Empowering Autistic Girls and Women

Posts tagged ‘Autistic Woman’

North Wales 1st Annual Autism Conference


2016 Conference Flyer Image


The first North Wales Annual Autism Conference is an opportunity for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Condition, their families and professionals to network and access credible information from educators, researchers and specialists working in the field of autism. This is an opportunity to hear their experiences and access their knowledge about how we can work in partnership to reduce the barriers within education, employment, healthcare and social situations which will enable individuals to progress in every area and therefore improve self–esteem, confidence and develop opportunities to feel valued, understood and included in society.







World Autism Day 2016


Happy International Women’s Day

International Womens Day 2016


As women around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, here at The AWE Project we find we have many reasons to celebrate

For two years we have been raising awareness through our social media presence our website and at local events across Wales . We have connected with many strong and inspirational women and I would like to wish each and every one a Happy International Women’s Day.

Once our founder began to connect with other Autistic women and also parents and carers of Autistic girl’s she soon came to realise that so much more is needed .For over a year she has been planning, networking with individuals and organisations and attending participation events and all this from a spare corner in her bedroom. Our network members have met all sorts of people from all sectors of society .We have met with members of Welsh Government and public sector officials but more importantly we have met with other women who understand the barriers we have to overcome.

Our network has grown substantially over the last few months and offers of help have been flooding in .We are spread across Wales and it has become clear that we need to be able to meet and all work together in partnership to improve the quality of life for not only Autistic women’s and girls but all Neurodivergent individuals across Wales. As we currently run with no funds this seemed out of reach .

We are really pleased to announce that following the offer of an affordable office space by the kind people at Creatasmile, this week we will begin moving in to our new office. Creatasmile has the space and the facilities for us to be able to develop workshops presentations and to further develop the support we are able to provide. As soon as we are settled in we will be sending out invitations to all our network to attend an official launch event .Over the next few months myself and other members of the team will be working with advisors and consultants to create good strong solid foundations and to help us achieve our goals.

We have a busy year planned .We are just putting the final touches to a programme of talks and workshops. These will be able to be booked either singular or as a six week course and will be initially launched across Conwy ,Denbighshire and Flintshire but we hope to eventually spread further afield

Further details of “The Triad of Empowerment “will be announced on 2nd April which is World Autism Day. Then on April 30th we will be attending our first event this year at the North East Wales Diversity Festival.

I think it’s going to be a very exciting year

A big Thank You and Much Love to all the ladies who have supported our project this year .We could not of achieved all we have without your ongoing support .

Happy Anniversary AWE Project


A year ago today The Autistic Womens Empowerment Project was officially launched at the Autism Show 2014.

We are a User Led project run by Autistic Women for Autistic Women .

As an Autistic woman myself and as the mother of Autistic children, I was aware of the challenges that myself and my children had but It wasn’t until I received my diagnosis of Autism after searching for answers for years that I gained full understanding of the difficulty’s many women and girls face in obtaining a diagnosis and the lack of post diagnosis services available

Following what I felt was not only poor treatment but also discrimination I became very passionate about the need for correct services for AS girls and women I had my counselling for trauma stopped abruptly because I had received an Autism diagnosis .I had continually asked for support for my challenges but continually hit brick walls and so in sheer desperation I reached out to other women in the Autism community and I started my project. which launched at the Autism Show in June 2014 supported  by Autism Life Dogs

The last year has been a time of researching all I can about Autism ,in fact it has become a special interest and I have become hyper focused on learning all I can , Very little research has been undertaken on the different presentation of Autism in females .Most research has been carried out on males and it is only very recently that girls have begun to receive correct recognition of their difficulties many have been misdiagnosed with personality disorders .I don’t learn  from books that are written by university professors but material written by my peers in the Autistic community and through the real life experiences of the women I connect with ,I am thankful to all the women who have come forward to help 

This last year has been a time of planning and developing a strategy and now  we are ready move on and start doing some work that will benefit our community. I have already given a number of talks and our workshops are beginning locally in September The last year I have spent making connections with women all over the country so that I could listen to their views and the difficulty’s they encounter. I have connected and met with campaigners and advocates and next year hope to meet up with many more 

I have also designed a website and developed a strategy to raise funds as  I refuse to wait for the government to sort out funding. We have got to do it for ourselves, it worked for the suffragettes, the temperance movement and the Women’s Institute so there is no reason why it can’t work for Autistic Women .If it has to be cakes and jam to raise funds then so be it. 

So what is my Mission? 

It is to provide information to empower and support women and in the process to join them on a journey of healing and self-knowledge .This journey includes healing, self-acceptance, developing healthy coping mechanisms and empowerment. 

The road to getting a diagnosis was a long one for me but finally understanding myself gave me a great sense of liberation .It made me feel complete for the first time ever in my life I felt connected to other people . I knew that my daughter had the same difficulty’s as me and the same physical symptoms etc. that I had when I was her age ,it was like I was watching my life unfold in front of my eyes and it was when I knew that I was going to have to yet again fight the system to get any support for her that I decided to start the AWE Project .  I  have faced challenges due to my undiagnosed Autism all my life .My diagnosis helped me finally gain understanding which in turn led to self- acceptance and the chance to finally gain some self-worth . 

I don’t want my daughter growing up with a poor negative self-view because of her uniqueness ,l want her to embrace it and feel able to step into the world as an adult and have a positive life journey and I feel every single girl on the spectrum should be empowered to not feel that she has to take all her time trying to make people like her and fit in ,because she wasn’t born to fit in she was born to stand out .She needs to feel able to love herself and really like who she is .

When I began to understand my challenges .I felt strong enough to reach out to others I was welcomed and finally felt that I had found my peers ,and now am part of a large support circle .It was those women who empowered me, who gave me the strength to keep going and they continue to do that to this day .Whenever I am down or I don’t understand something there is someone in my circle of support who I can reach out to for advice .We support each other with compassion and empathy and it is a wonderful thing to see. I am also a firm believer that education and knowledge should be free to all and am inspired by how through the use of the internet we are not only developing a great big knowledge bank but are becoming a global community .I don’t even have to step outside my door and every day I speak and am connected with people in different country’s all around the world .We are learning from each other.   

The Autistic women I connect with tend to be the women who are getting a late diagnosis of Autism .They are the women who never managed to fit into the world or who did and got continually hurt and misunderstood. Many have self-recognised their difficulty’s but are still undiagnosed or too scared to go for a diagnosis because they fear the reaction of others .Others have been refused a referral because their GP is stuck in the dark ages and has no idea of what Autism is all about .There is to many GPs that are firmly stuck in the medical model and usually just dish out prescriptions for anti-depressants -anti-psychotic’s or sleeping pills. Due to living with constant high stress levels a lot of these women have developed stress related illnesses and most are severely socially isolated and rarely ever step outside their doors reaching out all be it through the internet is all they are capable of at the moment and all they may ever feel comfortable with. Many have had traumas and crisis’s throughout their life’s that they have never had any help for .

I have in the last six months began to learn about how the system works which has changed a great deal in the years since I stopped working in the Autism Sector and all the regulations regarding SEN and Social Services has all changed since I fought them for my sons education and support .In England there is an Autism Act which included women in its updated guidance .I however live in Wales and we do not have an Autism Act .The Welsh Government have their own Autism Strategy and they also have their own regulations relating to government services. Myself and the other women who play a role locally have been educating ourselves  ,so that when we are ready to move forward we have the correct information and structure in place . The Welsh Assembly elections take place next year so now is the time to really campaign for change to insure that all party’s include the implementation of an Autism Act for Wales .

Presently we are focused on developing our  women and girls group , so that we can make positive changes in our local community  and raising awareness through social media .We are also developing a project  in our local area to campaign for an Autism Act for Wales .We want to make sure that womens needs are included in all statutory legislation 

Over the next year The AWE Projects social media will be showcasing the talents of females with an Autism Spectrum Condition ,including artists ,actors musicians and many more .

If you have a talent you would like to share please contact us 

World Autism Day 2015

World Autism Day 2015

World Autism Day

This week has been Autism Awareness Week and today is World Autism Day .Organisations around the globe are putting on events to raise awareness .

Everyday for me and for the rest of our team is Autism awareness day .My Autism is a part of what makes me unique and gives me a different perspective.I view the world through a different lens as do two of my four children .I am shouting out on this day not just for Autism Acceptance but for Acceptance of Neuro Diversity as a whole .Acceptance of People as they are .

We all have good times and we all have bad and we all make mistakes .No one is perfect .We all have our difficulty’s and challenges .We all find life hard at times .

Instead of looking at me and everyone else who doesn’t quite fit into the social norm with either pity or condemnation try looking at the differences in others with compassion and acceptance .

Open not just your minds but your hearts to the diversity that exists in all of us

Together we make up the Spectrum of Humanity Just like every colour of the rainbow -Every shade of skin -Every Race and Every Religion

We all laugh and we all smile .We all cry and we all grieve

Accepting the differences in others begins the day you accept your own uniqueness .

I have always been rejected socially because of my differences even when I have tried to conform to fit in .It’s not that I can’t make friends because I can .I know how to be socially acceptable Over the years I learnt how to be polite and I learnt to understand the complexities of social behaviour .I worked hard to understand these things because they didn’t come naturally to me ,I had to study very hard ,reading for hours about subjects such as how to read body language and how to communicate despite this I have too often been rejected because of my differences and because I can’t be the friend people expect me to be .

Because I choose to have a very small social circle others often assume that I don’t like people but that is far from the truth .I am just not comfortable I enjoy company and relish having interesting conversations but I also have many challenges that I have to overcome besides my Autism including severe sensory challenges which mean that in the greater scheme of things a vast social life with lots of friends is not really high on my list of importance .I don’t have the energy left to put on a mask that hides my differences from the world. or too continually have to relearn ever changing social rules

The rules of society are changing so quickly ,we are now discussing societal issues that were until recently not talked about because of the stigmas attached .When I was growing up those with learning disabilities or mental health problems were still institutionalised .Locked away and hidden from the public view .What you didn’t see you didn’t have to accept .Sexuality and gender differences were not discussed Domestic Violence was acceptable and child abuse was never spoken about .These things are now openly discussed and there are many people advocating for the right to be different and against the discrimination that many minority groups experience

The world is changing .We are slowly becoming a more empathetic and caring society that sees people for their strengths rather than there weaknesses and focuses on their ability’s rather than there disability’s but we have a long way to go before we move from awareness to acceptance

Copyright Willow@The AWE Project

An Autistic Woman


I have always felt that I only have one foot in this world and that I am different to others .

I have tried so many times to fit in and connect with others but I always end up feeling like a square peg in a round hole .

I can’t fit in and it is not like I haven’t tried, maybe I’m not here to fit into a box may be I am here to standout.

I don’t want to change, I want people to accept my uniqueness I don’t want to change my Autism or heal it I want to embrace my autism and accept that this is a part of the  unique profile that makes me who I am . The medical profession keeps trying to heal me, but I am not going to heal this is me this is how I developed I was an autistic child  and now I am an autistic woman .I have had difficulties all my life but no one ever listened to me or gave me the opportunity to describe my difficulties.

Those that I did make contact with asked the wrong questions. You have to ask me the right questions or otherwise you will not get the right answers and you have to give me time to make sense of what you asked me, my brain does not work quick enough to provide an immediate answer or even worse and more common in my experience is that my brain will provide many different answers to your question and I have to work out which one to say .

It has taken me many years to receive a correct diagnosis . I have been misdiagnosed as have many women.I have so many labels . Please give me my true identity -AS I AM .an autistic woman who has been mis-understood and mistreated all her life . People will understand me so much more by replacing all those labels with one big one which can be used as a signpost.
Instead of getting help and support throughout my life I just had to live with it and survive the best way I could which has led to many dysfunctional behaviors .However by receiving a diagnosis I can gain strength and final acceptance of who I am and use  that to give strength to others.My diagnosis has allowed me to reach out for the support of like-minded people. and it is that which has helped me far more than any therapy .

By receiving a diagnosis I will not only be getting help for myself It is my hope that by educating myself on all aspects of Autism and developmental difficultys that I will develop  understanding for future generations.

My life will now be Autistic and sensory  friendly and this means educating those who look after my healthcare etc  and developing self awareness and acceptance

Let the Empowerment Process Begin