With the support of the Lifelong Learning
Programme of the European Union
Autism in Pink
This one-day conference was held in Lisbon, Portugal on 16 May 2014. Hosted by partner FPDA at the Gulbenkian Foundation, the day featured expert keynote speakers and the women project volunteers.
View the presentations:
Community Connectedness by Glendria Santos
Personal Safety by Patrícia Castanha
Personal Health by Helen Ellis
Personal Relationships by Clare Daborn
Future Security by Laura Williams
Standard of Living by MX
Achievements in Life by Irenoula
Reflections on Autism in Pink by Liz Miles, NAS Acton Service
My interest in the project initiated with the application of a young lady with autism whom I support. The way autism affected her was a barrier to her quality of life as she experienced difficulties in certain areas and there were some things she wants in her life that were beyond her reach. During the workshops the women discussed the areas of health, relationships, community participation, personal achievements, standard of living, personal safety, future security and spirituality and religion. This was difficult for my young lady with autism as she does not have sufficient verbal skills to join or sustain long discussions. With the help and continued support from the Senior Researcher Sylvia Kenyon we were able to devise ways for her “voice” to be heard at the meetings by preparation of presentations of her views on each area of wellbeing to read to the other women.
Photos by Kerry Lound, Robyn Steward, Emily Hillier, FPDA
Dr Judith Gould spoke about the issues around the diagnosis of women and girls on the autism spectrum. Dr Gould worked alongside Dr Lorna Wing for many years and shared her extensive experience with the delegates, providing some unique insights around prevalence and diagnosis. Watch video
Robyn Steward, author of The Independent Woman's Handbook to Super Safe Living on the Autistic Spectrum, offered a personal perspective on the different aspects of life that women with autism can find challenging. Her informative and inspiring speech was given in her own honest and direct way. Watch video
Dr Judith Gould, Director, NAS Lorna Wing Centre for Autism; Carol Povey, Director, NAS Centre for Autism
Margarida Almeida, Member of the Portuguese Parliament; Dr Joana Marques Vidal, General Prosecutor of Republic; Dr Isabel Cottinelli Telmo, FPDA President; Dr Edite Estrela, Member of the European Parliament, Vice Chairman of the Rights Commission for women & gender equality; Dr Madeira Serôdio, INR President
Introduced by Sylvia Kenyon, the project Senior Researcher, the women volunteers with autism who took part in the workshops in the UK, Spain and Portugal spoke about each element of the Personal Wellbeing Index.
Richard Mills, Research Director of Research Autism introduced the project and shared the research results as well explaining as the indices the project used to measure ‘wellbeing’. Comparisons were made between the groups of women with autism and a control group, showing a much lower positive outlook for the women with autism in the areas of all categories especially personal health, personal relationships, community participation and future security.
Patrícia Castanha, Glêndria dos Santos
I have recently returned from Lisbon after attending the Autism in Pink International Conference and what a fantastic experience it has been. Autism in Pink is a project looking at the experiences of autistic women in four countries of the EU; UK, Spain, Portugal and Lithuania. The conference brought those women together, with parents, supporters and autism professionals, to raise awareness of how autism affects women. The project has provided the women with confidence, self-esteem, linking a group of individuals to meet, discuss issues, understand and support each other. They have told their stories and opened their hearts to explain how autism has affected their lives and what their diagnosis has meant to them.
What I have taken away with me from listening to all the women participants at the conference and watching the documentary film is an appreciation of their courage at speaking out, their honesty, openness and an understanding of how deeply late diagnosis has affected their lives. These likeable, strong, intelligent women deserve continued support to enable them to achieve what they want to achieve in all areas of their lives. I hope that, after the project, they keep in touch and continue to be able to support each other. They may not realise it now, but what they have done by participating in the project will raise awareness and pave the way for speedier diagnosis of girls and women in the future.