Els Van Beneden
Els Van Beneden (°1968) is a transport economist and a family scientist. She worked for more than 15 years as a policy advisor for the Flemish government. After an autistic burnout and an autism diagnosis in 2015 she took a new turn in life. At the moment she is writing a historic novel. She is also a board member of the non-profit organization BlinkOut and she is an active autism advocate. Together with Jo Bervoets she founded LAVA (see below).
Jo Bervoets (°1968) is a philosopher, a cognitive scientist and a civil engineer. He worked for more than 20 years in the technology industry (as engineering manager, product manager and HR Manager). After an autistic burnout and an autism diagnosis in 2016 he took a new turn in life. At the moment he is a PhD researcher in the NeuroEpigenEthics project. He graduated in philosophy with a dissertation on autism. Presently his research focus is on Tourette’s.
LAVA, a unique voice in the Flemish autism scene
LAVA, the Flemish Reading and Advisory Group of Autistic Adults, was founded in 2017 with as key aims participating in scientific research and promoting a more nuanced societal view of autism. LAVA achieves this by critically reading autism research and entering into constructive discussion with autism researchers. As such we try to give autistics a direct voice in the public and scientific debate showing autism is a not a deficit but a valuable, enriching way of life.
In the past 3 years LAVA obtained a voice in Flanders through publications, by participating in steering and advisory groups and by organizing reading sessions and member events.
Jo and Els, both co-founders, will present activities and results from the group. There will be sufficient time for discussion and debate with the participants afterwards.