goodbye to the traditional models of disability (the medical model and the social model) and start working from a citizenship model when thinking about autism. In order to do so, we need to make autism smaller but stronger again.
It is a label given to people whose brain is a bit differently wired (but not completely!): nothing more but also nothing less than that. Acknowledging all the things that people with autism share with the rest of the people in the neurodiversity spectrum is the first step towards neuroharmony.
An example of good practice and source of good inspiration for visioning autism in the future could already be found in the eighties in Boston.
More in particular, in a bar… After this presentation you will be convinced that
● People with autism are more than their autism
● Every person with autism can contribute to society
● It’s more useful to look for strengths and skills than for deficits and impairments
● People with and without autism have more in common than you would think
● A positive approach of well-being in autism is more than monitoring, preventing and treating mental health issues