I believe society would be less without autism. As an active ally of the neurodiverse community, I work to increase understanding, improve services and broaden opportunities for all autistic individuals, especially those most vulnerable.”
- Hannah Hayward
About Hannah Hayward
Hannah Hayward BSc (Hons), MSc has dedicated herself to autism research and tirelessly advocates for increased public understanding of women on the spectrum, and indeed the greater well-being of all those with neurodiverse conditions.
Spanning over a decade, Hannah’s extensive work in autism covers research, diagnosis, mentoring, care, training and education. She is highly experienced in delivering gold standard ADI/R and ADOS for diagnosis of both adults and children and sees patients and their families both privately and through her ongoing work with Maudsley NHS hospital; a leading, specialist autism diagnostic centre. She is completing a PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London on how we can better understand sex differences and similarities in the autism profile.
Since 2012, Hannah has been delivering ASD psycho-educational workshops with male and female offenders across London prisons. Having been part of a successful bid for government funding in early 2018, she is now partnering with St. Giles Trust to improve service provision for women with mental health and complex support needs in England’s Criminal Justice System. Hannah will deliver ASD specialist training to both staff and offenders across seven prisons nationwide, with a view to rolling out this first-of-its-kind training across other systems in the criminal justice system.
Who does Hannah work with?
Anyone seeking a clinical diagnosis of ASD
Individuals and loved ones affected by autism, in need of private, professional support or advice.
Organisations wishing to educate staff on ASD through talks, workshops or bespoke training (can tailor sessions to focus on females or forensic issues), to better understand and serve neurodiverse individuals and groups.
Fellow researchers, healthcare professionals and campaigners working to understand and raise awareness of autism.
I have always been aware of the existence of male bias in the recognition and treatment of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions. However, it was in 2006 whilst working on the outreach team in greater Manchester, as key worker to three women diagnosed with autism and additional complex needs, that I truly realised the depth of misconception and lack of understanding surrounding ASD in the female condition. I have since been committed to developing this research field and serving this overlooked community.
- Hannah Hayward -
Diagnosis with Hannah Hayward
A clinical diagnosis of ASD can help individuals in many different ways. For some, it can help them to access services and support that they previously could not, for others it can simply provide answers and a greater understanding around long-term struggles and feelings of being different. For some, it is not necessary and can be a private understanding that nobody else needs to know.
Having worked in autism for over a decade, Hannah is fully accredited and highly experienced in delivering gold standard ADI/R and ADOS for diagnosis of both adults and children. She sees patients and their families both privately and through her ongoing work with Maudsley NHS hospital; a leading, specialist autism diagnostic centre.
If you or someone you know would like to know more about the diagnostic
process and any related costs, please get in touch.
Hannah is a highly experienced ASD trainer and facilitator specialising in criminal justice and ASD in the female condition. She provides both bespoke and gold standard training programmes to allow those working in the criminal justice system to identify and better support those with ASD and additional and complex needs.
Hannah has been delivering ASD psycho-educational workshops with male and female offenders across London prisons since 2012. Having been part of a successful bid for government funding in 2018, she is now working with St. Giles Trust to improve service provision for women with mental health and complex support needs within England’s Criminal Justice System.
Hannah is delivering ASD specialist training to both staff and offenders across seven prisons nationwide, with a view to rolling out this first-of-its-kind training across other systems in the criminal justice system.
If you are interested in a training collaboration with Hannah please get in touch.
Training with Hannah Hayward
Females & Autism
The experiences of autistic women and girls are still hugely misunderstood by most and it remains more common for men and boys to receive a clinical diagnosis of autism. In 2017 research, R Loomes calculated it as low as 3 : 1 for male to female diagnosis, indicating a clear diagnostic gender bias.
Autistic females are more likely to have symptoms which go unnoticed and often internalise behaviours which can manifest in damaging ways, such as anxiety and extreme depression, and even externalise with self-harming behaviours. Fortunately, we are in changing times with a growing acknowledgement and acceptance for women to look and be experienced differently.
Hannah’s PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London, explores how we might attain a better understanding of sex differences and similarities in the autism profile so that we can move towards a clearer and more individualised identification of autism in both females and males, thus improving the quality of life for them and those close to them.
Hannah is also working with St. Giles Trust to improve service provision for women with mental health and complex support needs in England’s Criminal Justice System—a project which will help some of the most at-risk and in need women in the system. For more information on the prison project click here.
If you would like to discuss an issue related to female autism with Hannah please do get in touch.
What is Autism (ASD)?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
Signs typically appear during early childhood and although ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviours, it is a “spectrum condition” that affects all individuals differently and to varying degrees. No one person experiences autism the same which makes it a complex condition to correctly identify and support well.
Hannah's awareness work
In addition to her clinical research work, Hannah advocates for greater understanding and recognition of diagnosis in autistic females. She is also an active voice in the conversation around the complexities of autism in the context of the Criminal Justice System, promoting increased awareness and understanding of ASD for professionals working at each step of the pathway.
Hannah is a panellist and public speaker discussing autism in females and barriers to diagnosis. She encourages people to explore all possibilities and options for support when starting their own journey.
Hannah will be speaking at this year’s British Science Festival in Coventry on Friday 13 September as part of the discussion panel - Autism: the lost girls.
Any reasons to be optimistic?
The better we understand how autism affects each person differently, particularly females, the better we can support those affected to enjoy long, healthy, happy lives. There’s so much to celebrate within neurodiversity and many, many men and women with ASD do live full lives, with families, careers, children, partners and love, but this is better achieved if they are supported and understood by the people around them, including the specialists.
With increased funding for ground-breaking research, advances in therapies and interventions, and improved awareness and understanding, we are on the path to improving the well-being of all those living with autism.
Why do we care?
Autism affects so many people, both those with the condition (around 1 in 100 in Europe) and those who love them.
Anxiety and depression are the highest rates of co-occurring mental health conditions and many with autism may experience the additional challenges of living in a society which treats them differently; unfortunately, stigmas and prejudice remain, and employment rates are low among those with autism.