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It is only when you have lived a life of being misunderstood, of feeling invisible that you can develop the deep human compassion required to know that all humans, regardless of their neurotypical or neurodiverse status, are equal.

My name is Wendy Bowley, I am Autistic and I am the parent of an Autistic son. Together we have taught each other how to relate to each other in our own idiosyncratic way.

It is my dream to humanize a lesser-understood condition  and foster understanding such that we may celebrate life from all different perspectives.  I offer a variety of services to support those affected and effected by Autism, and have launched an NPO called Knowing Autism to provide humans with the opportunity to share their experiences in a safe space where they are understood and acknowledged. It is my intention that my contribution will impact people’s lives towards greater self-acceptance.

Meet Wendy Bowley


After 44 years of living a life where I felt wholly invisible and – for the most part misunderstood – I have now granted myself permission to celebrate life from a different perspective. The catalyst for this was when I received an accurate diagnosis of Autism.

With the help of a team of healers I have learnt that Autism is not a software malfunction but a hardwiring technique.

This has liberated me to recognize that I am suitably equipped to support others who may be going through similar feelings and thought patterns. These include, but are not limited to, social anxiety, feelings of being misunderstood, feelings of not belonging. Being misinterpreted in terms of what I mean to say versus what is understood. There is also a general sense of feeling “different”. Being and feeling different can be difficult. It is my dream to help others in this situation to foster self- acceptance and self-love.

It is bringing me great joy to birth a business, project, NPO, vision and revolution that will – in the fullness of time – foster understanding between people who are neurodiverse and people who are neurotypical. Knowing that each human has a specific contribution to make to the world. It is my dream that the world was kind enough to give everyone permission to simply be who they naturally are.

I know that I can make a difference to the families who have Autistic family members because I am also the mother of an Autistic son. Nobody teaches you how to navigate your own condition with that of your child’s– simultaneously. I feel that it is not only my life dream but my grander purpose to ignite the dialogue around neurodiversity and, in doing so, begin to open the dialogue towards normalization, removing shame and celebrating life from a different perspective.

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Services

Equipped with 44 years of lived experience, I am compelled to offer support to an under-serviced community of those affected and effected by Autism. In my experience in dealing with Adults, teenagers and children with Autism I have found that they warm to me. Perhaps as I understand implicitly where they may be coming from. And, perhaps because as a mother to an Autistic child I am acutely sensitive to the nuances of the Autistic conditions. As I’m a woman and my son is a man I am fortunate in so far that I have been exposed to the sometimes subtle oftentimes wildly different manners in which Autism may present by gender-type. As a human I have embarked on deep inter-personal developmental work which affords me the capacity to sit, and hold (proverbially) those whom are grappling with the condition and its implications on a neurotypical perspective on life. The other thing is that now that I have been accurately diagnosed I have developed a sense of humour about some of the somewhat bizarre anecdotes of my past which I know will help people feel comfortable and help me bolster their spirits. So, if you are a human who is autistic, or a family member, or a friend wishing to support someone with the condition and are seeking an invaluable thinking partner, to help you navigate all the dimensions related to being, or living with Autism. Please do reach out.

Counselling

  • One-on-one adult counselling
  • Relationship counselling
  • Teenage girls/boys

Designed to support those affected or effected by Autism, Wendy Bowley, through her lived experience of both being Autistic and being the mother to an Autistic child, has designed a counselling process to equip individuals with practical tools for living with the life-long condition. This, coupled with Wendy’s own experience and empathy and understanding provides a safe and supportive environment for anyone wishing to process some of the very real daily tests that being Autistic may present. For those who are Autistic and for those who love and wish to support them.

Knowing Autism

Born out of a deep calling to serve a community that is lesser-understood and oftentimes alienated, Wendy Bowley’s vision is to create a safe, nurturing, supportive environment for those affected and effected by Autism. Knowing Autism’s vision is to socially transform the perceptions that those with Autism may believe to be true about themselves. And, to educate those without Autism on the misnomers about the condition. In doing so Knowing Autism sets out to foster understanding between neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals such that the commonality of being human can be celebrated.

For more information on Knowing Autism follow us on @knowingautism.

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Online Support Programs

Traversing through the daily trials of Autism is a challenging task, even more so when you lack the necessary support. There are so many facets and nuances of Autism that were never explained to me, and that would have helped me immensely in navigating my days. My hope is that in sharing what I have now learnt, we will be able to build a better understanding of Autism, fostering greater compassion.

My online support programmes cover a range of different topics and anecdotes that, hopefully, will equip you with the power, tools and mindset to celebrate life from a different perspective. Read more about each webinar below.

Autism Resources

One of the biggest misnomers about Autism is that it effects only men and in a very stereotypical manner. Autism, to the layman is understood to be a condition of social isolation, aggression, highly sensitive children and children who have “special needs and requirements” which preclude them from integrating into “mainstream” society. There is some truth in those perceptions. Autistic males do embrace social isolation as a means of self-soothing. There is also a lot of lesser known truths. Autistic humans are among the creative and intelligent humans in the world. They are great inventors and, when suitably nurtured, will make significant contribution to society.

Advisory Team

Scaffolded by a team of highly trained experts, Wendy Bowley has the support, camaraderie, and allegiance of a network of those who are either directly or indirectly affected or effected by Autism. Wendy’s support community pledge allegiance in aiding and abetting her in this worthwhile cause. Some of whom include, but are not limited to:

Ben Truter

With over 20 years’ experience, and extensive training in Clinical Psychology and Autism specifically, Ben Truter is a board member and the Clinical Director of the Neurodiversity Centre based in Franschhoek, Cape Town.

The Neurodiversity Foundation is a not-for-profit partner and is guided by the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, whose mission is to support children who present with early symptoms or problems across different aspects of childhood development. These include challenges in general development, social relatedness, language and communication, attention, activity, motor coordination, mood, and sleep. Such children may be diagnosed with conditions on the Autism Spectrum, AD/HD, Specific Learning Disorders or other problems. Scientists increasingly understand that these types of challenges overlap, and that difficulties in one such area predict difficulties in other areas in later years. Therefore, comprehensive assessment and coordinated interventions are needed to understand and support these children.

Ben is enthused by Wendy Bowley’s vision to humanise the condition of Autism through the Knowing Autism platform. In his experience he has longitudinal evidence of the impact that an Autistic diagnosis can have on the family system, the diagnosed individual and society at large. Most especially in a South African context where, within disenfranchised communities there is a dire lack of support to critical services required to aid and abet those affected by Autism and the often correlated neurodiverse conditions.

Christopher Gillberg

Christopher Gillberg has been a Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, since the mid-1980s. He has headed the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre since 2010. He is also a Chief Physician at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital and one of the world’s most experienced, clinically active, child and adolescent psychiatrists, with more than 45 years of extensive clinical work in treatment of patients and families with complex psychiatric/neurodevelopmental problems.

In 1993 he was the Fulbright Visiting Professor at New York University Medical School. He is also a Visiting or Honorary Professor at the Universities of London, University College London (Institute of Child Health), University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh, the Pasteur Institute, and Kochi University, Japan (where he is involved with the Japan Environment and Children Study/JECS). Professor Gillberg is an honorary member of the Swedish National Autism Society and ADHD Society (“Attention”).

He is a member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. He is the recipient of many national and international awards including the Fernström Prize for young researchers (1991), the Royal Medal of the Seraphim Order from the Swedish King (2009), the Söderberg Prize in Medicine (2012), INSAR Lifetime Achievement Award (2016), Psync Award (2016) and SWEDE OF THE YEAR IN MEDICINE (2019). He supervises and has supervised more than 50 PhD students at the GNC and at other universities across the world (including in Norway, Denmark, Scotland, England, Faroe Islands, Japan and South Africa). He has published more than 750 peer-reviewed scientific papers (of which 705 are currently on the NIH PubMed website) on Autism, Asperger syndrome, ADHD, Tourette syndrome, intellectual disability, epilepsy, behavioural phenotype syndromes, depression, reactive attachment disorder, anorexia nervosa, and other areas relevant for children’s and adolescents’ mental and neurological health. His research ranges from genetics and basic neuroscience through epidemiology and clinical phenomenology to treatments/interventions and outcome. He has written 35 books, which have been published in more than a dozen languages.

Christopher Gillberg is the most productive autism researcher in the world and is on Thomson Reuter’s 2014 list of the world’s most influential researchers (all fields). Christopher’s support of Knowing Autism is to partner with the Neurodiversity Foundation in the ongoing clinical training of the condition. As more is learnt of the condition, its nuances – most especially as it pertains to gender, and its complexities in managing it as a lifelong process. Professor Gillberg is committed to provide Knowing Autism with knowledge sharing and to facilitate insights of what is known and yet to be discovered about the condition and its longitudinal, life-changing prognosis.

Dr Adri van der Walt

Dr Adri van der Walt is a Neurological Paediatrician, and consultant at the Neurodiversity Foundation. With a lifelong career as a Neurological Paediatrician, Dr Adri van der Walt has extensive experience in the early detection of Autism and the associated neurodiverse conditions within Paediatrics.

During this time, she has supported families in coming to terms with the diagnosis of their children’s conditions. And, in navigating the correct extensive support system required to help a family manage the additional developmental requirements that an Autistic child may require. These include, but are not limited to, schooling, facilitation, occupational therapy etc.
Dr Adri van der Walt is committed to contributing to the Knowing Autism Social Transformation cause. Knowing that the needs far supersede the resources, most especially within a South African context.