Are Women with Autism evading diagnosis?

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“In the absence of significant intellectual or behavioral problems, girls with ASD-like traits are more likely than boys to evade a diagnosis of ASD.” Spectrum.

Academics, researchers and professionals’ need to stop using terms such as “evading diagnosis” and “masking symptoms” when discussing female Autism.

In essence, what they’re really discussing when they apply terms such as these, are their own inabilities to correctly identify Autism in women.

There is absolutely no value to be found in perpetuating the myth that women with Autism run around wilfully trying to avoid detection simply because professionals have become lackluster within the confines of  their own diagnostic processes.

As a woman with Autism I can tell you that we are not running around trying to avoid detection.

Nor are we, in our daily lives, actively striving to “evade” diagnosis.

In fact, we’d actually quite like it if all professionals developed the ability to recognize female Autism in girls sooner, faster, more adeptly and at a much younger age than say, oh I don’t know, 40.

Perhaps then, the facts that girls and women with Autism experience as many sensory and processing difficulties throughout their lives as boys and men with Autism do, can be openly acknowledged and understood by all.

Perhaps then, there wouldn’t be so many undiagnosed women trying to desperately figure out why they’ve always felt so awkward around other people and berating themselves for being so different.

Perhaps then, we’d also have seen more changes within the diagnostic process had the discussions surrounding female Autism focused less on our techniques of supposed evasion, and more on the inabilities of professional’s to accurately detect and diagnose female Autism in the first place.

No amount of double talk should detract us from the fact that improvements for women with Autism will only occur once the flaws in the area of diagnostic accuracy have been addressed.

Especially considering that we can’t technically diagnose ourselves, regardless of how thoroughly we research Autism or how deeply we ponder the prospect.

The only option left to us, it would seem, is to strive to change the parameters under which knowledge pertaining to Female Autism is currently being collected and constructed.

So it’s up to us to point academic researchers in the right direction when it comes to female Autism because apparently if we don’t, they’ll simply all keep listening to each-others bad ideas and encouraging each-other to see traits that aren’t really there whilst continuing to ignore those traits which really are.

This is a somewhat ironic state of affairs considering that we’re the ones who are supposed to lack the ability to see the bigger picture.

We’re also supposed to lack the capacity for self-awareness, yet all a researcher really needs to do these days, is type in the search terms ‘female + Autism + Blog’ and they’ll soon have all the evidence they need to confirm that we are indeed an extremely self-aware bunch.

 

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10 thoughts on “Are Women with Autism evading diagnosis?

  1. I wish I knew if I could print this, and , if so, how to . Been pacing, shouting, tensing , raging (quietly,so far) for a few weeks now. Everything is there, my brain has it all,clear as a bell – a MASSIVELY DETAILED explanation of Me , by Me. Although I was ‘getting warmer’ with internet research brought on by concern for family members, it has become SCREAMINGLY OBVIOUS TO ME that I too am Autistic ( the ‘terrified of criticism’ Me is saying ” Don’t say that,even if it feels true.Someone will object to the wording and shoot you down” ) . So, why would I like permission to print this ( or copy it or whatever it is that one does (crap at I.T.) ? Answer ; to give me the courage to ask particular people some very specific questions about my diagnoses, treatments and medications. I’m sorry, I feel I’m coming over very aggressively here when I’m actually so relieved to find all so many intelligent,understanding,empathic and articulate humans, just by ‘googlin ‘ Autim Blogs’ ! I am so very angry and sad and sort of happy and hopeful all at once. I have always internalised anger, but now it really wants to get out, and I am becoming less inclined to stop it .I think I need help to process ,or at least safely contain, all this ,I don’t know even if I’m making any sense. Oh yes, I forgot grief – being ambushed and floored (literally) by what I think may be grief a lot just now. All this and worried sick for my two Sons,desperate to help them and scared of doing it wrong – I’m so grateful that this focus on female missed/misdiagnosis is happening. I am very concerned also that many boys and men are in the same boat ,but may be missing out on crucial info or even feeling more isolated. I forgot to say Thankyou (so much !)

  2. Kind of funny really because I am very much like my son. Except without social phobias. I do the clothes bit, the sound bit, the food bit, the awkwardness, the overload of other people’s emotions, and so on. He is diagnosed with aspergers (autism from 2015 in Norway). Me – HAH – no way I could be autist. Wankers.

    1. And I feel so much anger at this. An intense, deeply felt anger that I am unable to show in a way that makes sense. Which is why I am thankful for blogs like yours. Blogs that tell others in a sensible manner what it is like to be a woman with autism.

  3. Love you seventh voice. You make some fantastic points. Enough of the masking excuses….do your research and find out how females present ….this is slowing down the diagnosis process because they (gp’s, psychologists, even autism experts) are hanging onto excuses and being lazy.

  4. Hmm… Yes… I don’t remember ‘evading’ my diagnosis… I remember seeing a Psychologist in primary school… Then @ Uni saw a no. of Psychiatrists and Psychologists… Even spent 30 days in a specialised mental health facility… And at NO point did ANY of these professionals even utter the word ‘Autism’ or ‘Aspergers’ … Although Anxiety and depression were diagnosis and Bipolar discussed but rejected… Was over 5hrs later I finally got my dx. . .. after SEEKING it out.

  5. Thank you for putting this so correctly back in their court! For me it’s been more like begging and having to prove myself to the “experts” rather than evading. Which is not to suggest that my diagnosis has helped me in any way because it hasn’t. It is scoffed at by the immediate family members I have shared with and I am scared to death to share with anyone else because apparently I am seen as “needing a disease”. And besides the hurtful accusations of narcissism and the rolling of the eyes that I have been met with, there are no services whatsoever for an adult in my state. Getting an official diagnosis was a humiliating process that I felt was accomplished basically to satisfy me and justify the fee I had to pay to get it in writing. A very sad state of affairs for women on the spectrum indeed.

  6. That could apply to me, too.
    No one, including me, would have ever thought “autism”…had I not watched a TV show, featuring a kid and his parents…having the very same challenges and difficulties that I was when I was a kid. I noticed the startling similarities….And, that’s when I started “googling”.
    Later on…I had the opportunity to get evaluated…on my own initiative, of course.
    If it weren’t for that…I’d STILL be undiagnosed…and clueless. (despite all of the problems, challenges and difficulties I’ve had my entire life)….

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