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Autism in girls often unreported and missed or misdiagnosed, support group says

Discussion in 'Autism Spectrum News, Events and Research' started by Cosmophylla, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    Not written by me

    Autism in girls often unreported and missed or misdiagnosed, support group says
    By social affairs correspondent Norman Hermant
    April 2, 2016

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    Girls living with autism are often misdiagnosed, misunderstood or missed completely, says a group formed to support girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

    Officially, boys outnumber girls with ASD four to one, but experts say that figure is misleading.


    "[Autism] is much tougher to spot in the girls," said Danuta Bulhak-Paterson, a clinical psychologist who wrote a book about girls living with autism, Aspie Girl.

    "They have a very different presentation to boys on the spectrum."

    Boys living with ASD will often be quickly diagnosed based on telltale signs, such as difficulty socialising and communicating, and repetitive and inflexible behaviour.

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    Girls are often able to mask these symptoms.

    "They often give good eye contact," said Ms Bulhak-Paterson.

    "They're far better at imitating and often observe before they have a go. So they're real chameleons."

    Katie Koullas knows all too well how hard it can be for girls to be properly diagnosed. Both her daughters, eight-year-old Kikki and six-year-old Mia, have now been diagnosed as having ASD level one — also referred to as Asperger's syndrome.

    Girls with ASD can be intensely shy. For Kikki, it made school tough going.

    "Yeah, it was very hard," Kikki said. "It took me a year to make one friend."

    Ms Koullas struggled for years to have Mia diagnosed.

    "We were looking for three years for answers to explain the possible concerns we were having," she said.

    "I went to probably 10 different doctors over the two or three years. Not one mentioned the word autism or Asperger's."

    Ms Koullas is the founder of Yellow Ladybugs, a group that supports girls with ASD.

    On World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, they have planned events to help raise awareness of girls living with autism and the fact that ASD is often initially missed in girls.

    "It's so important because girls are getting diagnosed later in age than boys," she said.

    "So they miss out on the critical early intervention funding."


    Professionals said 'she's just shy'


    Natalie Galvin also knows how hard it can be to identify autism in girls. Her six-year-old son Nathan was diagnosed with ASD relatively quickly. But that was not the case for her eight-year-old daughter Emma.
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    With Emma, we noticed from a young age the symptoms were there, just not as intense," she said.

    "Every time we approached a professional to talk about it, it was always dismissed as she's just shy. Or she'll be fine."

    Emma had repetitive behaviours and an overwhelming fear of people.

    She was eventually diagnosed with ASD.

    It was just such a sense of relief," said Ms Galvin.

    "To have actually finally got that diagnosis and understand what's going on now."


    'It was easy to work out life from there'


    The relief of a proper diagnosis is something Chloe Hayden can relate to. The 18-year-old lives with ASD level one.

    For her, there were years of social agony at school until she was diagnosed at age 13.

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    "Everything just fell into place. And it was so much easier to be able to figure everything out after that," she said.

    "It was easy to just kind of work life out from there."

    Ms Hayden is now an ambassador for Yellow Ladybugs, helping to support girls and young women who live with autism.

    She runs a small performance business based on her passion for fairy tales, and also works as an actress.

    Her message: Autism Spectrum Disorder does not define her.


    "Everybody's different, and everybody has their own little quirks and traits," she said.

    "I think it's really important that kids can see that autism isn't what makes them them. It's not a label which sticks itself onto you. It's just another part."



    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-02/girls-with-autism-often-misdiagnosed/7289258

    [I tried to get the images to work but I'm using a tablet and I can't seem to get a link...if anyone can help that would be most appreciated.]
     
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  2. eonbus

    eonbus Well-Known Member

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    whos fault is that!!!
     
  3. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    Who's fault is what? That girls are misdiagnosed? :emojiconfused: I wouldn't say it was anyones 'fault', it is just that the traits girls present are more subtle and far less well known due to the emphasis on boys in research. Awareness is increasing now however and it is important that it continues to do so, especially amongst GPs and specialists who may conduct diagnostic assessments.
     
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  4. Ronin82

    Ronin82 Dog Trainer Extraordinaire

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    I believe it! I still have to convince most health practitioners that i have issues...they see how well i can function for 20 minutes in their office and think i'm lying...I've learned to quit trying to mask my quirks unless i really need to.
     
  5. square_peg

    square_peg Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I saw many professionals and was diagnosed with everything from anxiety to depression to ADHD to OCD ... Then at 31 finally saw a psychologist who specialised in ASD and got a diagnosis. I only went to see her because my partner was studying psychology and this psych gave lectures and there was a topic covering ASD. It sounded all too familiar for my partner of 8 years so she suggested I go and see this psych for an appointment. This psych often says she can't believe how long it took me to get this diagnosis given how, when you know what you're looking for, I was a pretty obvious case. She says it's much harder to diagnose girls because they are so good at imitation so can mask symptoms unknowingly quite easily.
     
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  6. Dee317

    Dee317 Where ever you go, there you are.

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    Nor my school, or my parents did anything to seek help for me. The only thing I had was where I could go to a teacher to take my tests in a smaller quieter room. As a teen I was "bipolar", as an adult I was "OCD & generalized anxiety". All of the signs were there but females are so much different then males.
     
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  7. Astroganga

    Astroganga Well-Known Member

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    My parents wanted to help me but in this country referrals of school age children are usually made through the school system and at the time things were just not in place to diagnose HFA or autism in either gender. There were other opportunities for them to spot it when I was admitted for depression and also when my family attended family counselling. I also got referred for depression and paranoia ten years ago, to the mental health intervention team where I lived at the time. The team also dealt with referring for Asperger's. My paranoia stemmed from not getting jokes and thus what others saw as innocent throwaway remarks I took so seriously that it caused me a lot of anxiety. There were other red flags as well but the team just told me if I get really depressed go to A&E and take my medication and I would soon be 'back to normal'. They also said with regard to my social problems I should just 'get out more'. A couple of months later they phoned and asked how I was, and I said less depressed but still don't get jokes and teasing and still don't feel comfortable in social situations. Their answer? I needed a stronger dose of medication as it 'clearly isn't doing its job' *eye roll*.

    Then at a later time I was put back in touch with the same team again as I needed to be referred to a counsellor. Again when seeing this counsellor, when I look back I know I exhibited so many red flags for Aspergers but they did send me to Relate which is normally a couple's counselling service, as to save money the local NHS had outsourced all their counselling to them and I don't feel they were adequately trained in anything other than marriage or relationship issues.
     
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  8. AspiePie

    AspiePie Well-Known Member

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    I was diagnosed with Autism and my parents cared and that is still all I got was the quiet room and shortened work... And I am male?
     
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  9. eonbus

    eonbus Well-Known Member

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    How did this thread get mis represented? It's mentioning autistic women not schools. Get your facts straight!!.
     
  10. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    Um, to whom are you addressing your post?
     
  11. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    The article is about girls not getting diagnosed, and since schools play a vital part in getting a diagnosis for school aged children then it is perfectly logical for the thread to include discussion of schools o_O
     
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  12. eonbus

    eonbus Well-Known Member

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    whatever.