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Where Are All The Autistic Women And Girls?

Discussion in 'Autism Spectrum News, Events and Research' started by Vinca, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Vinca

    Vinca Speaking through Pictures V.I.P Member

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    (not written by me. And the article was too long to fit into a post, so i have only copy pasted a section of it, from the folowing link http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosebuchana...d-girls?bffbuk&utm_term=.taLp5KLYv#.leqqNLXGK )

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    Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed

    “I am quite eloquent, I can chat to people – my job is all about communication and meeting new people every day,” says Emily Swiatek, 29, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) last year. “When you look at those surface points, I think [the diagnosis] can be quite hard to understand.”

    One in 100 people in the UK have been diagnosed with a form of autism, a lifelong developmental condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests, and behaviour to varying degrees.

    Swiatek’s experience of autism contrasts strongly with the common perception of the typical autistic person as an introverted young boy, a perception that is now slowly – too slowly, according to campaigners – beginning to change.

    Before her autism diagnosis, Swiatek accumulated a “rubbish bin” of different diagnosed conditions, including borderline personality disorder, an eating disorder, and anxiety. “There was a point where I had about 10 different diagnoses on my file,” she told BuzzFeed News.

    Until the signs were finally picked up, Swiatek, who lives in London and has worked as an employment training consultant for an autism charity for four years, was among an unknown number of women in the UK left struggling, sometimes personally and sometimes professionally, without a name for the challenges they face.

    [​IMG]
    Autism is thought to be as much as five times more common in men than women, though new thinking is gradually challenging the level of gender disparity. The ratio could be as close as 2 to 1.

    The NHS released a report on autism at the beginning of this year that for the first time discusses addressing the specific needs of autistic women. But Carol Povey of the National Autistic Society (NAS), who contributed to the report, says many in the medical profession still fail to recognise the condition in women.

    “I think there is still a long way to go,” Povey says. “For your average GP I think they still have this picture of autism being a young child and a boy.”

    The first diagnosed case of autism was Donald Gray Triplett in the United States. Known as “Donald T” or “Case 1”, he was described in a 1943 article announcing the discovery of a then unknown condition that would come to be understood as autism.

    At the age of 3, Triplett – who’s now 83 and lives in a town called Forest, Mississippi – was placed in a state-run facility 50 miles from his parents after doctors expressed confusion over his behaviour, including an inability to feed himself.

    Triplett was there for a year before his concerned parents, worried by his physical deterioration, removed him. Doctors had few suggestions for what could be at the heart of the issue. The facility director’s assessment was that he probably suffered from “some glandular disease”.

    It was through Triplett’s family’s perseverance – helped by their finances and privileged position near the top of Southern US society – that eventually brought the firstborn son of an established banking family to the attention of Johns Hopkins Hospital professor Dr Leo Kanner.

    Triplett’s father, a lawyer, sent Kanner a 33-page list describing his son’s conditions. Initially described as “obsessive” by the eminent psychiatrist, the document is commonly recognised as one of the first detailed listing of autism symptoms.

    By 1943, Kanner had pulled together another 10 case studies and published in the journal The Nervous Child suggestions for a new condition he called “autistic disturbance of affective contact”. Of the 11 children in the study, only three were girls.

    At around the same time, a scientist in Germany was also examining children with similar symptoms. In 1944, Hans Asperger described a “milder” form he had observed in highly intelligent boys.

    Both men ascribed “autism” (drawn from the Greek word for self, autòs) to the children under their care, but Asperger categorised his findings, Asperger’s syndrome, as “an extreme variant of the male character” – a finding he later revised based on clinical evidence.

    Richard Mills, lead researcher of Research Autism UK, has seen the issue of undiagnosed women on the spectrum come up “again and again” over the years.

    Mills, who previously worked for the NAS, says he became aware of the extent of the problem after conducting a study of women in secure hospital units in the early 2000s. “We found an overrepresentation of undiagnosed autistic women,” he says. “That got us thinking, How many had been missed?

    In 2010, Mills and colleagues put on the first conference specifically for women on the spectrum. “We could have filled it 10 times over,” he says, “it was unbelievable.”

    Clinicians and experts are only just beginning to realise how differently girls on the spectrum can present compared to boys and how that impacts getting a diagnosis. Mills won’t be drawn on the medical profession, but notes that GPs are often simply “not looking for autism in girls”.


    Nicky Clark, 49, a disabilities issues campaigner, parent patron for Ambitious About Autism, and a mother to two daughters diagnosed as on the spectrum, emphasises just how prevalent thinking is of autism being a “male” issue. Clark herself was formally diagnosed as autistic in 2015, aged 48.

    Clark, who lives in Shropshire, was shocked at the number of people who suggested the diagnosis was wrong. “It’s this idea that women can’t be autistic,” she told BuzzFeed News. “‘She can’t be autistic because she’s a mother, she can’t be autistic because she’s had a long-lasting relationship. She can’t be autistic because she wears makeup and she’s interested in pop music.’ The nonsense that is said even now is quite staggering.”
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
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  2. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Magical Pattern Auspie

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    Hi Vinca ,I personally seriously doubt the rates are different, my personal observation is autistic ladies just do better in life for various reasons. It is charming for a girl to be shy, but weak for a guy, so the guy suffers more in jobs, socially, and in romance. A autistic lady also can survive by marriage and be a stay at home Mom. And guys get burned to the ground for that savagely....even if their wife is hauling in the money by the truck load.
    I should know I was savagely attacked by everyone for wanting to court a nice doctor. I knew her she was very nice, and that she wanted kids and she that worked long hours. It was a logical arrangement, and I wanted to write books at home, I could fill in for her, but Nooo! I was burnt at the stake thoroughly by everyone as a slacker. :(

    social peer pressure produces some dreadful results sometimes.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
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  3. buckyboy14

    buckyboy14 Geo-Aspie

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    Attwood explains Asperger's in females very well in this video:
     
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  4. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Magical Pattern Auspie

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    Excellent clip buckyboy14
     
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  5. Cosmophylla

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

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    Last week I ran into an acquaintance whom I think is also on the spectrum, although she hasn't been tested or anything. We were chatting about our kids and I mentioned our suspicions about our son being autistic like me. She denied that I was autistic, and her reasoning was that everyone is overwhelmed by social stuff and has sensory issues because the world is so crazy and busy and noisy these days. Grrr.
     
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  6. Ronin82

    Ronin82 Dog Trainer Extraordinaire

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    That was awesome! Explained me so well! I shared that video to FB so my dad could watch it, he still doesn't understand what Asperger's is...still thinks its something to pray away
     
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  7. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Quite good, like the term "Social Migraine."
     
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  8. garnetflower13

    garnetflower13 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I liked the term "Intellectual Orgasm!" A wonderful video, going to share it with my hubbie.
     
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  9. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Magical Pattern Auspie

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    It seems like auti and aspie girls are just plain better at surviving than us guys....Sigh!

    I don't really believe there are less of you, you just are better at blending into the social scenery than us guys. Mael has to fight half of the planet in pitched battle to get a few crumbs of what is rightfully his, while you aspie girls are prancing by like Mary Poppins to get some sweet quiet government job....that Mael can't even figure out how to do the application for. o_O

    So to speak...I exaggerated for effect a little.:confused: But you get the point!:(

    Life is not very fair sometimes!:(
     
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  10. Ronin82

    Ronin82 Dog Trainer Extraordinaire

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    Hey, if its any consolation, here's one Aspie girl who can't seem to hold a decent job or develop ANY relationship that makes me not have to work...I must be really messed up :-(
     
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  11. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Magical Pattern Auspie

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    Sorry! Ronin82 I'd rather you didn't prove me wrong and suffer....I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    Best wishes to you Mael :fourleaf:
     
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  12. garnetflower13

    garnetflower13 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I couldn't hold a job either, and worse I would always have female coworkers that liked me at first, but then would gang up on me and get me dismissed from my job. Countless times. I was in constant danger from predatory males, and for many years would not date because of scary stuff that happened to me. I think both male and female Aspies have troubles to deal with, even though it may seem like the female Aspies have it easier. Sigh. :neutral:
     
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  13. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Magical Pattern Auspie

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    Sorry! garnetflower13 ,that is terrible....I had trouble with social wolf packs harrasing me out of jobs too.:(
     
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  14. garnetflower13

    garnetflower13 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes, that really sucks!
     
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  15. Astroganga

    Astroganga Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't hold a job and to most people it is obvious I have Asperger's. The only people I have managed to hide it from are those I haven't seen in a while and who haven't seen me much in person. Now I don't bother so much about hiding who I am, it is too much hard work that led me to having meltdowns when I got home before.
     
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  16. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    Here is a link to an area where
    female aspies are posting about
    their experiences.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/aspergirls/

    I am putting this link, not because there
    is outstanding & unique information. I
    am putting the link because the topics
    these people are discussing are similar
    to what those on AC discuss. I thought
    it could be useful to see that although a
    person may feel that he/she is entirely
    alone, there is commonality.

    In this case, "she."
     
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  17. Kupu2

    Kupu2 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, Maelstrom, I am not keen on saying the ladies have it easier. I am watching my eldest fudge his way through life. He is displaying the classic signs and making the usual troubles at school. I envy his ability to externalise his angst and foibles. I internalised mine and nearly destroyed myself. My son's externalisation might cause havoc amongst the allistic peers and teachers, but my son is a healthier person all round. I am increasingly of the opinion that none are worse off as a result of gender, religion etc per se. There are very subjective, environmental factors that affect each of us differently.
     
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  18. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Magical Pattern Auspie

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    I won't fight you on it Kupu2 ,am too tired and marked up by life at the moment, maybe it doesn't matter we all suffer in different ways.
    Life is hard for us all somehow.:confused:
     
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  19. Kupu2

    Kupu2 Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, sweet Mael, that seems to be true.
     
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  20. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Magical Pattern Auspie

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    Yes extra bad for me a at the moment....its always so fun:confused: to find out just how little someone cared for you that you just put a huge amount of time and effort into.
     
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