[39] S3, Ep8: Autistic women, health and the healing power of nature
Topics in this episode: friendships, health, nature therapy, PDA profile, self employment

My guest this week is a 39 year old autistic mum from Cheshire in the UK, who identifies as fitting the PDA profile. She is a certified Forest Bathing Guide and is training to become a Nature Therapy Practitioner. 

She believes that nature connection can help Neurodivergent people form a strong personal identity and help combat burnout and overwhelm. 

She is also interested in the links between autistic burnout and physical illness, after developing chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and Conversion Disorder, which she herself views through a lens of prolonged autistic catatonia. 

She has written for several publications, not just on neurodiversity but also on the environment and climate emergency, and believes that neurodivergents have a key role to play in the protection of humanity and the planet.

In our conversation we talk about:

➡ Her childhood, and her issues with forming and maintaining friendships

➡ Pathological Demand Avoidance

➡ Autistic women and health, including her own experiences of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and Conversion Disorder

➡ Our connection to the world, each other and nature

➡ Nature therapy and how being in nature can help neurodivergent people

I hope that these conversations will be inspiring and thought provoking, open you up to new ways of thinking about being neurodivergent, and help you feel more connected to a worldwide community of people with similar experiences.

I’m Amy Richards, and after being diagnosed autistic at the age of 37 I’m now on a mission to learn more about different perspectives and issues around being a neurodivergent adult in a world that feels like it doesn’t quite fit.



PDA Society website: https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/ 

Autistic catatonia: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/professional-practice/catatonia-autism

Transition movement – Rob Hopkins – From What Is to What If: https://www.robhopkins.net/the-book/ 

Polyvagal theory: https://ct.counseling.org/2016/06/polyvagal-theory-practice/ 

Johann Hari’s TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_everything_you_think_you_know_about_addiction_is_wrong?language=en


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A HUGE thank you to my amazing patrons, who support my work on the podcast:

Cat Preston, Corinne Cariad, Elise, Kate Faust, Katharine Richards, Lea Li, Lilli Simmons, Pete Burke, Sarah Hardy, Vera Cady

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