Co-founder of Autism HWB
Flo is a PhD candidate at the University of the West of England, exploring autistic peoples’ needs for time and space to just be themselves. Her Masters dissertation Autistics, Autodidacts and Autonomy was the inspiration for AutismHWB. Her recent study Reacting, Retreating, Regulating and Reconnecting focusses on the wellbeing benefits of alone-time for autistic people.
She lives with her husband, teenage daughters, dog and cat in a village in the South West of England. Until 2019 she was a health and nutrition coach, but over the years she has also been a musician, piano teacher, shop manager and pharmacy dispenser.
Flo says, “I am inspired at all times by transformation. Witnessing the first blossoms appear on the trees, relishing the taste and vibrational change when I’ve added certain ingredients to a dish, feeling my heart rate slow, my muscles relax and my imagination expand when I take time to just be. Transformation drives my personal and professional practice.”
Co-founder of Autism HWB
Rhi is a writer, poet, playwright and blogger who has five children and lives in the wilds of West Wales. She has a passion for peaceful, sustainable living and a lyrical approach to life.
She runs courses and workshops about autism on such topics as; The Power of Creativity, Autism in Women and Girls and Autism in the Workplace. She also works as an advocate and mentor with autistic adults. Her award-winning play, The Duck, about being a late-diagnosed autistic woman is currently touring the UK.
Rhi says, “Probably one of the things that helps me the most is my sense of humour. Life is ridiculous, people are ridiculous, we’re all doing our best and muddling through, and once you realise no one else has the key to what will make you happy, then you can start to build things for yourself. Pick and choose what works for you, we are all so beautifully different, one size will never fit all.”
Dr. Laura Z. Weldon
Laura (she/they) is a naturopath, writer, and neurodiversity advocate who lives among the bluegrass and rivers of central Kentucky in the US. She has a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and a Masters Degree in Integrative Mental Health and works with neurodivergent and chronically ill clients over telemedicine. Her practice, Weldon Wellness, focuses on celebrating difference, accomodating disability, and re-defining what it means to be well. She also researches the prevention and treatment of autistic burnout.
Laura says, “As an autistic person, I often feel I exist in liminal spaces and have a deep sense of connection with others who live in the margins. I firmly believe we are the experts of our own experience and am enthralled by the collection of writing on Autism HWB that centres our own understanding – here, we take up the space on the page we have deserved all along.
“When I walk in the woods, the leaves in the wind shimmer in my body, the roots and branches cling to me, inviting me to stay, and I feel a deep sense of connection. Connection to ourselves (mind, body, and spirit), to others in relationship, to community, and to nature drive my passion for wellbeing.”
Cass is an oil painter, writer and photographer from the San Francisco Bay in the US. She is the founder of Exceptional 2 Infinity, a creative hub that showcases her artwork and explores the work of other neurodivergent creatives. She recently launched a local neurodivergent creative art collective and is writing her first book. A mom of two kids, an ex-scientist and QA analyst, she now divides her time between taking care of her family, and making, selling, teaching and writing about art. She is autistic, with timeshares in ADHD, CAPD and dyslexia.
Cass says “I love making art, though I am equally passionate about fostering communication through all things creative. While art is often thought of as a therapeutic act, I enjoy inviting folks to explore creating as a natural expression of human behavior. When we are granted the freedom to be ourselves and act naturally, we feel more positive, strong and well.”
“I enjoy investigating how others use creativity and art to maintain their own wellbeing. My work tends to focus on the sensory-based drive that many neurodivergent creatives use to develop their own distinct creative process. It is my pleasure and deepest honor to get to help others use their creative passions to engage, connect, and make life more meaningful.”
Riah (she/they) is a collaborator, artist and builder living in Nebraska in the US. She values autistic BIPoC (Black, Indigenous & People of Colour) representation, disability justice, and accessibility.
A lifelong dancer, Riah saw an opportunity to explore stimming through the lens of art and expressive movement, following her diagnosis in 2019. In response to an autistic burnout and exploration within the online autistic community, Riah created her event Express Unbound. The event was her first attempt at creating an autistic space to encourage “beingness” for autistics who may not feel the permission to safely explore that elsewhere. The launching event has allowed for further opportunities to create autistic lead autistic spaces in the Omaha, NE area. She is looking forward to working with and building community around accessible social spaces, and disability justice.
Riah says, “Play is how we learn about the world, who we are, and how we fit into it! I wish there would be more to allow autistic children to play in the ways that make the most sense to them, rather than attempts to mold us into the neuromajority, and blocking brilliant neurodevelopment in the process. Autistic play is enough because we are enough. This is just as important for autistic kids as it is for who those kids will grow up to be. #LetAutisticKidsPlay”