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Webinar 10 | Autism: Thinking about mental health needs and under-recognition in girls

The concept of autism has changed greatly over the past decades. One aspect of this has been a recognition that autism is rarely ‘pure’, and usually accompanied by other challenges, including intellectual and language disability, epilepsy, sleep and feeding difficulties, ADHD, and notably mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. In this talk I will present research into mental health difficulties in autistic children and adults, with implications for families and schools. One factor in mental health is under-recognition of autism and late diagnosis; when autism isn’t recognised, appropriate understanding and adjustments are often absent, leading to more stress and worse wellbeing. This appears to be a particular problem for autistic females, who are typically diagnosed later than males, and many of whom may go undiagnosed. I will discuss possible reasons for under-recognition of autism in girls and women, and clinical and educational implications. 


Francesca Happé
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, King’s College London 

Francesca Happé is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at King’s College London. Her research focuses on autism. She has explored social understanding and ‘mentalising’ difficulties in autism, as well as abilities and assets in relation to detail-focused cognitive style. Her recent work focuses on mental health, and under-researched subgroups including women and the elderly. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and Academy of Medical Sciences, past-President of the International Society for Autism Research, and has received the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award, British Psychological Society Spearman Medal and President’s Award, and a CBE from the Queen for services to the study of autism.

This webinar is part of the Distinguished Speaker Webinar Series on Special and Inclusive Education 2021-22. For more information visit https://www.unic.ac.cy/eduseries2021-22

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