Scottish Women’s Autism Network (SWAN) was established in August 2012 in partnership with Autism Network Scotland.
We meet for peer support and networking. We help each other by sharing our experiences and knowledge, having open discussions, women having the opportunity to meet like-minded women.
SWAN is a network of women each with a unique perspective, shaped by individual experiences and circumstances; we represent a range of views on all sorts of issues from diagnosis to gender, from ASC as a difference rather than a disorder, to life in general.
Responsibility for planning, administration, communicating with the wider group, other organisations and individuals who contact us has been taken on a voluntary basis by a small number of us over the years. We also have an ever expanding wider network of women involved through our informal meet-ups, social events, Facebook Page, and so on.
Some of us are also involved in public awareness activities and presentation services; we are committed to promoting information exchange with practitioners and service providers.
Download SWAN Conditions of Engagement (pdf)
Download the SWAN Constitution (pdf)
TRUSTEE BOARD MEMBERS
Dr Catriona Stewart
Organisational Development Lead
Catriona co-founded SWAN in 2012 after a journey that took her from academic lecturer and clinical trainer, through her PhD thesis on girls with AS and anxiety, to mother of an autistic girl, to autistic mother.
Catriona’s PhD research was the driving force behind SWAN and the underpinning to her work with Scottish Autism developing their Right Click for Women and Girls online resource. She was an advisor and ‘expert’ to 3-year UK initiative, the National Autism Project, has presented at numerous national and international conferences, including 2 international conferences on women and gender studies, delivers training and consultation services.
Catriona currently works full-time for Scottish Autism as an advisor; one of her current work streams is a Scottish Government funded initiative delivered through Scottish Autism’s Right Click programme and SWAN in partnership. ‘Under Our Wing’ is a pilot one-year peer-mentoring training programme.
Katy Wilson-Scott Katy has been working in women-focussed organisations since 2013 both in England and Scotland managing teams and developing projects. She currently manages Kairos Women+, a women-only community group in Renfrewshire. She worked as a Trustee for a national women’s organisation before joining the board at SWAN in May 2020.
Katy is passionate about equality and inclusion within the feminist sector, particularly for autistic women. She believes in the vision and mission of SWAN, is committed to increasing awareness of autistic women’s lives and feels lucky to work in an organisation that creates spaces for autistic
women to thrive.
Kelly Given joined the SWAN board in September 2020.
Kelly is an equality and human rights activist with 7 years of professional and voluntary experience in the sector. She has worked in a number of roles in equality policy, politics and more recently, public health.
Kelly previously sat on the board of Scotland’s largest political youth wing in a variety of roles and was an elected member of the Scottish Youth Parliament where she took up roles in social justice and equality. She has represented Scotland at the European Parliament and more recently, represented the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Kelly’s passion for SWAN stems from her own personal journey to diagnosis. After over a decade of struggle and misdiagnosis, she was diagnosed as an adult with Autism and ADHD. She has a particular interest in improving access to diagnosis and early intervention for autistic girls as well as changing attitudes to neurodivergent women in the workplace.
Magali Redding has a passion for the Scottish voluntary sector, in which she has managed projects since 2003 after graduating in Business and Management in her native France. She is currently the founding CEO of a UK-wide family support charity, leading its staff team and working closely with healthcare professionals, academia and policy makers.
In 2020, one of Magali’s three daughters was identified as autistic aged 16, which triggered the desire to contribute to SWAN’s mission: the support and inclusion of autistic women, girls and Assigned Female At Birth people in society.
In her spare time, Magali loves learning about psychology and philosophy through courses and podcasts, relaxing as a family in the local coffee shops and keeping active by playing sports and walking her dog.
Magali joined the SWAN board in April 2021.
Patricia Cain is a visual artist and scholar based in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. She is also the founder of Millefolia, a social enterprise that is a think tank for neurodiversity and an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.
Trish practiced medical law before completing a practice-based PhD in drawing at Glasgow School of Art. Her subsequent book Drawing: The Enactive Evolution of the Practitioner (2010) fused embodied cognition and practice-led creative methodology to access lived experience of the creative mind.
Her visual art practice is concerned with accessing hidden aspects of thinking – such as creativity, experiential learning, spiritual growth. She won the Aspect and Threadneedle Prizes in 2010 and was finalist in the Arte Laguna Prize, Venice 2013. Her solo exhibitions Drawing (on) Riverside at Kelvingrove Art Gallery (2011) and Seeing Beyond the Immediate (2017/18) are documented on her website http://www.patriciacain.com.
Trish’s current project Making Autistic Thinking Visible (funded by Creative Scotland) explores how autistic thinking and the development of autistic identity (self) can be made visible. Her interest is in evolving autistic-led creative research methodologies that can reveal the nature of neuro-diverse thinking styles.
Gail joined the SWAN board as Trustee Treasurer in April 2021. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with EY in Edinburgh and has had an international career in financial services and economic development. She currently works in Macquarie’s asset management team specialising in renewable and social projects.
She is a member of her employer’s Neurodiversity employee network group and a Macquarie Group Foundation Charity Committee champion. She is a proud advocate and ally in the promotion of inclusion, neurodiversity and the reduction of unconscious bias.
She is a passionate pencil artist, knitter, baker and cook with particular interest in the maths and physics of climate, weather, geology, music and human geometry.
Aileen Paterson is a late-diagnosed autistic Chartered Librarian who has been working in a variety of public, voluntary sector and national libraries since 2000. She is also a poet and writer and has been published in a range of anthologies as well as being shortlisted twice for the Scottish Mental Health
Arts Festival Writing Awards. She loves art, baking and promoting autistic creativity and inclusion.
She joined the SWAN board of trustees in November 2020.
Alison Duffy has a 30 year career in technology industries, most recently specialising in digital technology. She has held leadership roles in areas such as Product Management, Business Operations, Strategy Execution and Data Governance but her favourite role by far has been people management. Through this role, Alison has developed intern programmes, led graduate recruitment and mentored people through their development and career moves.
Through these industry experiences and as the mother of an autistic daughter, Alison is keen to support programmes which ensure that Scottish industry removes the unconscious barriers and actual processes which preclude autistic employees from participating in the workforce to the fullness of their capabilities and with the same opportunities as colleagues and peers. Full access to these opportunities starts with schooling and recognises the major periods of transition through the teenage years and out to adulthood.
She joined the SWAN board of trustees in April 2021.