I believe society would be less without neurodiversity. As an active ally of the community, I work to increase understanding, improve services, and broaden opportunities for all neurodivergent individuals.”
- Hannah Hayward
all parts of society
About Hannah Hayward (She/Her)
Hannah Hayward BSc (Hons), MSc has dedicated herself to researching neurodivergence, her clinical work and tirelessly advocates for increased public understanding of autistic girls and women, 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 adults, adolescents, and children. She sees individuals and their families both privately and through her ongoing work across several NHS Trusts and clinics within the UK. She is also writing 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 and subtle presentations in autistic individuals.
Individuals and loved ones seeking to understand and support neurodivergent individuals, or would like private, professional support or advice.
Who does Hannah work with?
Anyone seeking a clinical diagnosis of neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism and ADHD.
Individuals and loved ones seeking to understand and support neurodivergent individuals, in need of private, professional support or advice.
Organisations wishing to educate staff on autism, ADHD or matters that affect the neurodivergent community through talks, workshops, or bespoke training (Hannah can tailor sessions to focus on females or forensic issues), to better understand and serve neurodivergent individuals and groups.
Fellow researchers, healthcare professionals and campaigners working to understand and raise awareness of autism and ADHD.
I have always been aware of the existence of a male bias in the recognition and treatment of both psychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions. However, it was in 2006 whilst working on the outreach team in greater Manchester, as key worker to three autistic women with additional complex needs, that I truly realised the depth of misconception and lack of understanding surrounding ASC and females. I have since been committed to developing this research field and serving this often - overlooked community.
- Hannah Hayward -
Diagnosis with Hannah Hayward
A clinical diagnosis of autism or ADHD can help individuals in many 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 insight into their world and an 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 with autistic people for over a decade, Hannah is fully accredited and highly experienced in delivering gold standard ADI-R and ADOS for diagnosis of adults, adolescents, and children. She sees individuals and their families/partners both privately and through her ongoing work with several NHS Trusts across the UK. Hannah started her clinical career at the Maudsley NHS Hospital; a leading, specialist autism diagnostic centre.
Hannah has also recently completed training with Dr John Biddulph on ‘Making Sense of Senses’ and will be integrating this increased appreciation, understanding and inclusion of sensory differences in all her future work in assessment, support, consultations, and psychoeducation. Hannah firmly believes that how an individual perceives the world through their sensory experiences, strongly underpins the many strengths, and challenges they may face day to day. We, as clinicians and advocates, need to better understand and profile these in order to empower neurodivergent individuals to feel more in control of their environment, and indeed reach their potential.
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 trainer and facilitator specialising in autism/ADHD within the criminal justice and autistic girls and women. She provides both bespoke and gold standard training programmes to allow those working in the community, the NHS, the public and private sectors, and the criminal justice system to identify and better support neurodivergent people and those with additional and complex needs.
Hannah has been delivering psycho-educational workshops focused on neurodivergence with male and female offenders across UK prisons since 2012. Having been part of a successful bid for government funding in 2018, she spent two years working alongside St. Giles Trust to specifically improve service provision for women with mental health and complex support needs within the UK Criminal Justice System. As part of this funding, Hannah delivered specialist training around autism and ADHD 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. In 2017 research, R Loomes calculated it as low as 3: 1 for male to female diagnosis, indicating a clear diagnostic biological sex bias.
Autistic females are more likely to have symptoms which go unnoticed and commonly internalise behaviours which can manifest in challenging ways for the person and those around them, such as extreme anxiety and depression, and sometimes this can also be externalised with self-harming behaviours. Fortunately, we are in changing times with a growing acknowledgement and acceptance for girls, women, and non-binary individuals to look and be experienced differently.
Hannah’s ongoing PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London, explores how we might attain a better understanding of biological sex differences and similarities in the clinical manifestation of autistic traits. She hopes this will be part of a movement towards a clearer and more individualised identification of autistic individuals. thus, improving the quality of life for them and those close to them. Within her work and research, Hannah has seen an increased need for understanding the distinct separate of gender (the social construct) and sex (the biological construct) when assessing, supporting, and understanding a neurodivergent person. Whilst current diagnostic tools may take time to update, Hannah believes we can bring this knowledge with opening dialogue and enlightening professionals.
Hannah spent 3 years working with St. Giles Trust to improve service provision for women with mental health and complex support needs in UK’s Criminal Justice System—a project which helped 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 autistic girls and women or non-binary individuals with Hannah, please do get in touch
Latest news & media
What is Autism (ASC)?
Autism spectrum condition (ASC), or autism is a complex, lifelong developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. It can, however, also include many other aspects including sensory processing (both sensitivities and aversions), mental health challenges, specialist interests and many strengths (attention to detail, honesty and reliability, logical thinking, respect of rules, a drive for order, a fresh approach to problem solving amongst many more.
Signs typically appear during early childhood and although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviours, it is a “spectrum condition” that affects all individuals in different ways and to varying degrees. No one autistic person experiences life the same which can make it a complex condition to sensitively identify and support well.
Hannah's aim to increase understanding and inclusion :
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 community, clinical and Criminal Justice System settings, promoting increased awareness and understanding of autism and ADHD for professionals working at each step of the pathway.
Hannah is a panellist and public speaker discussing autistic females and barriers to diagnosis for these groups. She encourages people to explore all possibilities and options for support when starting their own journey.
Hannah spoke at the British Science Festival in Coventry in 2013 on as part of the discussion panel - Autism: the lost girls.
Hannah takes part in several podcasts, online discussions and blog articles related to issues currently facing all autistic individuals. Please see the ‘News and Media’ section for her most recent events and engagement.
Any reasons to be optimistic?
The better we understand how neurodivergence affects each person differently, particularly females and non-binary individuals, the better we can support those affected to enjoy long, healthy, happy lives. There’s so much to celebrate within neurodiversity and many, many autistic individuals live full lives, with families, careers, children, partners, and love.
The best we can do to empower and support all individuals is if clinicians, specialists, and the general public work to understand and include everyone and show a desire to better understand everyone living within the community.
Why do we care?
The consequences of lack of understanding and support of the neurodivergent individuals, families and communities affects so many people (prevalence rates thought to be around 1 in 100 in Europe).
Anxiety and depression are the highest rates of co-occurring mental health conditions and many autistic individuals (and those diagnosed with ADHD) often experience the additional challenges of living in a society which treats them differently; unfortunately, stigmas and prejudice remain, and employment rates are low among the neurodivergent community. It is for these reasons, that it is vital we put more into funding, resources, facilitation, public conversations, and online forums to focus less on difference, and more on inclusion and acceptance.