Kat Rudge, Aspire Youth Development Worker, talks about the positive and immediate difference that an Aspire group has made in the lives of young autistic girls.

More boys than girls are diagnosed with autism (up to three times as many). However, that might not be because more boys have autism.

Often, signs of autism in girls can present differently, meaning that many autistic girls and women can struggle to get a diagnosis, receive a diagnosis late in life or are misdiagnosed with conditions other than autism. Just 20% of girls are diagnosed with autism spectrum condition (ASC) prior to the age of 11, compared to 50% of boys. (Learning Disability Today)

Kat Rudge leads one the Aspire girls’ groups that has just re-launched. Kat says:

“In May, we re-launched our group at Romsey Mill Centre in Cambridge, for girls aged 9-13 years. As some older girls had moved on to other groups, we were able to re-start this group, adding younger members attending for the first time. Since re-launching, we have welcomed eight new young people into the group and will continue to add more over the coming months.

We realised that many of the girls have been struggling with the same things: feelings of isolation and not fitting in; worries about making friends; and struggles at school.

We were so pleased to find that they all shared similar interests and it has been an absolute pleasure to spend time with this group of brilliant girls. We have seen friendships form and confidence grow, as we have witnessed them having fun together and looking forward to attending their group each week.

Despite it still being a relatively new group, it feels to us, and to them, like they have been coming for years!

One of the positive factors in the success of this groups was having two slightly older girls, who were already part of the group. They have coped really well with the burst of energy (and noise!) as new people have joined and have helped the new members to feel settled and safe.

We also have two amazing volunteers, Elona and Aurora (pictured left in the photo below), who help to run this group, and who have taken time to get to know and build relationships with all the girls.” 


 The Aspire team has received some wonderful feedback from parents, whose children attend the group, including: 

  • T had a lovely time and can’t wait to come again. I asked if the group was good, and she said “No….it was amazing!”
  • It was really nice to see E so excited about it!
  • It’s such a lovely group and A’s mood has been lovely all evening.
  • I think B often feels like an outsider. To have this group is so lovely for her.

Kat says: 

"It always makes our day to get such lovely feedback, but it is these young people who make the group so special, and we can't wait to continue to help guide them as they grow together through their teenage years."