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RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt smiling headshot

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt just graduated from Sarah Lawrence College (NY) this May with a BA. Ava has been an actor, writer, and advocate for disability and autism representation in the entertainment industry since 2017, when she became a founding member of a new neurodiverse theatre company, Spectrum Theatre Ensemble, in Rhode Island. Ava wrote and collaborated on the company’s first show, “Identity Spectrum,” about living with a disability. During that time she was a neurodiverse intern with Trinity Repertory Company to create their first complete sensory friendly season. (Sensory Friendly makes performances accessible to patrons with sensory sensitivities such as Autism or PTSD). She was also invited to speak on her first panel, at the Theatre Communication Group’s National conference about being a neurodiverse artist.

During Ava’s senior year at Sarah Lawrence, she was the college’s Ruderman Family Foundation Inclusion Ambassador and worked with the college theatre department, Hillels of Westchester, and Hillel International to produce the school’s first sensory friendly performance, along with moderating a panel of industry professionals to discuss accessibility in entertainment.

Ava has published multiple articles discussing topics such as autism, accessibility, being a Chinese adoptee, and studying abroad in Italy as an autistic college student. Ava hopes to work with entertainment companies and professionals to find and create more opportunities for diverse people with disabilities in the entertainment industry both on and off screen.

About RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau offers diverse speakers with disabilities to teach about disability inclusion; and/or to offer their expertise in an array of topics, ranging from Art and Entertainment to Entrepreneurship, Education, Finance, Law, Psychology, Religion (of many faiths) and every vocation in between. Our Speakers Bureau and its divisions are expanding. If this is of interest to you or you know a professional with a visible or nonvisible disability who might be interested, you (or she/he/they) can email Speakers@RespectAbility.org.

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher
Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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