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Pierre Violland is an autistic peer support specialist, following a drastic life change after a long career as an engineer in the mechanical industry. Through his participation in AIMS-2-TRIALS as an autism representative, he discovered the meaningfulness of participatory research. He has held for several years the role of moderator in a large French speaking autism community. Now he focuses on providing direct support to autistic people and their families. He also contributes with several stakeholders to improving access to jobs for autistic adults in Switzerland.

Personal statement:
The idea of a network gathering a wide diversity of stakeholders, competences and backgrounds towards a common goal is truly exciting. The field of autism needs such bold moves, and I am happy to support this growing network with everything I learnt from autism and my past experiences.

Heta Pukki is autistic and partially sighted, as well as mother, family member or close friend of several autistic and otherwise neurologically different people, some of them disabled and some not. Her background is in biology and special education with a focus on autistic adults. She has been involved in developing peer support, advocacy, networks and organisations for autistic people since the late 1990s, in her home country Finland and internationally, in a variety of volunteer and professional roles involving NGO work, project coordination, training and translation of professional literature. She is currently working in a project that develops peer training of digital skills to people with various disabilities.

Anjuli Ghosh is a final year medical student, studying at the Faculty Mannheim of the University of Heidelberg, Germany.  She is also part of the steering committee of the Autism Representatives of AIMS-2-Trials, the Early Career Researcher Autism Network, and the participatory autism research forum Heureka of the Ludwigs-Maximilian University in Munich. She is currently conducting a meta-analysis about neurophysiological alterations during sensory processing in autism at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim.

Personal statement

I have joined the committee to make neurotechnologies usable in practice and be of real benefit for the daily lives of neurodivergent children. I am convinced that the multi-disciplinary approach has the opportunity to make a big impact and I would like to help shape the network by including my personal experience and knowledge. 

Síofra Heraty is a neurodivergent early career researcher with an interest in participatory research methods, the ethics of autism research, and positive outcomes for neurodivergent people. She is currently an assistant psychologist with the Irish Health Service Executive. She is also a moderator and founding member of Autistic Autism Researchers Ireland, a community which aims to help place autistic autism researchers in contact with each other and to share projects and grant proposals which may be of interest to those with similar values.  Siofra Heraty is also a visiting researcher at Birkbeck, University of London, on for AIMS-2-TRIALS working on strategic ethics.

Sarah Douglas is an autism study advisor who has contributed to much-needed areas of research such as education, self-harm, suicidality, anxiety, intimate partner violence and sexual assault. She is an Autism Representative on the AIMS2TRIALS Consortium and has recently become a published co-author of the book Understanding Autistic Relationships Across the Lifespan. Sarah also currently volunteers for SARSAS, supporting survivors of sexual abuse of all genders, and is a member of their Autism and ID Advisory Group.

Personal statement:

As a neurodivergent person who believes that every brain is valid, I am honoured to be involved with the RESPECT 4 Neurodevelopment Network, an organisation that genuinely underpins its aims and work with an affirmative neurodiversity paradigm ethos.

Mary Doherty is an autistic consultant anaesthetist based in Ireland, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at Brighton & Sussex Medical School, PhD student at London South Bank University, and mother of 2 neurodivergent young people. She is founder of Autistic Doctors International (ADI) and Autistic Med Students (AMS) which are dedicated to peer support, advocacy, research, and training.


Her research interests include healthcare for autistic adults and the experiences of autistic medical students and doctors. Her current doctoral research focuses on the experiences & perspectives of autistic psychiatrists. She is a member of the AIMS-2-Trials Autism Representatives Steering Committee where she encourages researchers to adopt a neurodiversity affirmative approach to autism research.