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Web-Based Conferences

Our online web conferences seek to make information, advice and support widely available to anyone in need during this period. 
These conferences are available at a low cost, with discounts available for families, associates of Studio 3 and groups. They are hosted on the Zoom webinar system and will consist of a maximum of three speakers in one day. Each talk will last up to an hour, with time allowed for live discussion and the opportunity to ask questions.

Please note that block bookings are available for a discounted subscriber fee. To discuss multiple or group bookings, contact us directly at

Check back shortly for our 2024 schedule!

Upcoming Web Conferences

Making Sense of a Chaotic World: Brain, Body, and Beyond

Thursday 24th October 2024, 5.30pm UK Time (BST)

Interoception, the Predictive Brain, and Low Arousal Strategies for Navigating Distress and Trauma

Join Studio 3 for a live online web conference on Thursday 24th October, 2024. This is open to parents, carers, individuals with lived experiences, practitioners, and professionals in the field of psychology, autism, and mental health. This web conference will feature a series of talks from autism expert and public speaker Peter Vermeulen, interoception experts and Occupational Therapists, Kelly Mahler and Rachael Thompson, and originator of the Low Arousal Approach, Professor Andrew McDonnell. The aim of this event is to share information and ideas to enable professionals and families alike to better support distressed children and adults, who often experience the world as a chaotic and unpredictable place.


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Peter Vermeulen on The Predictive Brain: Making the World Safe and Predictable

In this presentation, Peter will focus on the pivotal role of uncertainty in autism, and why giving predictability and clarity can help to make autistic people feel more safe. Peter will blend recent advances in neuroscience with why our brains prefer predictability, and provide core strategies that supporters and family members can implement in practice to create calm and regulated environments.

About Peter Vermeulen

MSc and PhD in Psychology and Educational Sciences. Peter has worked with people with ASD and their families for more than 30 years. He is the founder of “Autism in Context”, where autism is understood in context. As a Senior lecturer at Autisme Centraal, a training and education centre for autism spectrum disorders, Peter is also an internationally respected lecturer/trainer and he presents all over Europe and beyond. Peter has written more than 15 books and several articles on autism.

Kelly Mahler and Rachael Thompson on Interoception: Making Sense of our Own Bodies

In this presentation, Kelly and Rachael will discuss what interoception is and why it is important. The presentation will consider the differences in how individuals experience interoception, and how predictive coding can influence this. This will form the foundation of a deeper discussion regarding the nature of predictive coding, interoceptive perception and how this links with experience, emotion, language, self, and co-regulation. The presentation will conclude with 3 strategies/ concepts to take away that can be applied in practice. 


This presentation will facilitate the audience’s ability to:

  • Describe interoception and why it is important.

  • Evaluate how predictive coding can influence interoceptive experience.

  • Identify strategies to support individuals that experience interoceptive processing differences.

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About Kelly Mahler

OTD, OTR/L. Kelly is passionate person that loves to crunch pinecones, cuddle with her 2 Corgi puppies and cook (sometimes poorly) with her family. She earned a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Misericordia University, Dallas, PA and has been an occupational therapist for 21 years, serving school-aged children and adults. Kelly is winner of multiple awards including the 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association Emerging and Innovative Practice Award & a Mom’s Choice Gold Medal. She is an international speaker and enjoys presenting on topics related to the twelve resources she’s authored including The Interoception Curriculum: A Step-by-Step Framework for Developing Mindful Self-Regulation-used in over 30 countries worldwide.

About Rachael Thompson

BSc, PGCE with QTS, MSc Occupational Therapy, PGCert Sensory Integration. Rachael has worked at independent specialist colleges and schools in the UK for over 10 years in roles including Tutor, Occupational Therapist, Head of Education, and Vice Principal. Rachael recently co-founded a small independent specialist school in the UK. As an autistic individual and Occupational Therapist, Rachael utilizes personal and professional experience alongside the latest research to explore sensory processing differences and specifically how sensory processing differences can impact health, well-being, and quality of life.

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Professor Andrew McDonnell on Supporting People through Distress and Trauma: The Low Arousal Approach

In this presentation, Professor Andrew McDonnell will tie together the learning from Kelly and Rachael’s talk on interoception, and Peter’s insights into the predictive brain. He will share practical methods based on a Low Arousal model for reducing stress and create calm and safe environments for individuals who may experience extreme distress and trauma.

About Professor Andrew McDonnell

BSc., MSc., PhD. Consultant Clinical Psychologist to and Director of Studio III Clinical Services; Director, clinical consultant and Team Leader to Studio III Training; formerly worked as a Clinical Psychologist in the NHS until 2002 as the manager of a service. Andrew has particular interest in the design of community settings for people who challenge. He has extensive experience of working with service users with a learning disability and/or autism who self harm. He has written several books on the Low Arousal Approach, and is a passionate campaigner for the elimination of restrictive practices in the care sector, such as restraint and seclusion. 

Sign Up Now!

Follow the link below to register for this live web event! Please note that the Early Bird rate will run until 12th July 2024; thereafter the full rate will apply. 

Past Web Conferences

'Creating a Restraint-Free Culture'

The Studio 3 organisation are world leaders in applying the Low Arousal Approach to create restriction-free and empowered lives for the people we support. A hotly contested debate is about the use of coercive strategies such as physical restraint and seclusion. The last 20 years has witnessed a consensus in many fields that restrictive practices must be reduced. This conference argued that we are setting the bar too low, and that our goal should to eradicate and eliminate restraint and seclusion from all care environments.



Professor Andrew McDonnell on Dare to Dream: Restraint and Seclusion Eradication, The True Goal 

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Gareth Morewood on Making Restraint and Seclusion a Thing of the Past in Education

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Rebecca Fish on The Gender Gap: Listening to and Learning from Women’s Experiences of Restraint

'Are We Asking the Right Questions About Behaviour?'

Whilst there can be no doubt that behavioural psychology has had a significant impact on the lives of people with a variety of different conditions, the last 20 years has seen a narrative of behaviour support which can be regarded as formulaic and, in some circumstances, dogmatic. This event will focused changing the conversation from the behaviour of individuals to a shared understanding that all successful interventions require positive relationship building, reframing the debate.



Professor Andrew McDonnell on A Behaviourist in Recovery: Reflections on the Behaviour Support Industrial Complex 

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Gareth Morewood on Seeing the Distress, Not the Behaviour: An Educationalist’s Perspective


Damian Milton on ABA and the Autistic Community:

Time to Listen

Learning From Lockdown: Imagining the Future

Life has changed for many of us, for better or for worse. Crucially, it has had a massive impact on the lives of children with intellectual disabilities, autism, and other additional needs, as well as how they are supported by staff, parents and carers. This event looked at questions that have arisen around supporting children and young people during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how we can use that information moving forward to better support our young people.

  • Andrew Smith on Personal Reflections on Lockdown

  • Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou on Research on Lockdown and Autism

  • Gareth Morewood on Low Arousal and Lockdown

  • Submissions from Children and Young People on their experiences of lockdown

  • Panel of Parents and Carers on Imagining the Future After Lockdown

'Managing the Stress Response: An Individualised Approach'

Recent advances in our knowledge about stress and coping strategies will be presented and applied by leading experts in the field. The aim of this web conference was to provide a balance between our academic knowledge about the biological mechanisms of stress and the practical applications of an individualised stress response.

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In Partnership with Scottish Autism


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Charlene Tait, Deputy CEO of Scottish Autism, will led the panel of speakers and facilitate discussions around stress management. Charlene has worked in the field of autism for thirty years. In that time she has been engaged in direct practice and service development. She was lecturer and Course Director in Postgraduate Autism studies at the University of Strathclyde and has been involved in a number of national strategic initiatives.


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Professor Mark Wetherell on Identifying Differences in the Caregiver Experience: Opportunities for More Individualised Interventions. Mark is a Professor of Psychobiology at Northumbria University, Newcastle. Mark is a specialist in the psychobiological causes and consequences of stress, how stress gets inside the body and why it has different effects on different people. 

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Dr Daniel Rippon on The Causes of and Protective Factors Against Work-Related Stress in Healthcare Professions. Daniel is a lecturer at Northumbria University, Newcastle, who recently published a grounded theory study on work-related stress in care givers. 

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Bo Hejlskov Elvén on Developing Low Arousal Coping Responses in Families and Carers. Bo is a clinical psychologist based in Scandinavia who provides guidance and lectures on supporting children and adults with behaviours of concern. 

'Interoception: Making Sense of the Internal and External World'

We take for granted that our human brain is complex. How we process information is only beginning to be understood by researchers. In a range of different conditions - ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), Intellectual Disabilities (ID), complex trauma Dementia – there is a common theme that people become overwhelmed by information, both externally and internally. These leading practitioners will provide a perspective on how we can help people make the world more predictable and safe.



Professor Andrew McDonnell

Originator of the Low Arousal Approach spoke about 'Going with the Flow: Coping with the Stress of Chaos'


Peter Vermeulen

Founder of 'Autism in Context' Peter Vermeulen spoke about 'Exteroception: Predictive Mind, Uncertainty and Being Overwhelmed by the External World'.

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Kelly Mahler

Kelly has been an occupational therapist for 17 years, serving school-aged children and adults. Kelly is currently involved in several research projects pertaining to interoception. She spoke about 'Interoception, The Eighth Sense: Decreasing Internal Uncertainty' 

'Trauma Awareness: A 360° Approach'

The third in a series of live, web-based conferences focused on what trauma awareness really means in practice, and how to support traumatised individuals - particularly those who suffer from extreme distress.

The key message of this event was that trauma awareness must be practised as a systemic approach. Many of the children and adults who require supports have had a history of complex trauma. We often underestimate the impact that this can have on individuals throughout their entire lives. This web conference focused on a range of perspectives from expert speakers who focus on what can be described as trauma awareness, with the aim of providing participants with a positive outlook about working with trauma.


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Dr. John McDermott: 'Trauma-Informed Perspectives on Autism'


Jamie Emberson: 'My Personal and Professional Reflective Journey'

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Ruth Whiteside: 'Why We all Need Emotional Intelligence -  Especially If We're Stressed!' 

'Supporting Children and Young People Using a Well-being Approach'

The second in a series of live, web-based conferences focused on supporting children and young people at home and at school to lead happy and flourishing lives. These web conferences are a continuation of our efforts to share information and ideas despite restrictions caused by the global pandemic.


Well-being frameworks focus on positive and constructive approaches to building resilience in young people. This web conference aimed to provide a pathway for people who want to apply this model to even the most distressed individuals. This included a strong person-centred emphasis balanced with practical advice for all participants. The event was inclusive, and open to educational staff, families, and other professional groups. The full day event consisted of three presentations followed by an interactive discussion.


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David has over 25 years of experience working with children and young people with distressed and complex behaviour, including self-injurious behaviour and self-harm. David also supports the families and carers of these children, and specialises in therapeutically-led placements for children in care. David spoke about supporting children who self-harm.

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Gareth has 25 years of experience working in U.K. schools, and has extensive ‘front-line’ experience supporting schools, families and working directly with young people in the U.K. and abroad - most recently Chile, Dubai, Portugal, Scandinavia and Ireland. Gareth spoke about creating thriving learning environments.

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Pooky has a PhD in child mental health from the Institute of Psychiatry, is the author of six books and is the current Chair of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition. She's also a Mum of two who works hard every day to win her own battles against PTSD, anorexia, self-harm and depression. Pooky spoke about supporting a safe return to school using the SWAN framework.

'Making Sense of a VUCA World: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous'

The first in our series of live, web-based conferences took place on the week our International 'Fostering Hope and Optimism' Conference was scheduled in Ireland in May 2020. Due to having to cancel this event due to Covid-19, we decided to host an online conference in its stead to continue to share information and ideas despite the current restrictions across the globe.


VUCA is an acronym which originated at a US Army War college to describe the post-war environment. Psychologists have applied the same principles to individuals who are highly distressed, and often see the world as a chaotic and unpredictable place. In light of the Covid-19 crisis, the principles of VUCA apply to the uncertain environments professionals, families, and individuals alike now find themselves in.


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Professor Andrew McDonnell on Coping with the Stress of an Uncertain World

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Peter Vermeulen on the Autistic Brain: Absolute Thinking in a Relative World

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Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm Ireland, on Making the World Less Chaotic: Building an Autism Friendly Society

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