Texas Tech University

Burkhart Center Hosts Virtual Workshop with Renowned Autism Expert

Amanda Castro-Crist

March 29, 2021

Paul Louden

Paul Louden will discuss lessons he has learned as an adult living with autism spectrum disorder.

Texas Tech University's Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research, part of the College of Education, will host a virtual workshop with renowned autism expert Paul Louden. "Life with Autism: Planning for Success" will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday (April 1) via Zoom and is the first event during Autism Awareness Month, which is observed globally every April.

The workshop is free and open to the public and will focus on the lessons Louden has learned living as an adult with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Registration is required and can be completed online.

Louden grew up with mental health issues that confused him and his parents before he was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 23. As a result, he gained a unique perspective on adult ASD treatments and now strives to make the discussion of mental health issues less stigmatized.

An advocate for the neuro-atypical as well as a public speaker and radio host, Louden's became popular in the neuro-atypical community which led to him being featured in Autism World magazine, presenting a four-day parent training program in Bali and being interviewed multiple times for television. He is a highly sought-after speaker in ASD communities, corporate environments and school settings, where he discusses the melding of technology with special needs.

During the workshop, Louden will speak on the challenges he and others with ASD face in their lives on a daily and long-term basis. He will focus on how success can be mis-framed, how to better understand what a successful life really means for all people and ways to achieve it. He hopes those who attend will discover new ways to consider outcomes and the meaning of success, while also learning what it means to try to help someone who has ASD.

"The biggest lesson I've struggled to learn was, it's OK to separate my autism from myself," Louden said. "If I screw up, it's my responsibility to resolve things, but it's not necessarily my fault. There's a difference, and it's important. One misconception about success is that neurotypical people get to define it for those of us who are neuro-atypical. Success is when we find our own path to being content, happy and safe."

Continuing education credits are available for educators who register and attend. For questions, contact Evelyn Gilson at egilson@esc17.net.

For more information about the workshop, contact Susan Voland at susan.voland@ttu.edu or (806) 834-1331.