1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Autism and adult women

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Dahlia, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Dahlia

    Dahlia New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2018
    Karma:
    +21
    The short version is that my son is autistic and ever since I heard about Aspergers years ago, I have wondered if I was on the spectrum. I don’t know what to do next.

    I am seeing a therapist who specializes in CBT and pain. I have pain issues as well as anxiety and depression, though my anxiety doesnt present normally. The screening tests dont suggest anxiety but as we have started working through things the way my anxiety manifests has become very clear, and she says I have both. My head has been in a bad place the last few weeks and have been struggling.

    My therapist doesnt want to talk about autism as she seems to think my wondering if I am autistic is a manifestation of me being too critical of myself. It is true that I am very critical of myself and generally see what I did wrong and dismiss what I did well as easy or unimportant. i also do a lot better with people 1 on 1, in terms of interactions, and I do make eyecontact. I do best 1:1 but I am horrible in groups and have had some dramatically awful situations over the years (work, school, social) where things went really bad. I seem to be in the middle of another one now and I tried to repair it with an email apology, but the person didn’t reply to me.

    I took some online screening tests and they say I have autistic traits, but its not a strong positive - for example ASQ was 38/50 (33+ is positive screening), another test said I had autistic traits and NT traits. At last check I was also an INTJ. I am very bright and my therapist seems impressed with my insight and progress, but I think oblivious would be a pretty good word to describe me in general.

    I also have some strong counter indications - I hate schedules and rigidity. I dont find eye contact uncomfortable and usually just make eye contact all the time. I do seem OK at reading body language when I am observing other people, but I am not good at it when I am involved in the conversation. I have been married for a long time and things are peaceful, though I think thats mostly bc of my husband.

    These are some of the questions that I have. Any insight or gentle advice appreciated.
    Are those screening tests accurate for women?
    Are those strong enough positives that it makes sense to pursue an evaluation?
    Does anyone know of someone in the pacific northwest area who specializes in autism in adult women?
    Did an adult diagnosis help you? Especially if you dont work outside the home (being Mom is my job so work accomodations arent an issue)
    Do you think its a good idea to pursue a dignosis when things are challenging, or should I wait until things calm down?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  2. Moomin

    Moomin “My servants never die!”

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2018
    Karma:
    +441
    You might just have some similar traits but they aren’t strong enough to be obvious impacting traits to your daily life. Hence the no strong positives on your online testing.

    I was diagnosed as a teenager, so I have no idea what the process is like for adults. I’m sorry.

    I do not wish to discourage you or encourage you regarding getting a diagnosis because that’s ultimately your choice, but how would a diagnosis help you?
     
  3. Dahlia

    Dahlia New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2018
    Karma:
    +21
    Moomin - My thought is that a diagnosis would help explain why some things are so hard for me and then I wouldnt feel so bad about them. It would probably also make me try to consciously aquire some of those skills, though I could do that either way. I also thought disclosing it as needed could help calm down some if the difficult situations and make it easier for other people to make allowances.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Moomin

    Moomin “My servants never die!”

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2018
    Karma:
    +441
    If you think that it can help you, I feel that it would be a good thing to get one. I wish you good luck in what you decide.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,058
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +11,461
    Also make eye contact, although the longer I have been out of the working world the less it seems important now that I'm retired. My psychiatrist used to admonish me to look in her eyes! Also function better in one to one situations, it seems that there are too many distractions when there's noise and other people about and focus is fragmented. Can't seem to process it all in a calm manner as more time is required.

    Have never done well in groups in my life at work or school, especially when having to rely on others to make decisions. Function well in groups as long as things are clear, like a cycling group, where you don't have to talk or a hiking trip with others, where there's not a lot of socialization required.

    That may be as a result of your levels of self-esteem, as well as perfectionism which can be linked to mild autism in females:

    "According to Janet Treasure, professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, around a fifth of girls diagnosed with anorexia have autistic spectrum features and 20 to 30 per cent may have exhibited rigidity and perfectionism in childhood. Anorexia has been called the female Asperger's (the mild version of autism)."

    So you're not off course here, perfectionism seems to be in some way connected. Was a perfectionist for a great deal of time, as was my mother. With age, it became less critical to care about the perceptions of others.

    Also dislike schedules and rigidity, even though I had to live with them in the working world for a good portion of my life. Yet, I like things a certain way in my home, and do similar things each day which might seem to others habitual. The manner in which laundry or dishes or organization is done the home, may seem rigid to others.

    =======================================================
    Somewhat, but they are not geared all that much toward females.
    They seem mild, and the parameters for evaluation for females were set up on the very low-functioning side of autism. Yet, if knowing will give you some explanations for your difficulties then your should pursue it. I didn't, there are no aids that I require and help in my province in canada is for low functioning autism.
    I'm in Canada, perhaps one of our members with knowledge of that specific area can help you with that information.

    Knowing that I have autism when my younger sister was diagnosed, has helped me a great deal. I'm less harsh with myself, and less of a perfectionist. Much more content with who I am.
    That would solely depend on you. Looking into this takes time, would likely feel more inclined to be motivated to find answers when things were challenging. When things are calm and relaxed I find myself less motivated to pursue things.

    Why autism is different for girls
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    985
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Karma:
    +2,264
    You might start by doing an online assessment. There are several online tests you could check out.

    Here's one that is commonly referenced in these forums: Autism Spectrum Quotient

    Perhaps other kind souls, who are more competent than me, will link to others.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,431
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +2,994
    Hi @Dahlia You sound a lot like me. And, yes, learning about my diagnosis answered all the questions I had about my life - the 59 years prior to the diagnosis. Yes, some have some traits who are not on the spectrum, but those on the spectrum usually don't have all the traits either. High functioning autism is when you are on the spectrum but are able to live independently. (work, school, take care of self, etc) but just because someone is able to do those things does not mean they are not affected by autism, they do these things with a lot of difficulty. I worked and raised 4 beautiful children (no choice) and there was never a day I wasn't struggling with all the issues I now know to be autism.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  8. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,431
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +2,994
  9. Dahlia

    Dahlia New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2018
    Karma:
    +21
    Thanks, NR. That’s the one I got a 38/50 on today. I believe 33+ is a positive screen. The other test, whose name I forget, that has a lot more questions and gives you that graph at the end said I had both aspie and NT traits. Whenever I have seen people’s results posted from that test, they were much higher scores than I received which made me feel like mine were too low to be real autism. That’s part of why I was wondering about the validity of those tests in women.
     
    • Like Like x 1