24 Apr 2019

Raising awareness of Autistic women

With National Autism Awareness month upon us, SWAN: Scottish Women’s Autism Network and Scottish Forestry (SF) are raising awareness of their partnership which encourages autistic women in Scotland to get outdoors and enjoy the benefits being outside can bring.

The programme is designed to help improve confidence, develop team skills and build on practical skills. The workshops, which take place outdoors, cover a wide variety of activities including team building, nature identification and awareness, leadership skills, arts and crafts, and practical sessions such as learning how to build a fire and shelter.

The desired outcome is for the mentors to develop the skills required to encourage and support women with autism in a safe and friendly environment.

The partnership project is part of a programme of training and experiential learning, with additional indoors sessions to help build on networking skills and share experiences and knowledge through open discussions. 

Dr Catriona Stewart, founder and Chair of SWAN, said: “Women are often misdiagnosed or misunderstood partly because they may develop coping strategies that can mask the difficulties they face in day to day life, but it is becoming increasingly understood that more women may be on the autism spectrum than previously thought.

“The programme provides an opportunity for autistic women to share with each other their life experiences, learning and insight and to build skills for inclusion and self-development to the benefit of autistic women in Scotland.”

Romena Huq, engagement officer at Scottish Forestry, said: “We wanted to get involved to demonstrate the real benefits of being outdoors and provide skills that can be used on a daily walk in your local woodland. The outdoors provides a calming environment and plenty of space for people to enjoy but not feel overwhelmed in a group situation.”

For more information about the programme, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Notes to editors

  1. On 1st April 2019, the devolution of forestry to Scottish Ministers was completed. With the new arrangements, Forestry Commission Scotland was replaced by a new Scottish Government agency called Scottish Forestry.
  2. Scottish Forestry is responsible for delivering Scottish Ministers’ forestry policy, regulation, grants incentives, technical forestry advice and new cross border arrangements.
  3. www.forestry.gov.scot | www.twitter.com/ScotForestry
  4. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Senior Media Manager, Scottish Forestry Media Office 0131 370 5065 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.