“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.