About Helen

Email me at hrotti2@uic.edu.

Connect with me on Twitter or ResearchGate, or feel free to leave a comment here!

selfie of Helen, a young white woman with short blond hair who is smiling into the camera. Helen has rainbow glasses and is wearing a white collared shirt, a black suit jacket, and silver earrings

I am a multiply disabled, neurodivergent graduate student in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I am also a research assistant in the Institute on Disability and Human Development and a teaching assistant in the Department of Disability and Human Development at UIC, an alum of the Illinois LEND program, and a collaborating researcher in the Gernsbacher Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

My research is focused on academic ableism, access, and the experiences of disabled/autistic/neurodivergent students and scholars. I’m invested in participatory and emancipatory research methods and community knowledge production, especially autistic and disabled knowledge production, outside of academia. I am also fascinated by autism and gender, novel mentoring models for disabled students and young professionals, and exploring digital/online spaces of disability identity, culture, and activism, especially #AutisticTwitter and #DisabilityTwitter.

I present guest lectures, webinars, and other workshops on any or all of the topics listed above, on my own experiences as a disabled graduate student, and on core concepts in disability studies, including models of disability and neurodiversity. I present for free for other teaching assistants, adjuct and contingent faculty, and small community organizations given enough notice. If you want to book me, you can email me with the information and request.

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!). I am originally from Madison, where I grew up with my parents and four younger siblings.

Follow me on Twitter for blog updates, dessert photos, and tweets on #AcademicAbleism, disability and autistic activism, and General Hospital.

You can support my research, writing, and activism by sharing my content or supporting me at the following links.