Please join us for the launch of Growing in to Autism by Professor Sandra Thom-Jones. 

Part personal, funny, endearing and enlightening memoir, and part rigorous explication of the nature of autism, Growing in to Autism is a book for all people, memorably conveying the need for better understanding and ways of making space for a group of individuals in our society who have so much to offer. 

Tuesday 30th August 2022 | 5:30pm – 7:30pm 

Please note there has been a change to the venue. The new venue is:

Australian Catholic University
115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Mercy Lecture Theatre
Building 404, Ground floor, Room 404.G.09

4:30pm - 6:00pm

The venue will be open to attendees from 4:30pm. We will have displays for attendees to view, including: Autism research findings (in accessible formats), student research displays, and stalls from autistic-led organisations. Attendees can view the displays, interact with stallholders and other attendees, or relax in the quiet room.

The publisher (Melbourne University Press) will be on site selling copies of the book. 

Drinks and food will be available from 5:30pm.

6:00pm - 6:30pm

The official proceedings will start at 6:00pm and last for approximately 30 minutes. There will be a series of short talks by representatives of the university and the publisher, and then Sandra will speak briefly about the book.

6:30pm - 7:30pm

From 6:30pm attendees will be able to have their book signed, view the displays, interact with our stalls or mingle with other attendees.

Please RSVP by Tuesday 23rd August 2022

Register now

Growing in to Autism

What's it like to realise you're autistic? And how do you start to ask the world around you to accept that?

From the outside looking in, Sandra Thom-Jones was living a successful life: she had a great career, a beautiful home, a caring husband, two loving sons and supportive friends. But from the inside looking out, she was struggling to make sense of her place in the world, constantly feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, and convinced that her challenges with daily life just meant that she had to try harder. In Growing In to Autism, Thom-Jones tells the story of gradually realizing that she was autistic, and that she experienced the world in ways which were markedly different from neurotypical people. This was a profound awakening - throughout her life she had been masking her true self and this effort had come at great physical, mental and emotional cost. Applying her skills as an experienced and expert researcher, Thom-Jones delved into the literature on autism in adults, learning much more than she already knew as a parent of two autistic boys. 

Following the launch copies of the book will be available for purchase. 

You can also pre-order the paperback here or the e-book here from the publisher, Melbourne University Press.

Professor Sandra Thom-Jones

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Impact)

Professor Sandra Thom-Jones is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Impact) at Australian Catholic University. She provides leadership, advice and support for research engagement and impact across the university’s research areas. Sandra also leads the Autism at ACU research program. She has undertaken numerous research projects­ in partnership with the autistic community on the experiences of autistic people and the knowledge and attitudes towards autism in the community, including research that won the Autism CRC's 2019 and 2021 awards for research translation. Her research includes a 12-month reflection study on the experiences of more than thirty autistic academics from around the world. In 2018 she established ACU's Autism Inclusion Program, which aims to improve the attraction, retention and positive outcomes of autistic people in higher education. She is a passionate advocate for the inclusion of autistic people in all aspects of society.

Additional information

All efforts will be made to ensure this is a COVID safe event.

Please feel welcome to wear your face mask and to maintain social distancing if you are concerned about COVID (or require personal space).

ACU Melbourne Campus

Australian Catholic University
115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Event venue

Mercy Lecture Theatre
Building 404, Ground floor, Room 404.G.09

The nearest available parking is:

Secure Parking - ACU
115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy
VIC 3065

Entry via Young Street

Approximately a 50 meter (1min) walk to the venue.

View on Google Maps

Maximum Height 1.90m
Open 6am-10:30pm
Parking will be free between the hours of 5pm and 8pm

Online booking is unavailable but you can visit the website for more information.

The nearest parking that offers online booking is:

Wilson Parking
410 Albert St, East Melbourne
VIC 3002

Entry via Albert Street

Approximately a 300 meter (5min) walk to the venue.

View on Google Maps

Maximum Height 2.0m
Open 6am-10pm
Price from $7
This car park accepts credit card payment only

Book online here

Please check in at the registration desk on arrival to collect your name tag.

The registration desk will also be able to assist with seating arrangements, book signing and communication preferences. 

There will be reserved seating for autistic attendees. If you would prefer to reserve a seat elsewhere in the room, please ask at the registration desk at least 15 minutes prior to the event start time and they will provide you with a reserved sign which you can place on the seat of your choice. You are also welcome to take a seat in the room prior to the event commencing.


We have limited control over lighting in the venue. Please feel free to wear your sunglasses, cap and/or hoodie if this makes you more comfortable.


The sound level during the event will vary. Please feel free to wear your earplugs or headphones (including during the presentation).

Sensory map

You can access a sensory map of the venue by clicking here.

There is an allocated quiet room available for attendees. The quiet room will be available from 5pm and you are welcome to use it at any point during the event.

The room will play a live video stream of the launch. You are welcome to watch part or all of the event from this room.

Refreshments will be served in the quiet room (as well as in the main venue).


Christ Lecture Theatre
Building 404, Ground floor, Room 404.G.12 

You can access a map of the venue, including the quiet room, by clicking here.

All attendees will be welcome to attach a coloured sticker to their name tag to indicate communication preferences:

  • Pink sticker = I would love to talk to other people, please feel free to approach me.
  • No sticker = Silence is my love language, I’m here to enjoy the atmosphere.

Stickers will be available at the registration desk.

Professor Sandra Thom-Jones will be available at the event to sign copies of the book. If you purchase a copy of the book and would like to get it signed (but don’t want to stand in the queue) you can take your book to the registration desk with a post-it note with your name on it and we will organise for it to be signed and available for collection from the registration desk. A pen and post-it notes will be available at the registration desk.

ACU helpers will be available to assist during the event should people get lost or have questions. They will be identifiable by a pink beanie.

For more information please contact us via email at

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