Hannah Hayward 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 women.
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.
Since 2012, Hannah has also been delivering ASD psycho educational workshops with male and female offenders across London prisons. Early this year she was part of a successful bid with St. Giles Trust to deliver ASD specialist training to both staff and offenders across seven prisons.
“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 part of our society”.
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 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.
Females and 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 diagnosis of autism. Loomes 2017 most recently calculated it as low as 2.5 : 1 for male to female diagnosis. 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.
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. 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.
2018 - present
ASD Specialist trainer for a nationwide female prisoner project.
2017 to present
Small group tutor on the MSc Forensic Mental Health at IOP. Guest lecturer on MSc Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences and MSc in Clinical Neuro Psychiatry on Autism Diagnoses.
2014 to present
PhD on EU-AIMS, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
2013 to present
EU-AIMS project researcher, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
Research project (Applied) to identify ASD, ADHD and learning disability in male prisoners, HM Brixton Prison.
2011 - present
Neurodevelopmental specialist diagnosing, male and female adults at the Maudsley Hospital, London.
Research project (Applied), Autism and ADHD, looking at transition from child to adult services, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
Research project (Applied), functional family therapy as an intervention for Young Offenders, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
2008 - 2016
Mentor to young people with Autism and additional needs in the university environment, University of Oxford and University College London.
Leader on a Lancaster City Council run summer play scheme for 8-11 year olds.
2008 - 2010
Research project assessing parents and siblings, University of Oxford, St. John’s College.
2007 - 2008
MSc Developmental Psychology, Lancaster University.
2007 - 2008
Pre-school assistant for learning support, Lancaster School.
2006 - 2007
Out-reach worker for females with Autism in the Greater Manchester community, National Autistic Society.
2003 - 2006
Head of training and coordinator of Nightline - listening service for students, Manchester.
2003 - 2006
BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Manchester.
St Giles Trust - Women's Prison Project
Following a successful application to the Government’s Tampon Tax Fund earlier this year, Hannah Hayward is currently working with St. Giles Trust to improve service provision for women in the Criminal Justice System in England with mental health and complex support needs. Beginning in September 2018, Hannah will deliver ASD specialist training to both staff and offenders across seven prisons nationwide.
Under European Union rules the UK government must charge VAT on women’s sanitary products. Money raised through these taxes then goes into the Tampon Tax Fund to specifically support women’s organisations. St. Giles Trust ‘Footsteps’ programme was one of only ten successful grant applications and awarded £1.1m to expand their work helping vulnerable women in the criminal justice system. Hannah has extensive experience of providing training and support in prison environments and is immensely proud to be part of this project which will help some of the most at-risk and in need women in the system.
2018 Needs of adolescents and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders: comparisons of young people and parent perspectives / Eklund, H. , Findon, J. , Cadman, T. , Hayward, H.
2017 Characteristics of prisoners with intellectual disabilities / Chaplin, E. , McCarthy, J. , Underwood, L., Forrester, A. , Hayward, H.
2017 The EU-AIMS Longitudinal European Autism Project (LEAP): clinical characterisation / Tony Charman, Eva Loth, Daisy Crawley, Simon Baron-Cohen, Bhismadev Chakrabarti, Hannah Hayward, Declan G Murphy, Jan K. Buitelaar, Caroline Wooldridge
2016 Clinical service use as people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder transition into adolescence and adulthood: a prospective longitudinal study / Hanna Eklund, Tim Cadman, James Findon, Hannah Hayward
2016 Screening for co‐occurring conditions in adults with autism spectrum disorder using the strengths and difficulties questionnaire: a pilot study / James Findon, Tim Cadman, Catherine S. Stewart, Emma Louise Woodhouse, Hanna Eklund, Hannah Hayward
2016 Does sex influence the diagnostic evaluation of autism spectrum disorder in adults? / C. Ellie Wilson, Clodagh M. Murphy, Grainne McAlonan, Dene M. Robertson, Debbie Spain, Hannah Hayward, Emma Louise Woodhouse
2016 Predicting the diagnosis of autism in adults using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire / Karen Ashwood, Nicola Gillan, Jamie Horder, Hannah Hayward, Emma Louise Woodhouse
2016 Six-year follow-up study of combined type ADHD from childhood to young adulthood: predictors of functional impairment and comorbid symptoms / T. Cadman, J. Findon, H. Eklund, Hannah Hayward
2016 Characteristics of prisoners with neurodevelopmental disorders and difficulties / J. Mccarthy, E. Chaplin, L. Underwood, A. Forrester, Hannah Hayward
2015 Autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and offending / Sabet, J. ,Underwood, L., Chaplin, E., Hayward, H., McCarthy, J.
2015 Autism spectrum disorder & mental health problems among prisoners / J. McCarthy, L. I. S. A. Underwood, Hannah Hayward, E. Chaplin
2015 Screening and diagnostic assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders in a male prison / McCarthy, J., Chaplin, E., Underwood, L.,Forrester, A., Hayward, H.
2012 Caregiver burden as people with autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder transition into adolescence and adulthood in the United Kingdom / Tim Cadman, Hanna Eklund, Deirdre Howley, Hannah Hayward, Hanna Clarke
Please do get in touch using the form below or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences,
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London,
PO 23 De Crespigny Park,
London SE5 8AF
0207 848 5359