Dr Mitzi Waltz has a professional and academic background in media and cultural studies. Following completion of a BA in Journalism at San Francisco State University, she worked as an editor for MacWEEK magazine. After two years she went freelance, contributing news, features and reviews to a wide variety of publications, including daily and weekly newspapers and glossy and trade press magazines. She developed a particular expertise in health and disability issues, and authored a series of books for patients and parents that were published by O’Reilly & Associates.
In 2001 she relocated to the UK to begin work on a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland, with a focus on Disability Studies. At Sunderland, she taught Journalism, Media Studies and Disability Studies from 2002-2007, and founded the MA Magazine Journalism programme. In 2007 she joined the faculty of the University of Birmingham, where she managed the campus-based Autism Studies programme. Her areas of research interest included the history of autism, the impact of media images of autism, the particular needs of minority and ‘hard to reach’ children and families, and working with people on the autism spectrum as research partners. She has also contributed to several key research projects, including the Autism Education Trust report on the state of autism education in England, and the Inclusion Development Programmes for autism released by the UK Department of Children, Schools and Families in 2009.
From 2012, she headed the MA Autism Studies programme at Sheffield Hallam University. Since her relocation to the Netherlands in 2013, she has worked as an adjunct lecturer with Sheffield Hallam’s distance learning programme, as a Senior Researcher with Hogeschool van Rotterdam and Disability Studies in Nederland, and as a freelance journalist.