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Libra Distinguished Lecture Series presents Haley Moss

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will present Haley Moss, neurodiversity expert and the first openly autistic lawyer in Florida, as a 2023-2024 Libra Distinguished Lecture Series speaker on Tuesday, April 9 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. Moss will deliver a talk titled Neurodiversity: Leveling Up Our Perspective. Her talk serves as the keynote address for UMPI’s 21st Annual University Day—the theme of this year’s University Day and the 2023-2024 Libra Distinguished Lecturer Series is Defying Expectations. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Moss will offer a deeper understanding of neurodiversity—including through the lens of her own experiences—and unpack the nuances of navigating disclosure, advocating for ourselves and others, and building accessibility into our understanding of “inclusion.”

“No two brains are the same. An estimated 1 in 7 people are neurodivergent, including those with autism, ADHD, mental health disabilities, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities or acquired brain differences,” Moss stated. “Given this prevalence, why are conversations around neurodiversity nonetheless so difficult, especially in the context of broader discussions about disabilities?”

During her talk, Moss aims to answer that question and cover several other items, including:

    • recognizing and explaining disability’s absence from D & I conversations,
    • challenging our own experiences with ableism and stereotyping on the basis of disability,
    • providing guidance on how to be a strong advocate and ally for neurodivergent colleagues, and
    • sharing advice for those who discover through this programming that they may be neurodivergent.

Participants should expect “lightbulb moments” and to leave feeling more empowered to tackle stigma.

Diagnosed with autism at the age of three, Moss’s parents were told that she might not ever finish high school or earn a driver’s license. Today she is a lawyer, neurodiversity expert, keynote speaker, educator, and the author of four books that guide neurodivergent individuals through professional and personal challenges. Moss is a consultant to top corporations and nonprofits that seek her guidance in creating a diverse workplace, and a sought-after commentator on disability rights and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The first openly autistic lawyer in Florida, Moss’s books include Great Minds Think Differently: Neurodiversity for Lawyers and Other Professionals (ABA Book Publishing; June 2021), The Young Autistic Adult’s Independence Handbook (Jessica Kingsley Publishers; November 2021), A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders (Jessica Kingsley Publishers; October 2014), and Middle School — The Stuff Nobody Tells You About: A Teenage Girl With High-Functioning Autism Shares Her Experiences (AAPC Publishing; March 2010). Her articles have appeared in outlets including the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, GQ, Bustle, Fast Company, Law 360 Pulse, and the ABA Journal.

Moss earned her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law with numerous honors. Admitted to the Florida Bar in 2019, she is the recipient of awards including the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division’s Breaking Barriers Award (2021), D-30 Disability Impact List (2021), Road Less Traveled Award from Ms. JD (2020), Outstanding Self-Advocate Award from University of Miami — Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (2018), and Publix Self-Advocate of the Year from the Palm Beach County Special Needs Advisory Coalition (2018).

The University’s Libra Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1999. Each year, the LDLS Committee sponsors four to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics, it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.

UMPI welcomes the campus and community to hear Moss speak on April 9. For more information about Moss, see her official website. For more information about this event or to get the Zoom link, contact Angelita Hernandez at 207-768- 9593 or email angelita.hernandez@maine.edu.