Fostering Well-Being in Autistic Girls and Women

Dori Zener, MSW, RSW

Thursday & Friday, November 3 & 4, 2022

This two-day event will offer practical insights for professionals to better understand how to support autistic girls and women. Girls and women are often overlooked in autism research, clinical training and service provision. Due to difficulties reading social cues, autistic girls and women, in general, are disproportionately victims of bullying, sexual assault and abusive relationships. Mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, panic, eating disorders, ADHD, OCD and addictions are exacerbated by the lack of awareness of the needs of women and girls. By shedding light on their experiences and providing practical strategies, we can support autistic girls and women to thrive.

Recording available for one month after the live stream

Day 1 – The INVEST Model – Case Studies

The INVEST model [Identify Needs, Validate, Educate, Strengthen and Thrive], developed by Dori Zener, identifies the essential elements to promote well-being. Using a series of case studies from her own practice, Dori will illustrate how educators, clinicians and family members can use practical strategies to better support autistic girls and women.

Day 2 – Panel Discussion and Q & A – ‘Ask a Therapist’

Featuring a panel of autistic women discussing their lived experience, facilitated by Dr. Anthony Bailey. The ‘Ask a Therapist’ session that follows will provide an opportunity for autistic youth and adults, and their families, to have their questions answered by Dori Zener.

View in-person or web streaming registration below for learning outcomes, schedules, group discounts, and more.


Panel Facilitator – Dr. Anthony Bailey

Dr. Anthony Bailey is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia where he served as Chair of the Institute of Mental Health and Professor and Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, until his recent retirement. Prior to his retirement, Dr. Bailey earned the respect of families and autistic adults for his clinical work focused on teenagers and able autistic adults; he is particularly interested in the diagnosis of autistic women.

Jennifer Branston

Jennifer Branston is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. She volunteers as a member of ACT’s Board of Directors and as Chair of North Vancouver School District’s Parent Advisory Council. Her experience as a mother with ASD and the parent of autistic children provides an important perspective.

Juliani Kusmanto

Juliani Kusmanto was brought up in Indonesia before emigrating to Canada as an adult, where she was diagnosed with autism. She has thought deeply about the challenges of explaining her diagnosis to her Indonesian family and the disbelief she has met when communicating her diagnosis both in Indonesia and in Canada because she is a skilled professional. Juliani is active in a number of autism-related organizations and especially interested in the challenges facing women with a late diagnosis.

Pam Palmer

Pam Palmer worked as a lawyer for many years before marrying, having four children, and discovering that she was an autistic member of a neurodiverse family. She now works part time in a legal software company. She is a general member of ACT’s society and is active in the autistic community with a special interest in autism in women.

Kayla Tellier

Kayla Tellier is a committed autistic advocate. She works for the inclusion of those with neurodiversity by promoting education, specializing in autism. She works for the Canucks Autism Network and volunteers with several organizations that support autistic individuals. Currently she is researching the experiences of autistic women during pregnancy and the development of resources to better inform and support them.

Registration ends on October 31, 2022

Participant Comments

Comments from past workshops with Dori Zener:

This is the first time I’ve felt truly seen by a professional. Thank you so much for the clear and well-formulated way you explain these things that I’ve never been able to put words to.

Autistic woman

Very relevant topic with a lot of evidence-based info. I appreciated the amount of practical info and strategies presented.


The compassion, commitment & knowledge of the presenter is absolutely amazing!