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Autistic Females.

Discussion in 'Autism Science Discussions' started by Mia, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Autism in Females
    • One in 68 children in the U.S. is affected by autism—but new research suggests that current diagnostic methods overlook girls, meaning even more kids may be on the spectrum.
    • Behavioral and preliminary neuroimaging findings suggest autism manifests differently in girls. Notably, females with autism may be closer to typically developing males in their social abilities than typical girls or boys with autism.
    • Girls with autism may be harder to diagnose for several reasons, including criteria developed specifically around males and overlapping diagnoses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or anorexia.
    ...they have uncovered social and personal factors that may help females mask or compensate for the symptoms of ASD better than males do, as well as biological factors that may prevent the condition from developing in the first place [see “The Protected Sex” below]. Research has also revealed bias in the way the disorder is diagnosed.

    They found that if boys and girls had a similar level of such traits, the girls needed to have either more behavioral problems or significant intellectual disability, or both, to be diagnosed. This finding suggests that clinicians are missing many girls who are on the less disabling end of the autism spectrum, previously designated Asperger's syndrome.

    Autism--It's Different in Girls
    Scientific American 2016 - 20 minute read.

    Slipping through the 'cracks' of the medical system, seems to be something that happens to females quite often. Hopefully this is beginning to change.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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  2. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes, girls are overlooked because it's acceptable for a girl to just be quiet, shy and a tomboy. Things are changing for the better - look at even 20 years ago.
     
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  3. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:
     
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  4. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Great article, thanks! Because gender is such a culturally constructed phenomenon, it's quite hard to understand all of what's happening with how this works alongside autism.

    One poignant / lol moment for me was reading that Graines mother "had to tell her it was against the law not to wear a bra"; first I thought OMG is it, I didn't know! Next, I thought, illegal in the US maybe? Then I thought, this mum is possibly saying she told her daughter that to get her to wear a bra? Then, I was incredulous once again at the power of gender conditioning, and neurotypical norms too, that make misleading and lying to your child excusable and an amusing anecdote. No wonder the young person is slow to speak, she's struggling to breathe in a band of elastic aka bra, choking on deodorant fumes and trying to comprehend what she's supposed to say when being clear direct and truthful is unacceptable.

    I wish though that difference, rather than pathology, was being highlighted more. Difference from neurotypical and gender norms, with positives as much as negatives, were our difference to be better understood and accepted.
     
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  5. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    If that's a law it breaks the Geneva convention.

    Also I've been breaking that law nearly every day of my life.

    Have you noticed that allistics often consider it "not lying" when they lie for a different purpose than to deceive? With a different primary purpose anyway.
     
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  6. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't believe that going braless constitutes a violation of any of the 50 states' indecent exposure laws.

    However social mores not regulated by law can be a very different matter and form of social pressure.

    17-Year-Old Told to Put Bandaids on Nipples After Going Braless - Lizzy Martinez
    Jennifer Aniston left red-faced as close friend Chelsea Handler calls her out on TV for showing her nipples | Daily Mail Online

    But here's one example of what considerations are taken by law enforcement and the courts :

    Penal Code 314 - Indecent Exposure - California Law
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
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  7. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    In a way I do suppose it was clever of that mother to claim it was the law, if knowing her child she knew that the girl would obey the law but not social pressure. I've been subjected to social pressures that to this day I have no idea what it tried to make me do. I only wish someone could invent a comfortable bra.
     
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  8. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's how and why the tyranny of any social majority can appear overwhelming, even in the absence of legal considerations. But then IMO this is a major tenet of Neurotypical behavior. The drive to conform in a manner based on time-honored societal customs and conventions rather than on legal or even ethical grounds.

    A process that can be both bewildering and injurious to most anyone on the spectrum of autism.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
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  9. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Know that I would have at that age. If it was the law and rules, I wouldn't have questioned it. If the parent had said that it was something that girls or women had to do, such as makeup or hairspray and uncomfortable shoes then I may have eventually fought back against the unspoken social mores.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
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  10. Clueless in Canada

    Clueless in Canada Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I am a former school teacher with much training in recognising and supporting autistic students.....except that I was taught the male model of autism so I didn't even know I could potentially be autistic. I did suspect that my son was although he presents with more of the female traits and thus we had endless difficulty getting him support at school.
     
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  11. Relm

    Relm New Member

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    I recently read and info graphic about the differences between girls and boys with autism. And there was a lot of overlap with me personally. I've always been kind of a tomboy so maybe that's why.

    But, before I was diagnoses, I learned how to hide a lot of behaviors that people would think were strange. I'd spin in the office chair when my parents weren't home, I'd wait till everyone had gone to bed before bouncing on the couch. And I'd do my best not to disappear into my fantasy world. The hardest part was not talking too much about my special interests.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
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  12. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

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    ok. Please give me insight to what a female with Aspergers may experience. What are behaviors in the opinion of people here?
    It seems that Aspergers is typically viewed from a male perspective.
    And people, even those in the psych community assess from behaviors associated with males.
    I have been reading up on the female perspective and it is surprisingly quite different.
    Anyone out there with opinions and insight?
    Thanks.
     
  13. BrokenBoy

    BrokenBoy 戯言使い(Nonsense User)

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    This is an interesting topic.

    The reason why there isn't as much info in comparison from a "female perspective" is because women who are actually autistic are often misdiagnosed as something else. Women are severely under diagnosed with ASD.
     
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  14. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

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    Yes, I am discovering this to be true. It is rather upsetting.
    I can’t believe there is not much support. I guess support for males isn’t so good either.
     
  15. luna88

    luna88 daydreamer

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    I've experienced this as well. I always felt different and invisible in my social struggles, like an "outsider" and preferred spending time in solitary activities. I could observe and copy behavior well and in school I was quiet, good and and got good grades so I slipped under the radar. I'm thankful my severe anxiety in high school wasn't picked up honestly because I probably would've been medicated, so instead I excelled in areas that I channeled my anxiety into like music and running. It wasn't until age 26 that I started researching autism intensely (since science related topics = a special interest) that I realized all my struggles and health issues fell under the umbrella of autism, and recently I was assessed and the Dr. confirmed it with standardized testing. It's definitely helped me understand myself so I can function better in the world!

    Below is an article about how girls mask their social challenges:

    The Struggles of Women Who Mask Their Autism

    Also, a fun read....
    The book The Kiss Quotient is a romance novel written from the perspective of a woman on the spectrum, written by a woman on the spectrum. There need to be more books like this!
     
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  16. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

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    As typical with the medical profession in general, most physical and mental health
    Issues are addressed from a male paradigm.
    I agree that the support for anyone on the spectrum is weak.
    However, I have observed that our society is accepting nuerodiversity.
    It’s dawning on people that many advancements in science, the arts and even spiritual evolution has been due to folks on the spectrum (bringing anything from insight to laser focused devotion to
    Understanding, solving etc.).
    Oh here I go again with the novel!
    But you get my point.
     
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  17. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

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    Yes, males have much more of a pressure to perform a certain way that society deems acceptable.
    Women can fly under the radar.

    Interesting on the book, I’ll check that out.
     
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  18. anacrusis

    anacrusis Member

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    I'm currently reading "Aspergers and girls, World renowned Experts join those with Aspergers syndrome to resolve issues that girls and women face every day" - so far have read a ton of stuff about how girls can "make themselves more popular" and squirming a bit... it sounds exhausting and boring to do, and I'm rather bothered about the fact that the assumption is always that we ought to adapt to the majority way of doing things - I think as a teen I'd have preferred it just to be accepted for what I am (not that we even knew the term Asperger's then) and not rejected for being different. I must admit, I never thought, "what is wrong with me?" - rather, I thought, "why don't I fit in?", and my difficulties were always put down to having grown up with a slightly different culture to my school mates or to being clever (oh, gosh, don't ever admit to being clever as a girl!)...even the psychiatrist who eventually assessed me wondered aloud if it wasn't just due to that, because I could do eye contact, I could smile appropriately to a joke, and I included the medical student sitting in on the consultation when I was talking: I had to point out I'd had a lifetime to learn the rules, and was simply following them. I really thought I too was going to fly under the radar - I have no idea what did convince him in the end.
     
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  19. Running Girl

    Running Girl Active Member

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    Many things in the article ring true for me. Being quiet and good at school had me overlooked for disorders, deficits etc. Also, the best times of my life in terms of socializing and fitting in were when i was part of a large group and flitted from one little grouping to another at parties
    I appeared friendly and happy but never had to truly get known. So exhausting. I constantly tap my finger or jiggle my foot in public. Never occured to me to try to stop except for job interviews. I can pull off friendly for brief periods of time. Then i must get away, alone. Or i will and do blow it, and any goodwill I've earned evaporates in anger, negativity, complaining, or weirdness.
     
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  20. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    There are probably a large number of women on here who for this very reason were diagnosed with autism in their twenties or thirties or older versus when they were children. I myself was only diagnosed a year ago (I'm in my thirties). During an annual checkup with my neurologist last month (for temporal lobe epilepsy, not autism), I told him about my diagnosis, and he rattled off the common autism traits in men and boys and concluded that I am not autistic.

    This makes him an arrogant ass (I was diagnosed by a board-certified behavior analyst who specializes in autism spectrum, for crying out loud), but it also demonstrates that even doctors aren't aware of how different autism looks in women and girls! We play-act, adapt, camouflage. People might think we're a little weird or shy, or they might not notice anything at all if we're really good actors,...but they don't know what's going on inside of us. Like if you sprain your ankle but force yourself to walk on it normally without limping or revealing any indication of physical pain, people won't know that your ankle is sprained. Same thing with under-diagnosing women and girls on the spectrum.
     
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