Burwell student takes the lead in major new study

Hannah Belcher

Hannah Belcher - Credit: Archant

A student from Burwell is leading a team of psychology researchers in the first large-scale study into young women with autism – a condition usually viewed as a male syndrome.

The project is being led by Hannah Belcher, a PhD student at Anglia Ruskin University, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 23.

Only one fifth of girls are diagnosed with their autism before the age of 11 compared with more than half of boys.

The study aims to survey 6,000 people in an attempt to understand the scale of how many women are going undiagnosed.

Ms Belcher said: “The main aim of this research is to help quicken the identification of girls on the spectrum, offer them the support they need and help them achieve their full potential.

“Teachers, therapists and doctors see isolated problems in girls but are failing to see the bigger picture.

“I was diagnosed when I was 23, considerably late by male standards but unfortunately fairly average for females on the spectrum.

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“And contrary to the Asperger’s stereotype I do not like trains, I’m not particularly fussed about numbers, I can look people in the eye and I have never hacked into a computer. Instead I have good friends and enjoy music, films and photography.”

More information about Hannah is available from her blog http://aspertypical.com and anyone interested in participating in the survey should visit http://www.psychscreen.co.uk