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Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt smiling headshot

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt is a writer, actress, and advocate for disability and autism representation in the entertainment industry. She is also an alumna of RespectAbility’s Summer Lab Program for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. As an Entertainment Media Communications Fellow with RespectAbility, she consults on multiple projects with studios such as Disney and Netflix. Rigelhaupt reads scripts, watches clips, and speaks about her own experiences as a female on the spectrum, ensuring authentic autism, disability, and diversity representation.

Rigelhaupt graduated in the class of 2020 from Sarah Lawrence College (NY) with a Bachelor’s degree. In 2017, she took a risk, taking a gap year from college and becoming a founding member of a new neurodiverse theatre company, Spectrum Theatre Ensemble, in Rhode Island. During that time, she was also a neurodiverse intern with Trinity Repertory Company helping create their first sensory friendly season. (Sensory Friendly performances are accessible to patrons with Autism or PTSD, who might have sensory sensitivities). She was invited to speak on her first panel at the Theatre Communication Group’s National conference about being a neurodiverse artist. During Rigelhaupt’s senior year at Sarah Lawrence, she was the college’s Ruderman Family Foundation Inclusion Ambassador and worked with Hillel and the theatre department to produce the school’s first sensory friendly performance, along with moderating a panel of industry professionals to discuss accessibility in entertainment. Rigelhaupt speaks on disability and diversity panels and publishes articles discussing topics such as: autism, accessibility, being a Chinese adoptee, and studying abroad in Italy as an autistic college student. Rigelhaupt wants to write for TV or film (and continue her love of acting), working with entertainment companies and professionals to create more opportunities and representation for diverse people with disabilities in the entertainment industry.

About RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Comprised of diverse people with disabilities, RespectAbility’s entertainment media consultants partner with studios, production companies, writers’ rooms and news organizations to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. Learn more about the team.

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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