AN interview with Melissa Murphy aka Autistic Zebra

AUsome Autism Conference
1st February 2020
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AN interview with Melissa Murphy aka Autistic Zebra

I had a chat with Melissa Murphy earlier today . Many of you will know Melissa as blogger “Autistic Zebra”. She talked to me about her upcoming talk at AUsome Conference March 29th in Rochestown Park Hotel.

How are you feeling about presenting in March?

I am incredibly excited. I really can’t wait to get on that stage and share my passion with the audience.

Have you ever presented before?

No, never! Unless you count the time I presented my undergraduate thesis to my lecturers and classmates in university. I had “technical difficulties” when the slide sprang out of the projector and hit me on the head! Glad technology has moved on since then.

What made you decide to send in a proposal this year?

The encouragement of my friends. To be honest I wrote my proposal in a bit of a dream-state, as if possessed! I really wasn’t expecting it to get selected.

Have you any advice for people who would like to talk at future events?

I often think of my dad’s advice: “What have you got to lose? The worst case scenario is that they say no. There’s no harm in asking.” You may be pleasantly surprised, as I was, when they say yes! Having something to say, and being given the opportunity to say it, is so life affirming.

What was your experience as an audience member last year?

My husband summed it up best when I was ranting about it on our way home “sounds like it was life-changing”. And that’s exactly what it was. I had never felt so accepted and included in anything in my whole life.

What were the highlights of last years event for you?

The autistic adult meet-up the night before was incredible. Rather than being draining, as is the usual case with socialising for me, it actually energised me.

The talks were so interesting. Such a mix of emotions felt. The lunch was a great opportunity to chat to some new faces. The Silent Room was fantastic.

What do you see as the main difference between AUsome conference and other conferences held around the country?

I have never been to any other conferences tbh. Usually factors such as price, lack of accommodations etc put me off. Also the “vibe” I get off the organisers is key, I have to believe that they care about the attendees and aren’t just looking to make money.

Also key for me is that I can stay at the venue with my family, and so reasonably priced family rooms are essential. I have to say, Rochestown Park Hotel is a great venue and the staff there were fantastic.

What do you think people will learn from your own presentation?

I’m hoping to leave people with the knowledge that there is a wealth of writing being produced by Autistic authors. I hope to celebrate these authors and their contribution to society.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about attending this year?

It really is a great line-up of speakers and a wonderfully inclusive atmosphere. No matter who you are, no matter your neurotype, I’m sure you will learn new things and be amongst a great bunch of people.

Who do you think will benefit from attending AUsome conference?

Everyone, really. If you are Autistic, then being at an Autistic-led event is so affirming. If you’re not autistic then you will learn so much.

To hear more from Melissa and 9 other Autistic speakers book in here

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