National Autistic Society And Rankin Celebrate autistic women and non-binary people
Campaign from Ogilvy Health aims to increase awareness of late autism diagnosis
02 November 2022
The "Now I Know" campaign by the National Autistic Society spotlights the lives of autistic women and non-binary people to improve the understanding of autism.
Through the lens of personal experience, the campaign by Ogilvy Health aims to increase awareness of late diagnosis and encourage others to share their story.
The UK’s leading charity for autistic people collaborated with world-renowned photographer Rankin and his team, which was led by Alex Heron, an autistic photographer. Due to gender stereotypes and lack of understanding, autistic women and non-binary people can often be overlooked and live without a diagnosis late in life, which can have severe negative impacts on mental and physical wellbeing. Research suggests the numbers of autistic men and women are more equal than previously thought, with the most up to date estimated ratio of autistic men to women being 3:1.
The series of images and VOD was inspired by the words of Dawn Mills, who was diagnosed at the age of 56 and features in the campaign. She said: “I always knew who I was, now I know why I am.”
Alex Heron, an autistic photographer from Rankin’s team, worked with each participant to photograph them in spaces which reflect their personalities and individual interests. The unique element of this campaign is a photography set up which included a shutter-release cable so that each person could be in control of capturing their image. The campaign therefore symbolises each person actively taking control of their image and a moment in time on their autism journey that reflects when they finally knew they were autistic.
Alex Heron, photographer at Rankin: “I get really emotional when I think about working on this project. When I grew up and I was diagnosed, I was told by my GP not to tell anyone because I'd never get employed and I'd never have a relationship or anything, so I kept it a secret. I just never want any kid to feel how I felt. Anything I can do that can makes kids or people going through a diagnosis feel seen, and see that actually there is employment, there's a space for everybody and you just need to find that space.”
Rankin: “One of the brilliant things about the way that Alex has used her photography is by bringing subjects in and collaborating with them to make something that makes them feel seen and understood and I think that's an incredibly important thing to do with photography. It's the power of photography.”
“Conversations around neurodiversity in women and non-binary people are just beginning. There is still much that is not spoken about and many people who never get to see their experiences represented. We all know that representation is important in transforming culture. This is a campaign that has been needed for a long time. Involving those it is talking about, and to, every step of the way. Campaigns love to talk about diversity and authenticity but don’t always follow it through in action. We wanted to make sure that this did.” Tamsin Wills & Lydia Rylance Murdoch, Creative Team, Ogilvy Health.
The social media campaign goes live across all platforms nationwide from this week.
Creative Team: Tamsin Wills and Lydia Rylance Murdoch
Account Management: Bronte Hackford
Strategy Director: Jon Lee
Videographer: Amara Randhawa
Social Media Director: Charlotte Turner
Head of Video: Simon Stacey
Head of PR: Antonia Betts
Creative Director: Nick Schanche and Chris Chappell
National Autistic Society
Head of Communications: Sarah Allen
Head of Marketing: Chrystyna Chymera-Holloway
Interim Deputy Head of Marketing, CRM and Web: Fiona Grace
Marketing Project Manager: Claire Thompson