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2023 Owerko Centre Conference

Neurodiversity and Intersectionality


Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Conference: 9:00 - 3:50 pm 

Reception: 3:50 - 4:50 pm
Theatre 1, Health Sciences Centre,                Foothills Campus, UCalgary 

Map to Theatre 1

Registration deadline: Monday, May 22 at 12 pm 
Trainee PowerPoint Submission deadline: Monday, May 29 at 12 pm 

Questions? Email


Click on the pull down menus to view the details of the program.

Dr. Laura Graham, PhDAssociate Professor, Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College, The City University of New York, New York

Talk Title: Addressing the needs of LGBTQIA+ youth on the spectrum: A call to action

Presentation Details:

LGBTQIA+ autistic youth and adults face disparities in mental health, medical diagnoses, social well-being, and access to healthcare. This presentation will discuss what we know about LGBTQIA+ autistic people over the life course, and will spur conversation about how we can support these individuals. 

Samarpreet Singh, Supervisor: Dr. Gerald Giesbrecht, Dept. of Paediatrics 

  • Associations and Interactions of Delivery Mode and Antibiotic Exposure with Infant Cortisol level: A Correlational Study

Ceilidh MConnell, Supervisor: Dr. Deinera Exner-Cortens, Depts. of Psychology and Psychiatry

  • Preventing Youth Suicide with a Virtual Human Training: Best Practices for Establishing a Youth Advisory Group

Madison Long, Supervisor: Dr. Catherine Lebel, Dept. of Radiology

  • Trajectories of gray matter volume development in toddlers and young children with prenatal alcohol exposure

Mashiat Zaman, Supervisor: Dr. Tim Shutt, Dept. of Medical Genetics

  • Investigating the mechanistic basis of Mitofusin2 variants leading to disease

    Dr. Stephanie Chipeur, Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Zwicker, School of Public Policy     

    • Paying Family Caregivers of Children with Disabilities

    Stefan Kurbatfinski, Supervisors: Drs. Nicole Letourneau and Aliyah Mawji, Dept. of Community Health Sciences                                                                                    

    • Stalking and Harassment Manifest Uniquely Within 2SLGBTQQIA+ and Rural Women Intimate Partner Relationships: Albertan Victim/Survivor and Service Provider Experiences

      Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, PhD, Associate Professor, Psychology, College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, and Director, Advanced Certificate Program in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Building Bridges Project REACH, The City University of New York, New York

      Dr. TC Waisman, EdD, MA, Leadership, Policy & Governance; Leadership and Training Coach, Autism Training Academy, Vancouver, BC

      Talk Title: Neurodiversity & Intersectionality: It matters

      Presentation Details:

      Neurodivergent and intersectional individuals exist in every community, yet we often experience a lack of representation in policies and practices, structural exclusion from decision-making tables, and performative allyship that resists attempts to dismantle racist and disabling barriers. Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch and Dr. TC Waisman use academic and community perspectives to inform educators, university staff, and faculty about authentic inclusion and why it matters.

      Dr. Meredith Maroney, PhD, RPsych, Assistant Professor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

      Talk Title: Dual spectrums: The intersectional experiences of sexual and gender minority autistic individuals

      Presentation Details:

      This presentation will highlight the importance of employing an intersectional lens to understand the experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ autistic individuals, including interlocking stigma and forms of resistance.

      Melia Wylie, Two-Spirit and LGBTQINAP+ Programs Facilitator, Centre for Sexuality

      Jess Lopez, Neurodiversity Support Advisor, Student Wellness Service, UCalgary

      Dr. Caroline Westwood, Psychologist, Child and Adolescent Addiction & Mental Health Specialized Services, AHS

      Dr. Kristin Lalji, Psychologist, Mood, Anxiety and Psychosis Service (MAPS), AHS

      Dr. Shylo Cliffe, Social Worker, Child and Adolescent Addiction & Mental Health Specialized Services and Psychiatry Program Community Clinic, AHS

      Emily Coombs, Autistic Researcher and Advocate, Graduate Student, University of Calgary

      Grant Bruno, PhD Student, Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta

      Talk Title: Insights into Autism and First Nations People: Perspectives from a Parent, Community Member, and Researcher 

      Presentation Details:

      Indigenous people are often under-presented in the discourse around autism. Drawing from his experience as a parent and member of Samson Cree Nation, Grant will explore ideas and concepts on how to better support Indigenous families with autistic children by incorporating Indigenous perspectives and knowledge into practice. Grant will also discuss the significance of Indigenous culture and connection in creating healthy environments, as well as explore practical tips for integrating holistic models into Western approaches, practices, services, and supports. 


      Information for trainee presenters

      Trainees will have an opportunity to present their research work in an oral presentation and/or poster format.
      Abstract submission deadline: Monday, May 1 at 11:59 pm MST
      Trainee PowerPoint Submission deadline: Monday, May 29 at 12 pm MST

      • All oral presentations to be followed by a 2 minute Q&A
      • The presentation should be geared towards a broad audience outside of your field of study who may know little about your research area