[Summit Preview] A very creative way to make friends, with Paul Micallef

How did autistic engineer and advocate Paul Micallef go from "boring, shy and awkward" to being invited to parties as a teen?

Paul shares that for him, the experience of being included was much more powerful than learning social skills conceptually.

Take a listen to the very creative way Paul found his new friends.

If you enjoyed this preview of the Bright & Quirky Child Summit, be sure to save your seat for this free event, before we begin on April 4th!


  1. Robyn on March 23, 2022 at 3:51 am

    First, Debbie, I love when you include autistic people as the experts you interview! Second, this is fascinating and I can’t wait to hear the rest of what Paul has to say. My child definitely does better when the “why” is explained to her.

  2. Angela on March 23, 2022 at 5:58 am

    As a woman who was just diagnosed as ASD at 47 (because I have 2 Bright & Quirky kids who set my feet on this journey), what he says is the experience of many young autistic girls who “pass”. I was included enough that I learned from the inside in some of the places I lived (albeit with some outside & bullying experiences too–usually when I was new in a school). So I have learned enough to mostly pass in the work world. I do want to emphasize how exhausting a process that is for me, however, and how much extra self care I need to build in to make that work on a long term basis! The key piece of what Paul says for me is that NT’s have to be taught to include us and be part of the social skill equation for us too. I think that is a tremendous gap and I would love to hear more about how Paul is working to bridge it…My own brain has started formulating ideas. 🙂

    • Abby on March 23, 2022 at 7:26 am

      I just want to say hi! I am a 45 year old mom of two Bright &Quirky kids also and who also would have fit the category myself as a child and who is likely undiagnosed ASD and/or ADHD myself. It’s amazing how many of us there are on this journey! I’m also curious to hear more of Paul’s talk. This brought tears to my eyes because it is SPOT ON and I’m also in agreement that it can’t be all on the neurodivergent person to learn to socialize “properly” it has to go both ways. Relationships are meant to be reciprocal and it can’t be just one person doing all the work!

  3. Annelie on March 23, 2022 at 9:39 am

    So well put, thank you! If you have to struggle even to get accepted, you only develop a keener sense of not belonging, a deeper understanding of how you don’t belong.

  4. Rachel Watt SLP on March 23, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    I love this – teenagers judge peers on their outward appearance and this was Paul’s ticket to the inside! He was brave to go to those parties and it must have taken a lot of energy to study and learn the why’s and how’s of social situations.
    Thanks for the insight and inspiration – I’m looking forward to hearing more.

  5. Jessica on March 24, 2022 at 12:13 pm

    I have listened to this video several times and shared it with my husband. The fact that Paul learned social skills because he was included really speaks to me. I look forward to listening to the rest of his talk. Thank you for sharing this video!

  6. Elaine Hatfield-White on March 25, 2022 at 3:59 am

    Hey Paul, trying to imagine you with dreads- must have looked very cool!
    Great podcast/webinar, thank you for explaining about the gap that often people miss with us and our social education/development.
    It has been my mission to talk about this and work to empower other neurodiverse adults to understand themselves and others through social autopsies!
    I agree with you being immersed and generalising skills learnt are the keys to success and you are right it is often getting included that is the hard part. thanks, keep up the good workyou do.
    I am now in UK and carrying on the good campaign!
    Kind Regards

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