Yes – Asperger’s may present differently in women – but…

10388211_527318574072149_3686326974774947314_n

I’m still not sure what to make of this notion (now being presented to us as an absolute fact), that women with Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome are being diagnosed less frequently, due to their apparently inherent ability to ‘mask’ their symptoms by ‘mimicking’ those around them.

There are just too many assumptions hidden within this concept that have not been deeply analyzed enough for my liking.

It almost seems like once again, we as women, are being told to turn a blind eye to any and all personal experiences that do not match up succinctly to the now, almost biblical accounts being written by psychologists, as to how women with Autism should present.

Accounts that not only seek to define our presentation, but come complete with a rationale as to why our supposedly ‘hard to spot’ tendencies have, for so long been so tricky, that it’s entirely understandable, and therefore forgivable, that we’ve been over-looked by the very profession that has at last finally deemed us worthy of recognition.

Call me a cynic, but I can’t help but feel that there’s something a little too psychologically tidy and self-serving lurking somewhere beneath the surface of all this.

Yes, Asperger’s may present differently in women, but just how differently and why those differences occur, are issues that I believe should still be up for debate.

As it stands at the moment, there are women in their 60’s who are now finally being diagnosed with Autism after living through decades of feeling disconnected and different, rejected and misunderstood by their families and enduring years of being misdiagnosed by professionals.

So how can it be that the same professionals, who have clearly recognized the level of difference, disconnect and/or difficulties with sociability that these women experienced, at least enough to have diagnosed them with depression, bipolar or personality disorders, now suddenly see fit to turn around and make the bold claim that Women with Autism ‘mask’ their symptoms?

If these women were ‘masking’ their difficulties/symptoms so well, then how come they were misdiagnosed with any psychological conditions at all?

The only evidence of ‘masking’ to found within these revelations, comes not from the women, but from the psychologists who were unable to accurately diagnose them due to their own erroneous belief, that women could not experience Autism.

Which of course is how psychologists, via their own actions in refusing to view such women’s behaviors as evidence of Autism, turned the notion that women do not experience Autism, into a very neat and tidy self-validating and self-sustaining psychological fact in the first place.

Only of course, it wasn’t a fact at all. It was nothing more than one profession dictating and reinforcing the terms and conditions under which it would see fit to operate.

By so doing they also set out the definitions and the frames of reference upon which the foundations our understandings of Autism were formed.

Which means that for decades, thanks to psychology, women with Autism were often left out in the cold, alone and confused, and more often than not, grossly misdiagnosed and subjected to harmful treatments.

It’s an incredibly sad but true piece of history and I can well understand why those within the world of psychology would like to pretend it hadn’t happen.

But ignorance, whilst it may be bliss for some, can prove to be incredibly dangerous for others.

I for one, have absolutely no desire to ever see this kind of history repeating itself again.

And yet..

Once again, our understanding of the way in which Autism presents in women is now being crafted in much the same manner.

Psychologists are telling us that women ‘mask’ their Autistic symptoms, hence the majority of the population will believe that this is true.

Yet history has already shown us that this notion of women ‘masking symptoms’ is not a particularly true one.

If, (as has been the experience of many older Autistic women), there has been a propensity within the psychology profession toward misinterpreting and therefore misdiagnosing Autistic women’s symptoms, then they should already have in their grasp, the many well documented cases of older Autistic women who’ve been misdiagnosed with other mental health conditions in an attempt to explain their ‘different’ behaviors.

This in itself, should be enough to indicate that the notion of women ‘masking’ their symptoms may not be entirely true.

After all, one cannot be misdiagnosed with a mental health condition if one is not showing any indications or awareness of having behaviors that would mark one out as being ‘different’ or in need of a diagnosis.

So are we to believe that these older women were just a rare bunch who were exquisitely bad at ‘masking’ their symptoms, because let’s face it, if they were actually trying to hide their differences and their difficulties, yet still ended up being diagnosed with a mental health condition, they must have been exceptionally bad at?

Or are we to listen to their eyewitness accounts and give ourselves permission to explore these hidden implications?

I for one, am in favor of taking the time to listen to the real life experiences of our older Autistic women, the ones who are only just now, after years of struggling to find answers, being acknowledged and diagnosed with Autism.

If we do, we may just find ourselves questioning the validity of the idea that women with Autism have a history of ‘masking’ their symptoms.

 

The Price of Conformity

conformity

“I think the reward for conformity,

Is that everyone likes you,

Except yourself.” -

Rita Mae Brown

If this quote speaks to you then speak out,

Because the price that we are all paying,

For our continued silence,

Is simply way too high.

It’s time to teach our children,

That being different,

Isn’t the same,

As being bad.

It’s time to teach our children,

That it’s okay for them,

To be,

Exactly who they are,

In whatever way,

They are,

And that no,

One,

Particular way,

Of being in this world,

Is more valid,

Correct,

Or worthwhile,

Than,

Any other.

I know you will probably think I’m wrong but I’d rather see men marching against violence towards women than in celebration of past wars.

"North Hampton is a Domestic violence fre...

I’d rather see men marching,

Against violence towards women,

Than see them celebrating,

Openly,

Their male comrades,

Who’ve either fought,

Or fallen,

During our nations,

Past wars.

Every year on Anzac Day,

We are reminded,

To always show our respect,

For those who have gone before us,

Who have given their lives,

For our benefits,

But what about those who are still falling before us?

Whose lives aren’t being given willingly,

For some greater noble cause,

But instead are being stolen,

Within our own domestic war?

Isn’t it time we  see fit to dedicate,

The same amount of national space,

To the true survivors,

Of the on-going war,

Against domestic violence?

A war that remains,

Too silently,

Unacknowledged,

A war whose victims are too often,

Left defenseless,

By the very same governments,

Who foster,

Such National pride,

For its soldiers,

While it lets its women die.

Least we forget,

The many women who have fallen,

To the senseless acts,

Committed within domestic violence.

 

The Law of Provocation

A white ribbon to commemorate the National Day...

An Australian man has been sentenced to 6 years in prison after openly admitting to killing his wife because he did not like what she was saying.

So what was she saying that provoked her husband to kill her?

According to the man his wife had been telling him that she was leaving him.

His apparently ‘legally legitimate’ response to this news was to run into another room, grab a box cutter (AKA Stanley Knife), return to his wife, stab her, slice her throat open and willfully leave her to bleed to death while standing above her and watching her expire.

I don’t know about anybody else, but as far as I’m concerned, this  is an act of murder.

To have this murder ruled as a reasonable attack response to a verbal provocation begs the question:

 Since when does a wife attempting to have a discussion about ending a marriage become  grounds for murder?

Given the husbands Indian heritage one must also ask whether or not this is a case of Australian law turning its back on what would have be seen as an ‘honor killing’ in the husband’s home country?

So how does this happen?

Under the law in Australia there are acts understood as arising out of provocation.

Quite literally the idea is that one person can be provoked , verbally, into losing control of themselves and attacking another.

In the USA I think the equivalent term may be the claim of temporary insanity.

In this case  however, there are clear indications of fore thought. The man had to leave the room in which the ‘offending discussion’ took place to retrieve the box cutter he later used to kill his wife.

Given this, how can his murderous actions  not be seen as providing clear evidence of fore thought, planning and a willfully controlled act of  murder on his part?

 As far as I’m concerned this should never have been a case in which the law of provocation was applied.

It should never be seen that killing another person  because you do not like, or are offended  or hurt by what they are saying, provides an excuse for murder.

Especially if that other person is smaller, weighs less, is defenseless and is a woman.

To me, the ruling in this case sends out a very dangerous message to all would be domestic abusers.

What do you think?

 

Can we really say the women’s movements to blame for the lack of male clarity in today’s society?

One of the symbols of German Women's movement ...

 

I have just read one of the most interesting  and thought provoking posts on Seasons Change, and Change.

 

This bold blogger suggests that the women’s movement is to blame for the fact that men no longer know how to behave like men in today’s society.

 

So is this true?

 

Are strong, independent women really to blame for the overwhelming degree of male lethargy sweeping the nation?

 

Have women stolen from men their ability to behave in a responsible manner, support their families, work decent jobs, and generally be civilized human beings, all by demanding equality?

 

I think not and here’s why….

 

The women’s movement was a response to the high level of female oppression occurring within society at that time.I won’t ramble on about the litany of injustices such as the inability to divorce, the inability to work for anything even resembling a fair wage etc etc….

 

I’m sure that once the rose colored glasses of nostalgia  and the longing for a mystical time when women voluntarily stayed at home in white picketed bliss (yes really they did)  and raised the sort of children that can only ever be found in black and white, G, rated American sitcoms…..have been removed we might fairly quickly see that  no woman in their right mind would want to go back to an era in which they were forced to submit and comply on such disproportionately one sided terms.

 

I’m all for women making the choice to to do this, but I am and will always be, against women being forced to do this.

 

I do however agree with the blogger that the women’s movement created too much change too quickly and that in many ways society can be viewed as still reeling from that sudden change in equilibrium….

 

but…..

 

I don’t so much see the resulting consequences of  societies inability to fully adapt to those changes as being  women’s faults….

 

Individual male power  back  then was much like philosophy’s  proverbial “straw dog”…..A well constructed illusion that created the image of individual men as being all powerful while the real power status lay in the  male collectives control of society.

 

Individual men were, for all intents and purposes,  all straw with no real substance.

 

Why?

 

Because individual men didn’t need to have substance…

 

They had the law on their side, they had religion on their side, they had the powers that be in society on their side.

 

They had no need for individual substance when they had a collective substance.

 

Having established that….

 

It can not be seen as women’s fault that when they scratched beneath the surface of individual male authority all they found were little boys playing dress ups…….

 

Which leads me to question whether or not the true reason that men are perceived as loosing their maleness might be because individually, with out the power of the collective for artificial support, they never really had any to begin with.

 

Could it be that the vast majority of men have never actually been your step up to the plate, take charge types in the first place?

 

Perhaps it is in this misinterpretation of the power of collective maleness as opposed to individual maleness, where the problem lies…..

 

Just a thought….