STE Aims to Spread Awareness During Neurodiversity Matters Conference
Featuring various informative topics concerning neurodiversity, STE intends to push boundaries of art and inclusion with the free virtual conference.
Spectrum Theatre Ensemble (STE), the non-profit professional theater company, is announcing its second annual Neurodiversity Matters Conference happening this weekend on April 16, 17, and 18, starting at 5 p.m. The focus of the virtual conference, which will feature experts and artists from around the nation, is to destigmatize neurodivergence, increase disability inclusion in society and raise the voices of those unheard. The conference will be free to stream through STE’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
Neurodiversity is based on how our brains work and refers to neurotypical people and those both on and off the autism spectrum together. The staff at STE is neurodiverse and center their attention mainly on those with PTSD and autism.
“Autism is one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized neurodivergent conditions particularly in our country, it’s also adults on the autism spectrum who are the most underemployed demographic in the country,” says Teddy Lytle, associate artistic director of STE.
As the main organizer of this year’s conference, Lytle says that part of the theater’s mission is to prepare people to work in a professional setting, but their main goal is to spread awareness concerning neurodiversity.
“Part of our mission to elevate these voices and tell their stories, because that’s ultimately what we’re here to do: to tell stories,” says Lytle. “We want to hear it from people who are experiencing it directly.”
The guests featured on the panels will discuss a range of topics, including spectrum parenting, the many definitions of neurodiversity, neurodivergence, and inclusion as well as two panels on the intersectionality of disability with BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities. The conference will finish with an online reading of A Simulation of the Mundane Bedlam that is Sensory Overload by Charles L. Hughes.
“Where we thrive is, people are always fascinated to talk about the brain, and people who process differently are able to get at it in an interesting, nuanced way,” says Lytle. “[STE] wants to change how society thinks of disability, inclusion and neurodiversions, and we can’t always just do that on the stage, so we wanted to get people who are experts, people who are on the spectrum, people who’ve been writing and studying this for years, and listen to what they have to say.”
More information about STE and the event can be found here.