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Walk with me: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Autistic Adults – January

Event Details
Date: 24 & 31 January 2023
Time: 10.00am–1.00pm AEDT
Venue: Online
CPD hrs: 6 hours
CPD Category: 2 - Skills and Knowledge

Refer to listing

Organiser: AASW


[email protected]

(03) 9320 1000

  • Event date has passed
  • Registrations are closed

Registrations have closed for this event. Please add your name to the waitlist to be notified of future sessions.

Social workers will no doubt work with many diagnosed, misdiagnosed, and undiagnosed autistic clients throughout their careers. Therefore, it is imperative that practitioners know how to connect, engage, communicate, empower, and work effectively with autistic people so that they feel heard, respected, valued, and included.

Traditionally, interventions have been developed by neurotypical people with the aim to normalise or “fix” autistic individuals. As social workers, our therapeutic work begins by accepting and celebrating the unique identities and perspectives of autistic people, by focusing on their strengths and values, and by exploring who they are with them with curiosity and excitement. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) offers itself up as an ideal model to help achieve these goals, as ACT requires the practitioner to understand the world from the client’s perspective and see the client as the expert in their life. ACT views the therapeutic relationship as essential to helping the client work towards change and a values-based life. ACT aims to help clients to thrive, not just survive.

This two-part interactive workshop will take an evidence-based approach to working with autistic adults. It will offer participants a unique insight into how autistic people experience the world around them and will provide participants with the opportunity to understand how to build an ACT approach into their work. Part of this will include examples of ACT strategies and exercises. These can be applied both personally and professionally, as ACT is an experiential model. These workshops will be facilitated by accredited social workers, experienced in using ACT with autistic clients, and will incorporate case studies, several interactive activities, and group discussions.

Who should attend? Emerging and evolving practitioners who have some prior experience working with Autistic adults and/or ACT who would like to develop more effective strategies to support their Autistic clients.

Additional materials

Participants will be provided with:

  • PDF of the presentation slides
  • List of additional resources
  • Workbook

6 hours of CPD activity: Category 2, skills and knowledge
AASW Credentials: Disability; Mental Health (FPS)

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the unique way in which Autistic people experience the world
  • Understand how to work in neuro-affirming ways
  • Define the different areas of psychological flexibility
  • Identify the benefits of using ACT with Autistic adults
  • Experience the effects of a simple ACT exercise as both the client and practitioner through role-play
  • Develop an understanding of how ACT strategies/exercises function, and start to create your own ACT toolbox


Johanna Malcolm

Johanna Malcolm is a neurodiverse AASW accredited social worker and has been an NDIS support coordinator for the last 8 years. She has been navigating the NDIS since its inception and has three children and a partner on the spectrum. She is passionate about empowering people to take control of their own lives whilst being there to walk alongside them and share their journey.

Johanna’s commitment as a social worker is to the empowerment of individuals, families, groups, and communities. She has experience working with adults and children on the Autism spectrum, coordinating social skills groups for adults and children with ASD, and facilitating support groups.

Johanna is a Social Work educator and field supervisor at both the University of Tasmania and Flinders University. She currently runs day retreats for carers, professionals, and adults on the Spectrum to take time out to explore their values, learn self-compassion and gain ACT skills which they can use in their daily life.

Toni Hanna

Toni Hanna is an Accredited Mental health and Clinical social worker based in rural SA. Her practice is The Sisterhood for Wellbeing – a feminist and intersectional practice for women and children. She has been a social worker since 1995 and has worked in challenging and diverse settings – building a wide knowledge base and skill set. She has been using ACT since 2009 and is experienced in delivering services to clients struggling with anxiety, depression, and trauma among other issues.

Toni is on the board of ANZ ACBS - 'the home of ACT'. She has also served on the board for the Social Work special interest group within ACBS internationally. She has presented at ANZ ACBS conferences and had a joint workshop accepted for an international ACBS conference. Toni has also been involved in developing the ACT guidelines for use in Australia.

Toni has a passion for working with neurodivergent clients of all ages and has established a neuro-affirming group The Acceptance Project. This ACT based group is grounded in theories such as double empathy – and is now into its 3rd year providing support and acceptance to its participants.

Toni is the mother of 2 teens, one of whom is neurodivergent and gender diverse - the most wonderful teachers, although she does spend a lot of her spare time trying to understand Gen Z memes.

Location and date

Live online: a Zoom link will be emailed to you prior to the workshop
24 & 31 January 2023
10.00am–1.00pm AEDT


Members: $440.00 (including GST)
New graduates, retired and student members: $390.00 (including GST)
Non-members: $495.00 (including GST)


Registrations have closed for this event. Please add your name to the waitlist to be notified of future sessions.

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Click submit on the right-hand side of this page to register.

Registrations close on 23 January 2023 at midnight AEDT.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers