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.
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.
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.
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.
If you would like to discuss a partnership with Hannah or invite her to speak at your organisation or event please get in touch.