We are all familiar with the stereotype of the autistic male – nerdy, socially awkward, a trainspotter. But how familiar are we with female presentations of autism? And how do women know if they are on the autism spectrum?

Rebecca Simmons is an autistic woman who lives in an entirely autistic household. She has worked as a nurse in the NHS for many years and is a specialist in the field of adult autism and ADHD. She has been privileged to witness the emergence of a new voice – the voice of autistic women. These voices challenge traditional stereotypes of autism – and indeed, defy the concept of autism as a pathology and a disorder.

Alongside her clinical work, Rebecca teaches other health professionals and asks them to question their assumptions about autism (and also women’s health). Her belief is that, in the fullness of time, autism will be seen as a physical difference as much as it is a neurological or mental health condition. She is also certain that prevalence of autism is far far greater than is generally acknowledged.

Rebecca is a qualified life coach. She is obsessed with autism (of course), dogs, the art of tarot cards and 1970s Coronation Street (the characters of which were the only names in her address book when she was growing up).

She is a survivor of domestic violence and has probably made every mistake in the book of being human. She is humbled to be asked to speak today on behalf of brains that work a little bit differently.

WHERE? The Old Court Room

WHEN? 11.15 – 11.45