[55] S4, Ep12: The PDA profile, social justice and being an openly autistic CEO – with Helen Evans
Topics in this episode: autism at work, autistic parents, burnout, face blindness, friendships, masking, meltdowns, parenting, PDA profile, sensory issues, social justice

Helen Evans is Chief Executive of the PDA Society. She was diagnosed autistic aged 39 in October 2020, two years after her son, who has a PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) profile. She grew up in South London, and now lives in Oxfordshire. 

From 2012 to 2015 Helen was Global Head of Safeguarding at Oxfam, and tried to get the organisation to tackle issues of systemic sexual abuse perpetrated by Oxfam workers. After speaking publicly about the issue and giving evidence to MPs and the Charity Commission, she was awarded Whistleblower of the Year in 2019. Since leaving Oxfam in 2015 she has been CEO of two neurological condition charities, and was appointed CEO of the PDA Society in July 2021.

In our conversation we talk about:

➡ What the PDA profile is

➡ Having a strong sense of social justice

➡ Dealing with invisible sensory struggles, face blindness and meltdowns

➡ Workplace socialising and the work environment, and being openly autistic at work

➡ Maintaining friendships as an autistic adult

➡ Navigating systems as a neurodivergent parent

Squarepeg is a podcast in which neurodivergent women, and trans and nonbinary people, explore navigating a neurotypical world and share their insights, challenges and successes.

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.

 

EPISODE LINKS:

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

Helen’s LinkedIn account: https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-evans-0357832/ 

 

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Or on my website: https://squarepeg.community/ 

 

THANK YOU TO MY PATRONS!

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

Abigail J Moore, Caroline, Cat Preston, Catrin Green, Corinne Cariad, Elise, Jackie Allen, Jessica, Karawynn Long, Kate Faust, Katharine Richards, Katherine Lynch, Laurie Green, Lea Li, Lilli Simmons, Pete Burke, Tree Hall, Vera Cady and Vicki Temple.

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