[93] S8, E1: Sport and fitness the autistic way: from not fitting in to feeling like a superhero
Topics in this episode: autism and sport, autism at work, bullying, meltdowns, sensory issues, special interests, things that have changed for the better since diagnosis

Mandy Williams is a Volunteer Coordinator with Scottish Women’s Autism and a competitive athlete. Originally from Manchester in the UK, she now lives in Stirling in Scotland. She was diagnosed autistic two years ago, aged 45.

She is passionate about exercise, and her enthusiasm for this special interest shines out. She has achieved a bronze medal in mountain running, and recently qualified for the World Championship Hyrox event, a global fitness race.

I’m delighted to share my conversation with. I loved this conversation so much – Mandy has such good energy and she was a joy to chat with.

We cover so much in this conversation, but some of the highlights are:

➡ Her journey from working in retail to finding a better fit with an autism organisation, where she’s surrounded by autistic people and is fully seen and supported

➡ How she experiences the sensory, self-regulatory and mental health benefits of exercise

➡ Navigating the social aspect of competitive fitness, and coping at big events

➡ Making sport and fitness more accessible for autistic people



Mandy’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/n_d_athlete/

Find about more about Hyrox racing: https://hyrox.com/

Allie Mason’s Squarepeg episode on sport: https://squarepeg.community/69-s6-ep2-finding-the-right-adventure-autism-resilience-sport-and-support/

Gilly McKeown’s Squarepeg episode on sport: https://squarepeg.community/59-s5-ep4-getting-an-autism-diagnosis-while-doing-a-phd-in-autism-and-parenting-an-autistic-child/


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.

If you’d like to connect or get in touch with Squarepeg, you can find me on:

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

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