International Symposium Autism (IFA) Contribution I

International symposium "Autism Today - New Perspectives, International Developments"

The International Conference on Autism of the Institute for Further Education, Counselling and Research in Disability Assistance IFBFB ( was held in Berlin from 22 to 23 November 2012 under the leadership of PD Dr. Ernst Wüllenweber and Prof. Dr. Georg Theunissen.

Head office of the institute:
Galluner Str. 11 in 12307 Berlin, e-mail:

The conference took place on two days at the Evangelisches Johannesstift, VCH-Hotel Christophorus, 13587 Berlin Spandau (

Contents of the conference

The phenomenon of autism has undergone a major change in recent years. It is no longer simply a matter of diagnosing a form of disability according to the ICD or DSM system, but rather autism is increasingly understood as a kind of culture of life. The conference discussed the different perspectives in the international discourse. An expert from Canada, the worldwide renowned autism researcher L. Mottron, experts from Austria, speakers known in Germany and affected experts had their say at the symposium and reflected on the new insights and positions with the guests. A broad spectrum of topics was offered. In addition to questions on the new understanding of autism spectrum disorder and the relationship between intellectual disability and autism, the conference also dealt with diagnostics, a strength perspective and empowerment of autistic persons, questions on emotionality in autism, counselling and support for parents and relatives as well as the psychosocial care and support system and systemic-critical aspects.

speakers at the International Symposium

  • Prof. Dr. Laurent Mottron, Psychiatrist, Montral - Canada
  • Prof. Dr. Georg Theunissen, Martin Luther University, Halle
  • Dr. Therese Zöttl, Rainmans Home, Vienna - Austria
  • Dr. Anton Diestelberger, Rainmans Home, Vienna - Austria
  • Sebastian Dern, autism sufferer, Berlin
  • Dr. Christine Preißmann, doctor, psychotherapist, autism sufferer, Dieburg
  • Dr. Brita Schirmer, Diplom-Pädagogin, Berlin
  • Michaela Sommerauer, Magister Pädagogin, Vienna - Austria
  • Melanie Matzies-Köhler, graduate psychologist, Berlin
  • PD Dr. Ernst Wüllenweber, Martin Luther University, Halle

Lectures and Workshops

  • Laurent Mottron: The Power of Autism - Changing Perceptions
  • Georg Theunissen: Autism in the Light of Empowerment
  • Therese Zöttl / Anton Diestelberger: The perspective of strengths in pedagogical everyday life
  • Sebastian Dern: The Autistic Mind - Latest Explanations and Hypotheses
  • Christine Preißmann: Psychosocial Care Systems for Autistic Adults - A Critical View from the Perspective of Patients
  • Brita Schirmer: Successful parental work. Cooperation with relatives of autistic children and adolescents
  • Michaela Sommerauer: "As loud as I could I thought I loved her" - autism and emotionality
  • Melanie Matzies-Köhler: Social training for autistic children and adolescents - approaches and opportunities through individual and group training
  • Ernst Wüllenweber: Diagnosis Autism - Between Phenomenon and Construct. Systemic-critical considerations

In this order I will present the contents of the respective lectures and workshops in the following blog posts with the help of my own notes and following (not as a copy!) the PowerPoint presentations released by the speakers. With the help of these I would like to give a small insight into the thematic discussions of the extensive and wide-ranging conference. This insight is intended to outline the current state of affairs in the professional and affected world on the subject of autism and serve as a stimulus to initiate impulses for further thinking or even implementation in everyday professional life and studies. In no case at all this Blogbeitrag serves as one to one copy of the documents of the adviser contributions! I would like to stress that at this point most politely.

Heartfelt, Katja Driesener

Theme of the next post:

Laurent Mottron: The Power of Autism - Changing Perceptions

*** Translated with (free version) ***

Über die Autorin/den Autor
Katja Driesener schloss 2012 ihr Bachelor-Studium Heilpädagogik erfolgreich ab. Sie betreut im Rahmen der Einzelfallhilfe Kinder mit Autismus innerhalb ihrer Familien und ist als Schulhelferin tätig. Im Autismus-Bereich bildet sie sich intensiv weiter. Vor dem Studium absolvierte sie eine Ausbildung zur Heilerziehungspflegerin.

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