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Engaging the autistic community and raising awareness about the women within it

Autism@Manchester organised two events at Manchester Museum that aimed to enhance connections between researchers and the autism community, and raise awareness of women with autism who are an under-diagnosed section of the population


“I don’t get to hear much from autistic women face to face, so it was great to have the opportunity"


“It was great to sit with and talk to a variety of people with a range of experiences"

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These events followed on from our Building Bridges project where the autistic community expressed a need for more opportunities for two-way discussions with researchers and easier access to research.

In addition, they also highlighted that more research and awareness is needed around the differences between autistic males and females. The first event on 26 March 2018 was a seminar and workshop, entitled Postcards from an Aspie World. It was based around a training resource designed by Hayden Larder, Helen Larder and Dan Redfearn.

The second event on 21 May 2018 consisted of a seminar by Hannah Belcher, an autistic researcher, followed by a poster session. Full details and resources around these events can be seen below.‌

People involved

Dr Emma Gowen (The University of Manchester)

Dr Kathy Leadbitter (The University of Manchester)

Dr Ming Wai Wan (The University of Manchester)

Dr Ellen Poliakoff (The University of Manchester)

Dan Redfearn (Salford University)

Hayden Larder (autistic adult, Seashell Trust)

Helen Larder (Hayden’s mother)

Peter Baimbridge (autistic adult and CEO, Salfordautism)

Victoria Grant (Manchester Museum)

Seminar and workshop: Postcards from an Aspie World

In this seminar and workshop, Hayden Larder, Helen Larder and Dan Redfearn gave a presentation about their autism training resource for practitioners and facilitated a series of interactive exercises.seminar seriesseminar series


The training resource is based on a series of postcards created by Hayden and her mother Helen that offer an insight from Hayden’s life as a young autistic woman (see Hayden and Helen on ITV news here). Dan also gave a presentation about misconceptions of autism in women and girls.

Following the presentations, attendees were given the opportunity to draw their own postcards documenting thoughts, emotions or struggles around all aspects of autism (but particularly the female perspective) that they wanted to share/send a message about.


“It was great to hear about personal experiences that may be difficult for other young people I work with"


“I would use the postcards to help family members!"


Download resources from this event:

Some examples of the postcards created by attendees.



Seminar and poster session: Uncovering Hidden Autism in Females

Autistic females face longer waiting times to receive their diagnosis and many are not identified at all. Increased social motivation and social mimicking strategies are thought to be behind these difficulties in identification.

This talk, given by Hannah Belcher (Anglia Ruskin University) who herself is diagnosed with autism, discussed evidence supporting this theory and speculated on what research needs to uncover to improve the lives of autistic females.

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You can download Hannah's talk here

See more about Hannah’s work here


“The posters were insightful and looked at matters I consider in my working practice but in much more detail"


“..Had a great chat with 3 academics during poster presentation"

Following the seminar, attendees were able to talk to Autism@Manchester researchers about their research during a poster session where researchers displayed some of their work on large posters.


An Observational Tool to Measure Children's Responses to Sensory

Comparing communication profiles of females and males on the autism spectrum

Coordination difficulties in autistic adults

Face Perception in Autism

Gender differences in the manifestations of autism

Movement imitation in autism

Paediatric Autism Communication Trial

The Autism Family Experience Questionnaire (AFEQ)