Autistic female champion Catriona Stewart awarded OBE
Dr Catriona Stewart has been recognised in the New Year Honours List with an OBE for her work in advocating the rights and needs of autistic women.
A former expert advisor to the National Autism Project and the recently completed Independent Review of Scotland’s Mental Health Act, Dr Stewart co-founded Scottish Women’s Autism Network (SWAN) in 2012 after completing a PhD on the experiences of anxiety for girls with Asperger’s Syndrome. The organisation now provides a range of resources and services for autistic females including online peer-support forums, regular ‘meet-up’ groups across Scotland, ‘Learning Event’ conferences and professional support training.
Currently working for SWAN, on a three year secondment from Scottish Autism, Dr Stewart worked with the charity to develop the Right Click online resource for autistic women and girls. More recently, she led the ‘Under Our Wing’ peer mentoring project, delivered in partnership with SWAN, an initiative designed and led by autistic women, which was supported by Scottish Autism and the Scottish Forestry Commission with funding from the Scottish Government.
Commenting on her OBE, Dr Stewart said: “As a proud campaigner for the rights and needs of autistic women and girls, I’m delighted to accept this honour on behalf of everyone who has supported my work over many years. This award is a validation of all the women and girls who have been involved in SWAN and the other initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life for autistic females. While significant progress has been made, the campaign goes on and I look forward to continuing my work in this field.”
Charlene Tait, Deputy CEO at Scottish Autism, said: “I congratulate Catriona on her OBE which recognises the immense contribution of an incredibly dedicated, talented and inspirational individual. Her advisory work and support in developing the Women and Girls Right Click programme has been highly beneficial to autistic women. We look forward to building on our partnership with Catriona through our close alignment with SWAN and its work to further enhance the lives of autistic women.”