Alongside Professor Simon Baron-Cohen on World Autism Awareness Day in Waterstones, Cambridge, 2013
I give talks to a wide range of audiences around the UK about what it's like to be on the autistic spectrum. My talks encourage people with autism to focus on their strengths and help neurotypical people (those that aren't autistic) to understand them better and therefore accommodate them to a greater extent. I have high functioning autism and am "sitting on the fence" between the neurotypical and autistic worlds and thus can act as an interpreter between the two. I have spoken alongside world-renowned speakers at shows, conferences, schools, workshops, panels and seminars to professionals, teachers, support assistants, mainstream and special needs schools, parents as well as children and adults on the spectrum.
I focus on the positive aspects of autism from personal experience. My talks have always been very well received (see Comments and Feedback below) and I cover a wide range of topics, from strategies to help overcome difficulties I have faced to the world of employment and most of what's in between. I also talk about how I use many of my autistic traits to my advantage.
I started speaking in 2010 and one of my first speeches was at the Burgess Autistic Trust conference on "Aspects of Communication" with speakers such as Phoebe Caldwell. I spoke about how people on the spectrum can be literal thinkers and how this impacts on daily life.
My most popular talks to date have been at the Autism Show at the ExCel in London, the NEC in Birmingham and at EventCity in Manchester. These talks have always gone exceptionally well with a large, captive audience and a queue of people keen to get their copy of my book signed!
Over the September/October 2014 period I embarked on my first UK tour. I gave 28 talks and generated a lot of very positive feedback which has educated many people in the process. See the "Comments and Feedback" section below.
If you would like me to give a talk at your conference, school, group or event please get in touch via the 'Contact Me' section.
Comments and Feedback
Cork Autism Conference, September 2017
"Thank you so much for your very inspiring, informative and thought-provoking presentation ... I know many received insights and tools which they can use to support and empower adults and children with autism and ASD."
Michéal O'Mathuna, CEO & founder, The Health Zone
More reviews available from the Cork Autism Conference 2017 on Facebook
Dennis Genius Week, Dennis Publishing Ltd, June 2016
"An amazing talk by Michael Barton, thank you so much! Hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did!"
Sinead Waugh, Digital Sales Administrator, Dennis Publishing Ltd.
"That was an awesome session!"
Amrit Gill, Client Services Manager, Dennis Publishing Ltd.
The Autism Show 2016, The NEC, Birmingham
"We travelled from Lowestoft for the show and it was worth it just to hear you speak!"
Dennis Publishing Ltd. Charity Introduction Morning, April 2016
"Hugely inspiring talk by @MichaelBarton22 a colleague at @DennisUK talking abt life with high functioning autism" Paul Hood (@PaulHood), Head of Digital of the Technology Division, Dennis Publishing Ltd.
University of the 3rd Age (U3A) Meeting, January 2016
"That was the best talk I've ever heard! I didn't want him to stop!"
U3A Member (retired nurse)
"A fantastic talk! Informative, amusing and very moving in places."
U3A Member (great-grandparent of 3-year old autistic boy)
NAS AGM 2015
"Fabulous presentation from Michael at our AGM today"
Carol Povey, Director of the NAS's Centre for Autism, National Autistic Society
Protocol Education Annual Conference 2015
"We have had many guest speakers over the years at our Company Conferences, but no one has entertained and informed in equal measure and to such a high degree as you did."
Scott Owen, Marketing Manager, Protocol Education Ltd.
The King's Academy, Middlesbrough
"I now have a much clearer understanding of how to help ASD students"
"Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!"
"I thought it was fantastic. Not only was he an excellent speaker but I feel he also gave an insight in how to teach autistic people. Very informative and definitely entertaining!"
Teachers from The King's Academy
Bonus Pastor Catholic College
"Autism is often referred to as a communication disorder, but Michael has just communicated with us in a compelling, eloquent, and gently humorous way, and I think we understand from him more about autism than we could possibly have done from listening to experts and academic luminaries, helpful and informative though such people are."
Nigel Armitstead, Educational Psychologist
NAS Surrey Branch
"You described my son perfectly!"
Mother of autistic boy
Alderwasley Hall Sixth Form Centre
"That was the best presentation I've ever seen!"
"It was very interesting, well structured and entertaining"
Dr. Joseph Simon, Chair of Chitra Sethia Autism Centre, Cambridge
Bromley College, Bromley, Kent
"It was truly inspiring. You gave us a fresh perspective ... and an optimistic view of the future that would engage the skills and talents of people with Autism."
Principal & Chief Executive, Bromley College
"You spoke so eloquently and confidently, with passion and drive. It was excellent to hear about autism and aspergers from a different perspective and the way in which you delivered your lecture was entertaining and informative."
Burgess Autistic Trust Seminar, Lewisham
"Brilliant talk! So useful - lots of practical suggestions. I will definitely try to apply some of these in school."
"Very informative showing how perceived weakness can be a strength! Thank you for your candid honesty."
"Very well presented. Lovely talk. Such an inspiration. Gave me hope for my son."
St. John's School and College, University of Sussex, Brighton
"I was one of the 200 or so people that sat in front of you on Monday the 1st September, I so enjoyed your talk, for me like so many of my colleagues, I found it transfixing, there was absolutely no space for nodding off. Your delivery was charming and the insight into autism the best I have heard so far. Thank you so much for starting our year off so well."
Lucy Howells, Enterprise and Marketing Manager, St John's School and College
The Autism Show 2014, The ExCel Centre, London
"It was worth coming to the show just to hear Michael speak!"
Mother of autistic boy, aged 12 (The boy, not the mother!)
Autism Awareness Day Event 2014, University of Surrey, Guildford
"You came across really confident, great talk. It makes you appreciate the struggles people have been through and how people can overcome autism and use it to their advantage."
Student at the University of Surrey
National Autistic Society (NAS) Conference, Belfast
(sent from Twitter)
Sussex Autism Support
"Very inspirational young man. Humorous delivery and very informative. Thank you Michael for helping us understand things through your eyes."
Parents of Autistic Children Together (PACT) Annual Conference 2013
"Michael was extremely good. He has given me a lot to think about and how to engage with people on the spectrum"
"It's given me a better insight on how people with autism perceive the world around them"
"An excellent opportunity to hear from an inspirational, young, autistic person. I feel motivated and uplifted"
Bishop Justus School, Bromley
"You were an inspiration to our students and your talk was wonderfully positive and informative!"
Autism Awareness Day Event 2013, Waterstones, Cambridge
"It was a great success, Michael is very talented and entertaining! And a great role model and awareness raiser"
Simon Baron-Cohen, FBA Professor of Developmental Psychopathology
Burgess Autistic Trust Dad's Evening
"The feedback from your session was excellent! Everyone was deeply engaged with what you had to say and you presented in a way that was interesting and entertaining. What was particularly impressive was the way in which you dealt with questions from the audience. You handled all of these with tact and confidence, in a way that encouraged further discussion."
ASD Family Service Manager
"I would just like to say how much I enjoyed Michael's talk last night and how useful I found it to get some idea of how he sees the world."
Father of autistic boy, aged 10
"This has helped me more than you can know!"
Father of autistic teenager
Autism West Midlands Annual Conference 2012
"Your talk was very funny and very inspiring and the highlight for a lot of people!"
Lea Manor High School, Luton
"I have had lots of positive comments from staff and students over the last few days. Thank you for such an inspiring and interesting talk!"
SCD Provision Manager
Riverston School, London SE12
"The feedback from both staff and students has been more positive than I could have hoped. It was our intention to provide our youngsters with autism the opportunity to hear from someone who has similar experiences to them and, for our neurotypical students, to increase their understanding and empathy for those with autism. Your clear, professional, informative and very funny presentation has achieved exactly that! At the first meeting of our Student Council the following day, the students were asking if we could have a visiting speaker every year so that everyone could understand a bit more about the student population at Riverston (their words, not mine)."
Bromley Autistic Trust Annual Conference
"I found Michael Barton's talk particularly valuable - it will help us at school to deal with our autistic pupils"
"Michael Barton was fantastic!"
"An excellent day! I really got a lot from Michael Barton"