Felicity Sedgewick was a speaker at The Big Shout - Girls on the Autistic Spectrum Conference. Here she shares her views on the power of social media to boost awareness of the need for better understanding of girls and women with autism.
Autism in girls is under-diagnosed and under-recognised, leaving girls on the autism spectrum without support in school and as they become adults. The NAHT has made this issue one of their priorities for this year, and so sponsored a conference on Friday 27 January – The Big Shout.
And The Big Shout was heard!
The conference hashtag - #autismgirlsconf – was viewed by over 800,000 people on Twitter, and at one point was so popular that the event was trending at #3 for the whole of the UK.
This kind of visibility is a huge achievement for an event with 300 attendees – we reached over 2,500 people each, never mind all the people we will go home and work with, and spread the message to. Building a network of teachers, SENCOs, practitioners and academics who can effectively identify and support girls on the autism spectrum will go a long way towards improving their experiences – a point which was eloquently explained by girls themselves:
‘Autism isn’t all grim! It’s just good to have people who help with the hard bits to get to the good bits.’
Thanks to The Big Shout, there are 800,000 more people who should be able to help.
Felicity Sedgewick was a speaker at The Big Shout – Girls on the Autistic Spectrum, an NAHT-organised conference held at the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London on Friday 27 January.
Her presentation was entitled: Where are the gaps in the evidence?
Felicity talked about our existing knowledge of how boys and girls on the spectrum have similar and different friendships, and presented preliminary findings from her work on gender differences in the realm of social conflict within the school relationships of autistic adolescents.
Felicity Sedgewick is an ESRC-funded PhD student at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE), at UCL IoE. Her research focuses on how girls and women on the autism spectrum interact and socialise with their peers, and how they experience and manage conflict within those relationships.
First published 03 February 2017