Skip Navigation
Skip to Footer
Image of two young adults at a computer smiling

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt (she/her/hers) is a writer, consultant, actress, public speaker, and advocate for disability and autism representation in the entertainment industry.

Rigelhaupt’s most recent work is for children’s TV. She’s a writer for Spiffy Pictures/PBS’s upcoming animated series, “Carl the Collector.” She’s written for other popular children’s shows but can’t say what yet! (All those “connect to your inner child” acting classes paid off!) Additionally, she’s the Autistic Creative Consultant on a Broadway-bound musical How to Dance in Ohio, based on Alexandra Shiva’s HBO documentary of the same name. The musical follows seven autistic young adults as they come of age, forge connections, and prepare for a spring formal dance. Its world premiere was at Syracuse Stage September 2022.

Previously, Rigelhaupt worked with the Kennedy Center on a neurodiversity training course, and had a year-long internship with the Nickelodeon Live Action Casting team. During her senior year at Sarah Lawrence College, Rigelhaupt was chosen to be a Ruderman Family Foundation Inclusion Ambassador. As an ambassador, she produced the college’s first sensory friendly theatrical performance along with organizing and moderating a panel of NYC professionals to discuss entertainment inclusion practices. (Sensory friendly performances are made accessible to people with sensory sensitivities such as those with autism or PTSD).

Rigelhaupt started with RespectAbility through their Lab, and later worked with them as an Entertainment Media Communications Fellow. As a fellow, she became immersed in the entertainment industry through consulting with studios such as Disney and Netflix on authentic onscreen portrayals of autism, disability, and diversity.

As a consultant, Rigelhaupt reviews scripts, discusses disability tropes, edits character sketches, writes casting calls, and educates studios on best practices for hiring diverse, disabled talent.

As a speaker on RespectAbility’s Jewish Speakers Bureau and Women and Nonbinary Speakers Bureau, Rigelhaupt shares her lived experiences and expertise as a Chinese, Jewish, transracial, autistic adoptee. She has given keynotes, spoken on panels, and collaborated in writers’ rooms. Rigelhaupt publishes articles and critiques regarding disability representation in media, interviews with entertainment professionals, and her own experiences as a disabled AAPI woman.

Rigelhaupt develops stories based on her life experiences, writing scripts on the road to her screenwriting career, while keeping her eyes peeled for auditioning opportunities! She’s determined to educate and influence the entertainment industry, creating more opportunities and authentic representations for the talented and diverse disability community.


  • Sarah Lawrence College, B.A. (2020)
  • Middlebury College (Florence), Semester Abroad (2019)
  • Brown University, TheatreBridge, theatre/acting program (Summer 2014)
  • Kenyon College, Young Writers' Workshop Creative Writing Program (Summer 2013)

Request Trainers and Consultants

To receive more information and meet with a representative of RespectAbility about your training and/or event goals, please fill out the form below. You can request one of the trainers from our roster or indicate a topic of interest. We will match you with topics and trainers that meet your goals.

Our fees begin at $3,000 and go up from there depending on the trainers, format (in-person or virtual) and other considerations. This includes coordination of hiring talent, assistance with accessible event communications and marketing, tech overhead, captioning of recorded event, general operations prior to and day of event.

If you have any questions, please email Someone from our team will get back to you.

    VirtualIn Person

    Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

    Contact Us

    Mailing Address:
    43 Town & Country Drive
    Suite 119-181
    Fredericksburg, VA 22405

    Office Number: 202-517-6272


    GuideStar Platinum

    RespectAbility and The RespectAbility Report is a GuideStar Platinum Participant. Guidestar Platinum Seal
    © 2023 RespectAbility. All Rights Reserved. Site Design by Cool Gray Seven   |   Site Development by Web Symphonies   |      Sitemap

    Back to Top

    Translate »