2024 Community Summit: Peer Groups and Networking Meetups

Peer Discussion Groups and Networking Meetups

A unique part of our summit is offering an opportunity for attendees to connect with others – either through the 3-day Peer Discussion Groups or the one-off Networking Meetups. These are only available to people who registered on or prior to May 21st. 

 The 3-day Peer Discussion Groups are designed to provide you with an opportunity to discuss the themes of each day of the Summit with a group of your peers (people who you have a common connection or identity with). We had a survey to help us work out which groups had enough interest for us to be able to offer them as options. There were also a few communities who didn’t have quite enough interest for this, but enough that we felt it was important to provide another way for those individuals to connect and network. These other groups, including Autistic elders and Autistic parents, have been offered as one-off Networking Meetups instead. You can attend both kinds of groups if you identify with the relevant communities as they are held on different days. 

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Day 1, 2 & 3 Peer Discussion Groups

On the first 3 days of the Community Summit, we will be holding Peer Discussion Groups via Zoom at 1pm AEST. These groups are only available to people who registered for the Summit on or prior to May 21st. 

The purpose of these sessions is to provide a peer group for you to discuss the day’s theme and the preceding presentations. While attending the preceding keynote presentation and panel (earlier in the day) are not required for you to participate, you will likely more fully be able to engage with the session and what’s being discussed if you have done so.  

There are facilitators who will be there to help guide discussion in each group, and those attending should feel free to interact either to the spoken conversation, via the text-based chat or just listen in. You may also choose to have your camera switched off if you prefer. The groups are not intended to be mentoring or counselling sessions and our facilitators will not be able to provide individualised advice or support. 

We have Peer Discussion Groups available for the following communities: 

  • Autistic Adults 
  • Recently Identified Autistics (within the last 2 years) 
  • LGBTIQA+ Autistics 
  • Parents & Caregivers of Autistic People 
  • Professionals working with Autistic People (you don’t need to have registered under the Professional rate) 
  • General Community & Allies (open to everyone!) 

There are limited spaces remaining in groups, so even if you didn’t complete the survey to pre-register to be part of a group it isn’t too late – just join the link (via the Virtual Hub) and someone from our Team will help place you. We apologise for any disappointment if your top preference is not available on the day. 

Everyone will join their groups from the same meeting link found in the Community Summit Virtual Hub. There will be support staff online 10 minutes prior to the start of the session. You may want to join early to check your screen name is appearing as you want it to. When the session starts most people will automatically be moved into their groups using the “breakout room” function if they have logged into Zoom with the same email address as they registered for the Summit with.  

There will be support staff in the “main room” of the Zoom to help direct anyone who joins a bit late, and to redirect anyone who may have ended up in the wrong group. Please note that it will not be possible to be added to a particular group you weren’t already signed up for if it is already full.  

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Day 4 & 5 Networking Meetups

If you registered on or prior to May 21st you have the option to be part of a Networking Meetup via Zoom for any of the following groups you personally identify as part of: 

  • Autistic entrepreneurs (Autistic people who are self-employed, run their own business or are interested in doing do in the future)  – Thursday June 6, 1-2pm  
  • Autism researchers  – Thursday June 6, 1-2pm 
  • Autistic elders (age 60+)  – Friday June 7, 1-2pm 
  • Autistic parents (that is parents who identify as Autistic themselves)  – Friday June 7, 1-2pm 

The purpose of these sessions is to provide a space for people with a common interest to connect and there will be facilitators to help guide the conversation.

Unlike our other groups, talking about and sharing a link to your business is permitted in the Autistic Entrepreneurs meetup, but we still ask that you do not give sales pitches or pressure others to purchase from your business.

We won’t be providing notes from these sessions – but will pass on a document containing any resources links that are shared in the chat with those who registered or attended the session.

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Group Guidelines

Like other elements the Peer Discussion Groups are subject to our Code of Conduct to help ensure that the session will be a respectful and inclusive space and that attendees’ privacy and confidentiality will be protected as much as possible. 

The following guidelines are particularly important for the groups and will help them to run smoothly:

Privacy and Confidentiality 

  • Display Names, Pseudonyms & Camera Settings: You are welcome to leave your camera turned off and to change your display name to just your first name or a pseudonym to protect your own privacy.
  • Recording, Closed Captions and Session Notes: The peer discussion group sessions will NOT be recorded.  Automatic captions will be enabled.  Please do not record, screenshot or copy the chat, audio or video.  One of the facilitators will be making notes during the session which will be shared with those who registered for the group. This may take up to a week.  The notes will include the themes discussed and any resources shared.  No personal stories or identifiable details will be included in the notes.
  • Sharing Stories without Identifying Details: You are welcome to share personal stories within the group, but please be mindful not to include personal, identifiable details (for example, school or teacher names).
  •  Sharing Outside the Group: After the session takes place, you are welcome to talk about things you learned during the group, but not to share experiences or stories in a way that would allow someone else in the group (or a place or person they spoke about) to be identified. 
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While it may be natural for unkind thoughts or judgements to arise during sessions, both towards yourself and others, we ask you to exercise and extend compassion to yourself and others. Please help us to limit feelings of shame and guilt by not sharing any negative judgements with us.  

Respectful, Neuroaffirming Language 

We ask that you use respectful, neuroaffirming language.  We acknowledge that many Autistic people prefer identity-first language, but ask that you respect each Autistic individual’s choice about the language they use to identify themselves.  

Triggering and Distressing Content 

  • Difficult Topics: Difficult topics and experiences are likely to come up during the discussions.  While sharing experiences is welcome, attendees are encouraged not to describe in detail instances of abuse, mistreatment or discrimination they or their Autistic loved one may have experienced.
  • Content Warnings: Prior to sharing stories about highly triggering topics such as eating disorders or incidences of self-harm, please flag your intention to discuss these topics in the form of a Content Warning. This gives others the opportunity to prepare or excuse themselves temporarily if needed. For example, “Please be aware that my story includes content about [topic].”
  • Self-Care Strategies: The session facilitators are not mental health professionals conducting a group counselling session. It is the responsibility of each individual to manage their own self-care during the session and that it will not be possible for the facilitators or your fellow attendees to anticipate everything that someone may find distressing.  You are encouraged to use your own self-care strategies while attending the session, including by taking a break or turning off your camera at any time you need.  
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Take Turns to Speak 

You will be welcome to share by speaking or to type your comments into the chat.  Both ways of contributing are equally valid and valuable.   

We will be using the “Hands Up” feature so that participants can indicate when they have something to share out loud.  Facilitators will call on people in the order that hands were raised.  Please don’t interrupt while someone else is speaking.  

If you prefer to share by typing in the chat and would like one of the facilitators to read out your comments on your behalf, please write READ ALOUD at the start of your message.  

No Advice Unless Requested 

Please do not give advice, unless someone has explicitly requested it from the group.
Self-promotion of your business is also NOT permitted. 

Back to the Community Summit Program

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Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

The Reframing Autism team would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we have the privilege to learn, work, and grow. Whilst we gather on many different parts of this Country, the RA team walk on the land of the Amangu, Awabakal, Bindjareb, Birpai, Whadjak, Wiradjuri and Yugambeh peoples.

We are committed to honouring the rich culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this Country, and the diversity and learning opportunities with which they provide us. We extend our gratitude and respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to all Elders past and present, for their wisdom, their resilience, and for helping this Country to heal.

Join us on the journey to reframe how society understands Autism