The Purpose of an Autism Dialogue Conference

The purpose of our December conference goes to the core aim of the powerful methodology known as Bohm Dialogue; that the intention to approach and explore the nature of communication may lead to improvements in communication and well-being within ourselves and in the collective grouping.

“Dialogue, as we are choosing to use the word, is a way of exploring the roots of the many crises that face humanity today. It enables inquiry into, and understanding of, the sorts of processes that fragment and interfere with real communication between individuals, nations and even different parts of the same organization.” – David Bohm

I feel that in our dialogues since 2017, we have explored the notions of autism and communication successfully together, and developed some potential for communication to improve, in our case around the common denominator of autism.  In applying the Bohm Dialogue methodology to autism, we have touched upon many areas, for example neurodiversity, empowerment, identity, sharing, community, society, well-being and the potential for other positive outcomes.

As Dr. Liz Milne (Director of Sheffield Autism Research Lab) eloquently explains, ‘Autism is an ideal focus for Dialogue because of a perceived growing disparity between viewpoints.’  ‘The aim of Dialogue is to enable delegates to reach a common understanding about the topic under debate, and to experience everyone’s point of view fully, equally and non-judgmentally. As such it provides a supportive environment to examine preconceptions and prejudices among peers which can lead to a new and deeper understanding.’ Read Dr.Milne’s report.

By inviting the public to a dialogic conference (primarily, who have connections to autism in any sense) we are extending this intention to include more people, at the same time as presenting what went before, the first ever Bohm Dialogue series within the autistic community and autism community (professional, academic, family networks etc.).

For those of us, autistic and not, who have already been in attendance, we have the additional reason of celebrating a significant milestone.  I feel honoured and humbled to share our work and achievements together. Outcomes of the dialogues and the conference will hopefully revolve around more and more people appreciating the potential benefits of Bohm Dialogue as applied to autism.

In order to help others understand and hopefully be inspired by our work so far, and to facilitate new exploration of the potential for it, it is important we can articulate and present our prior experiences and invite different perspectives on the day. Attendees may participate in the dialogue sessions and focus on more practical questions and issues in a Q & A panel. A vision for the future could be formed and announced.

Jonathan Drury

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