UTAlumni CommunityCalendarSymposium 'Design your life'

Symposium 'Design your life' With guest speaker Prof Sue Fletcher-Watson

Design Your Life is an innovative project, aiming to empower young adults with autism and their carers to design their own technological solutions. This way, young people gain more control over their own lives. On 4 April, we will present the results at the symposium.

During this symposium, we will:

  • Share the main findings and results of the "Design Your Life" project.
  • Provide practical workshops and demonstrations on the use of technology tools by young adults with autism.
  • Provide a platform for discussion and sharing of best practices related to inclusive technology and independence.

This event provides a valuable opportunity to learn, network and collaborate with professionals and experts in autism and technology. Sign up and mark 4 April 2024 in your calendar!

Where and what time?

Date: Thursday 04 April 2024
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: HAN Campus Nijmegen, Kapittelweg 33, Nijmegen
Participation: Free entrance


Chairperson of the day Milou Dijkman will open the symposium at 10.00 am. Then it will be Sue Fletcher-Watson's turn. She will give a lecture called 'The neurodiversity paradigm and what it means for tech-based research and support'. You can then choose two workshops during the afternoon programme and then conclude the symposium with drinks. Below you will find more information about Sue Fletcher-Watson's keynote, the workshops and chairwoman Milou Dijkman.

09:30 Registration and reception

10:00 Plenary opening
10:15 Keynote
10:45 Presentation: Design Your Life
11:30 Panel discussion with participants, care facilities and caregivers

12:15 Lunch

13:15 Workshop round 1
14:15 Workshop round 2
15:15 Exhibition and competition award ceremony

15:45 Reception with snacks & drinks

Keynote by Sue Fletcher-Watson

The neurodiversity paradigm and what it means for tech-based research and support

In this talk Sue will consider the status quo of autism research and the limitations of traditional approaches when it comes to efforts at enhancing autistic people’s quality of life. She will examine the methods and theoretical models which have dictated much of what is known about autism, and show how these approaches rest on assumptions which fail to centre autistic experience. She will then introduce the neurodiversity paradigm, as a basis for a shift in how we do autism research. She will define the paradigm and consider how it can be merged with participatory methods to generate a new way of doing research by, with and for autistic people. She will then look more specifically at the implications of these two models - a traditional “normalcy paradigm” and a new “neurodiversity paradigm" - for research that deploys digital technologies, and for the use of digital technologies in support settings. 

More information about Sue.

6 workshops

  1. Limits of The Social Model and Neurodiversity - Alderick van Klaveren (RITME)
    More and more often we hear the phrase 'the social model' and 'neurodiversity'. What does this usually mean, and what are the limits of how these ideas are portrayed? Where do these ideas come from and where do they go? What are the implications of how we imagine neurodiversity?
  2. A pause-place to de-moderate: Assortimens' FabLab in Oldenzaal - Dr Edwin Dertien, co-founder of Assortimens Foundation
    In this workshop, Edwin explains the working method and the idea behind the Assortimens Foundation's creative workshop. He talks about the place that this (and thus other small) organisation occupies in the provision of care. Assortimens is involved in the DYL project as a place where the target group is present in a dual role. Many participants who come here for daycare are highly educated, graduate designers or PhD researchers, bringing a special perspective and input to the project. Several participants participated in the DYL pilots, producing some interesting interventions of their own. In-house, 'Fablab Oldenzaal' was recently launched: a public workshop for digital fabrication - run as a creative workplace for and by the participants. Some of the interventions devised with DYL were also manufactured as prototypes there.
  3. 3D printing and craftsmanship in a healthcare context at iXperium Health - Jos Schenkenveld (HAN)
    In this workshop, you will see the possibilities and impossibilities of 3D printing. And you will see examples of 3D-printed healthcare innovations and how they are made. In an accessible way, you will find out how easy it is to make something.
  4. Implementing methodologies in healthcare - Sanne van den Hagen (Vrienden van verandering)
    What is involved in implementing a methodology like DYL in practice? We will talk about that. After the session: - You'll know what to look out for. Have practical tools. Have experienced what change means.
  5. Serious gaming for social skills: codesign with children with autism (9-12 yrs) - Job van 't Veer (NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences) Lecturer Digital Innovation in Care & Welfare
    In the SOVATASS project, three different games were designed mainly for children with autism (9-12 yrs). This digital toolkit aims to stimulate social skills playfully. In this workshop, we will demonstrate the games (yes, also play them ourselves) and illustrate how we arrived at these designs in co-design with the target group itself and with professionals. Which insights from the design research led to which design choices? And which methods helped us optimally engage the young target group as 'true game designers'?
  6. Get started with the toolkit yourself - DYL project team
    During this workshop, you can get started with the DYL toolkit yourself and experience using it.

Chairperson Milou Dijkman

Milou Dijkman is moderator, chairperson and founder of Souls on Stage, her platform with which she coaches and trains professionals to speak in front of groups in a relaxed manner, based on connection and (personal) leadership. She once started her career as a lawyer at a large firm and then worked successively as a lawyer, policy advisor and speechwriter in the government. She then decided to focus entirely on the stage and the power of the spoken word, combined with personal development and leadership. As chairman of the day, she enjoys moderating meetings across the board, from science to policy to corporate, from AI to sustainability to the social domain. Her motto: In the connection is the answer.

Our partners

The project partners form a team together and provide valuable information for the research from their expertise. Participants are:

The project is a collaboration between the University of Twente and the Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen. The organisation of the symposium is also in the hands of these two organisations.