Speaking engagements

Excerpt from a speaking engagement for Autism Awareness Australia: “Five lessons I wish I’d learned growing up autistic”, delivered at Sydney Opera House on 5th April 2018 (subtitles available).

Shortlisted for the 2023 Speaker Awards!

I am an autistic advocate, speaker, author and a former teacher (in both mainstream and specialist education), with both personal and professional insight into autism. I speak openly, frankly, yet positively, about how to build up autistic people to become the best we can be. Examples of common topics include:

  • How to recruit and retain autistic employees and enable them to perform at their best;
  • How to build up your autistic students and help them reach their potential;
  • Lessons I wish I’d learned growing up as an autistic person (particularly popular with parents);
  • Looking after the wellbeing and mental health of autistic clients, patients or service users;
  • And, following the publication of the Underdogs series, regular author visits to schools.


Examples of audiences I have spoken for:

  • Companies/corporations
  • Education conferences (including SEND conferences)
  • CAMHS/NHS conferences and teams
  • School staff teams
  • Students themselves (mainstream and specialist education)
  • National Autistic Society branches (also co-chaired the 2019 Autism and Mental Health Conference)
  • Professionals working in recruitment
  • Autism charities and parent groups
  • The UK Autism Shows, annually 2016 – present
  • The Boys’ Brigade National Conference in Belfast
  • India Autism Center conference, Kolkata
  • Six people in a leisure centre café, one of whom was there by accident
  • A sell-out audience at Sydney Opera House.


To organise a speaking engagement, please contact me via “chris [at] autisticnotweird [dot] com” (obviously use “@” and “.” – I’m just making things difficult for the spambots), or via Autistic Not Weird’s Facebook page.


High-profile testimonials:

Chris’s story is amazing and he is an incredible speaker on neurodiversity. He delivers keynotes with humour, humility and with an incredible insight that goes way beyond inspiration. If you want a neurodiverse speaker who can hold an audience in the palm of his hand and take them on a journey that leaves them more connected than before, book him.

-Jaz Ampaw-Farr, Speaker of the Year 2022

I really think you’ll soon be one of the most influential voices in the autism world.

-Travis Saunders, education consultant and autism advocate, following the Sydney Opera House event.

In terms of individual contributions to the autism world, you’re way up there.

-Dr Luke Beardon, Senior Lecturer in Autism at Sheffield Hallam University.

Can we have you back?

-Gareth Parry, CEO of Remploy UK (literally moments after I sat down at the end of my talk).


Testimonials from professionals:

The staff are all raving about your training this morning. The general consensus is that it’s the best training we’ve ever had.

-Teacher, primary school in Belfast

Thank you for speaking at our AGM. We expected you were going to be good. As it turned out, you were actually awesome.

-Managing director, Northamptonshire Autism Charity

Hearing Chris talk was the best hour of my Friday.

-Support worker (MacIntyre No Limits), Oxford

I’ve been teaching for 17 years and this was honestly the best training I’ve ever received, I wasn’t even counting down until break time!

-Teacher, primary school in Basingstoke


Testimonials from parents:

You may very well have saved my daughter’s life, and I say that with no exaggeration.

Parent online

You have profoundly changed my attitude to how I take care of my autistic child. I was so negative before now.

Parent in Milton Keynes

I don’t have to worry about my teenage son as much as I have been doing. Chris is very much like him.

-Parent in Cardiff

It’s an over-used word, but your talk was inspirational. I think our young people benefit greatly when they hear positive messages coming from someone like themselves (and, particularly, someone who isn’t their mum or dad!)

-Parent in Lewisham

Schools could really benefit from Chris delivering staff training to them.

-Parent in Cardiff


Testimonials from young people:

Hearing your advice tonight has helped me get on the right path. Thank you.

-Rhys, 16

You are good at talking.

-Elijah, 8


Again, please contact me via “chris [at] autisticnotweird [dot] com” to organise an appearance at your event. I always respond to speaking engagement requests, although please remember to check your junk mail folder. In the event that I don’t, I suspect it’s because your email has bounced: in those cases, I can also be contacted via Autistic Not Weird’s Facebook page.


Many thanks,

Chris Bonnello, BSc (hons) PGCE MA


Are you tired of characters with special needs being tokenised and based on stereotypes, or being the victims rather than the heroes? This novel series may interest you!

Underdogs, a near-future dystopia series where the heroes are teenagers with special needs, is a character-driven war story which pitches twelve people against an army of millions, balancing intense action with a deeply developed neurodiverse cast.

Book one can be found here:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Audible (audiobook version)
Review page on Goodreads

Chris Bonnello is a national and international autism speaker, available to lead talks and training sessions from the perspective of an autistic former teacher. For further information please click here (opens in new window).
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