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Autistic Self-Advocates Panel: A Discussion of Social Lives

  • 24 May 2022
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Online


An xMinds Event


Join xMinds on Tuesday, May 24 at 7:00 PM for a panel discussion exploring the experiences of three millennial, autistic self-advocates who will discuss their social lives, past and present. 

Panelists will discuss what supports have been helpful, and what well-intentioned supports may have been harmful.  They will tell us what their ideal social engagements look like, and how their goals may not always mirror what their parents had envisioned for them. 

Panel discussion will be followed by Q&A with the audience.

Cost:  Free

Location:  Online (Register to receive the Zoom link)

Meet our Panelists:

               Joel Carver                           Heather Weiss                         Justin Valenti.

Joel Carver is a 2017 graduate from the College of William and Mary and an autistic self-advocate for 8 years.  He was a co-founder of the Student Neurodiversity Group, a published writer, and a public speaker.

Heather Weiss (33) attended MCPS from preschool through high school. She received her Associates degree in fine arts from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida in 2010 while participating in a program that provided tutoring and mentoring. After graduating, Heather worked with a job coach and then Project SEARCH to gain experience in a series of paid internships and part-time jobs at the Kennedy Center, T. J. Maxx, and the Smithsonian. Her part-time position with Smithsonian Archives as an Archives Aide became a full-time job in January 2021.

Heather has lived in Main Street Apartments in Rockville since October, 2020 and attends many programs through Main Street Connect. In her spare time, Heather loves creating art projects, listening to and dancing to music, reading, watching YouTube and loves to travel.

Justin Valenti is an author, self advocate, and artist who graduated from Quince Orchard High School in 2014. Since graduation, Justin has taken classes at Montgomery County Community College. Justin is also a board member for The Arc Maryland and he works at the National Institute of Health as an Office Clerk. In his free time, Justin likes to create artwork, play the drums, and read books. Justin has many years of experience with public speaking and he is always willing to share his experiences with other people.

Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available. 

This presentation will be recorded. 

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