Development Of Repetitive Or Restrictive Habits
Repetitive habits are another sign of high-functioning autism. Those habits could interfere with the persons ability to do what they need to do or what others want them to do. One type of repetitive habit might be related to movement. The individual might have to tie and untie their shoes multiple times before they are satisfied and are able to start walking or leave the house. Some people develop restrictive habits that interfere with socially accepted living. For example, an individual might refuse to wear any other kind of shirt than a tee shirt. This could impact their health and well-being if they live in a place with cold weather.
A Specific Questionnaire For Girls
Historically, major figures in autism research believed there was significant prevalence in women. The Austrian child psychologist Hans Asperger put forward the idea as early as 1944, as did British psychiatrist Lorna Wing, as early as 1981. But its only in recent years the scientific community has really started examining the evidence.
Some researchers aim to better understand the specific characteristics of autism in women. Since the beginning of this year, volunteers are invited to participate in a study on autism in women conducted by Laurent Mottron, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Montreal , and Pauline Duret, a doctoral student in neuroscience, in collaboration with myself and Adeline Lacroix, working at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris . Adeline Lacroix is a masters student in psychology and has herself been diagnosed with autism.
Other studies are attempting to adapt diagnostic tools for use with female subjects. A team made up of Australian scientists Sarah Ormond, Charlotte Brownlow, Michelle Garnett, and Tony Attwood, and Polish scientist Agnieszka Rynkiewicz, is currently perfecting a specific questionnaire for young girls, the Q-ASC . They presented their work at May 2017 conference in San Francisco.
Translated from the French by Alice Heathwood for Fast for Word.
This article was originally published in French
Problems Processing Physical Sensations
Many individuals with autism have sensory difficulties. They may find specific noises, tastes, smells, or feelings intolerable. Noisy public places can lead to emotional distress, as can uncomfortable clothing or unwanted touches. These issues can be disruptive and stressful, but according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, autism symptoms can improve over time as children with mild autism learn to regulate their own behavior through work with professionals.
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Great Jobs For Autistic People In A Huge Range Of Industries
Jobs for autistic people are far more varied than you might realize. The stereotype of individuals whove been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder working alone in highly technical fields like information technology and engineering may hold true in some cases, but it doesnt begin to cover all the job possibilities for people on the spectrum.
In fact, what makes a job autism-friendly is usually more about the work environment than the career field. Generally speaking, the best jobs for autistic adults tend to be positions that:
- Allow you to focus on one task at a time
- Have clearly defined responsibilities and expectations
- Emphasize quality and accuracy over speed
- Involve some degree of structure and routine
Fortunately, those conditions can be found in a wide range of different fields. People with autism have found success in writing, music, the visual and performing arts, accounting, law, finance, science, human services, and many other sectors.
The information below describes more than 30 potential jobs for adults with autism across a variety of sectors. It also explains some basic facts about autism and explores the issues surrounding the use of terminology like high-functioning autism and Aspergers syndrome. In addition, it highlights several strengths that are common among people on the spectrum and provides practical tips for how you can go about getting a job.
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Aspienwomen: Adult Women With Asperger Syndromemoving Towards A Female Profile Of Asperger Syndrome
Tania Marshall, Autism Studies PhD. student, has compiled a working list of traits women with Asperger Syndrome have. She compiled this list after working with many women on the spectrum. The list is based on her clinical anecdotal evidence and research by other well-known professionals. She will be modifying and/or updating this list from time to time. This list is a result of her reflections, observations and experience, and is written in no particular order. Tania states, No-one person needs to have every trait, and it is rare that a person would identify with every trait. Everyone is an individual so they will exhibit different traits from another person with the same diagnosis.
Her 18-point profile was created for females who are self-diagnosing or considering formal diagnosis, and to assist mental health professionals in recognizing Asperger Syndrome in adult females. To read Tanias list or to leave a comment for her, click here.
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Autistic Women And Girls
More men and boys are currently diagnosed as autistic than women and girls. This is changing slowly but surely, as more women and girls are being diagnosed as autistic.
Attitudes towards autism and gender are changing, although we still have a long way to go. Many autistic women and girls are still struggling to get the support they need.
Here, we explain more about the gender diagnosis gap, share stories from autistic women and girls, and share some theories on why more men and boys are being diagnosed as autistic.
You can also visit our gender identity page here, where we look at autism and gender identity in more detail.
Social Communication And Interaction Symptoms
Autistic children and adults often have difficulty connecting with others.
This can result in a range of symptoms, such as:
- inability to look at or listen to people
- no response to their name
- resistance to touching
believe that women and girls are more likely to camouflage or hide their symptoms. This is particularly common among females at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum.
Common forms of camouflaging include:
- forcing yourself to make eye contact during conversations
- preparing jokes or phrases ahead of time to use in conversation
- mimicking the social behavior of others
- imitating expressions and gestures
While both autistic males and autistic females can camouflage their symptoms, it appears to be more common in women and girls. This could explain why theyre less likely to be diagnosed as autistic.
Its important to note that studies looking at differences between autism in women and men have been very small or flawed. Experts still dont have any definitive information about these differences, including whether theyre real or just a result of camouflaging.
A large review comparing behaviors between autistic males and females reported that autistic females may present lower cognitive ability and adaptive functions, but generally levels are similar to autistic males.
Additionally, autistic females were reported to have increased externalizing behaviors. But another study reported that autistic males have greater externalizing behaviors.
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Autism In Women: Why Its Different And What To Look Out For
In many areas of life, and particularly healthcare, men are seen as the standard and women suffer as a result as it is assumed female bodies function in the same way. We know that heart attacks and strokes, for example, present differently in women than they do men and this gap in knowledge can have devastating consequences for women.
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is similar in that many studies have shown that autism presents differently in women than it does men. Sadly, as with many womens issues, there is a stark lack of scientific research in this area. However, we think it is important to outline what we do know about autism in females so that youre better able to spot signs of autism either in yourself or others. This is an extremely nuanced and complex topic and we encourage further research on everything we will briefly mention in this introductory article.
Common Signs Of Autism
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts people of all genders and races. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, people with the diagnosis are very diverse.
For example, some are highly intelligent, while others have severe cognitive challenges. Some are unable to use spoken language, while others are eloquent. Some prefer solitude, while others are relatively gregarious. Symptoms of autism must be present before age 3, even if the diagnosis itself isn’t made until much later.
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Why Is This Blog About Autism In Women Important
As we have discussed, autism in women is highly misunderstood so it is necessary to raise awareness about how women and girls get to experience autism and how we can put the stereotype of autism being thought to be more common in men and boys when it is important to take into consideration that autism in women goes undetected due to their ability to mask their difficulties.
Being a woman is already perceived as hard but being a woman and having autism is even harder so being more empathetic and sensitive about a girl or a woman suffering from autism can make a difference to them.
Please feel free to comment in the comments section below!
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Safety Risks For Autistic Girls
Autistic girls may be bullied simply because theyre different. Also, Dr. Epstein says, because these girls miss social cues and want to be liked, their autism can leave them more naïve. This makes them easy prey for someone trying to take advantage of them, be it a bully or a sexual predator. The girls may be wanting the interaction but not understanding what its about, what the cues are, Dr. Epstein says. It can be very easy for them to follow their hormones without an understanding of what the dangers are. And sometimes even if they have been taught, they need ongoing support to be able to maintain safety.
Melissa says this has been true with Lisa. Ive had to think about female issues at a much earlier age than I expected, she says. Weve already had an incident of her being inappropriately touched by a boy, for whom the excuse was made that because hes also disabled, he didnt understand what he was doing was wrong.
One of her daughters greatest strengths is how accepting she is of others, Melissa adds. She always finds the good in people, even when they are mean to her, she says. But because she is so accepting and kind, others can easily take advantage of her, or bully her, and she wont say anything.
But first the girls need to be identified and accepted. This will require more awareness and sensitivity on the part of parents, teachers and clinicians.
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There Is Hope For Women With Autism
At any age, there is hope! I contributed to an article about 8 signs of autism that are usually missed. Usually, these women feel relieved to receive an autism diagnosis. It just helps them make sense of their lives. They can reevaluate their life through the autism lens.
Throughout their life, many autistic women were blamed and shamed for their behavior and their family, school staff, and medical professionals did not understand how these were autism traits that were needing support, not shame and judgment.
Symptoms Of Autism In Women
- 6 min read
While both men and women can have Autism, the symptoms of Autism in women can be profoundly different from those in men.
Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that appears during early childhood. It can impact a persons social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation.
Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, such as being nonverbal, having atypical speech patterns, restricted and repetitive behavior, patterns, activities, and interests, and preference for sameness and difficulty with transition or routine.
Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning it affects people differently and to varying degrees.
Its important to diagnose a person with Autism early in life so that that can get the resources and care they need to live a fulfilling and healthy life, so its crucial to look out for symptoms.
Additionally, the sex of an Autistic person can affect how symptoms present. Male and female autism share some similarities, but overall, the symptoms of Autism in women tend to present differently than men.
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What Are The Signs Of Autism In Girls
Autism spectrum disorder is often described as a boy thing as there are more boys with a diagnosis than girls this could be because the diagnostic criteria for autism is fundamentally based on research performed in boys diagnosed with autism rather than females. As a result, many girls are not diagnosed until adolescence.
In many cases, girls with autism at a younger age show more capacity, in comparison to boys, to interact in social settings and they are often able to make and maintain friendships at a young age. This characteristic disadvantages girls with undiagnosed autism because, according to diagnostic criteria, autistic individuals lack the capacity for social interaction and communication. However, if undiagnosed, traits of autism become more evident as they reach adolescence as the need for complex social interaction capacity is heightened.
Autism In Women Vs Men
The first psychiatrist to identify autism, Leo Kanner, studied several children and wrote a paper on his findings in 1943. Most of these children happened to be males. From this, the conclusion was made that autism affects males more often than females. And while more modern research does tend to back up this claim, gender bias in medicine coupled with a potentially slightly different presentation of symptoms in females has likely led many girls to go undiagnosed.
Research indicates that while it was once thought autism was more prevalent in males by a ratio of 4 to 5:1, it is now closer to 2 to 3:1.
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Autistic Girls Pass At Least For A While
Another reason girls may not be diagnosed is because theyre able to pass.
Girls tend to get by, Dr. Epstein says. They might not understand whats going on but theyll try to just go along and imitate what they see. And they may get away with it to third grade or fifth grade, but once they get to junior high and high school, it shows as a problem.
This has been the case for Lisa, now 13. Melissa says of her daughter, She is less mature than her typical peers, and girls are so intricate in how they behave socially. Its very difficult for her to maintain friendships because of this and, let me tell you, 13-year-old girls are not very accepting of someone different.
Autism In Women: Less Frequent Or Misdiagnosed
Autism in women is said to manifest in a 3:1 ratio instead of 4:1 according to recent studies.
However, it is widely known that autism affects more males than females.
Recent studies have made an effort to understand autism in women and their perception of the condition.
It has been suggested that women may be better masking their condition than men, this has led to the diagnosis of autism being more prevalent in men than women.
The concept of women and autism is barely understood.
Many of them are either misdiagnosed, receive a diagnosis later in life or are left without the autism diagnosis after all.
It has been suggested that women and girls tend to experience autism in a more subtle way than men, which makes the presentation of the behavior barely detectable or that is how clinicians and other people tend to perceive it.
In a study published initially in 2013researchers aimed to examine the differences in behavioral symptoms and cognitive functioning between males and females with autism.
Their results suggested that relative to men, females had greater social communication impairment, lower levels of restricted interests, lower cognitive ability, weaker adaptive skills, and greater externalizing problems.
Another study from 2016 investigated the female autism phenotype and the impact upon the under-recognition of Autism Spectrum Conditions in women.
They did a qualitative analysis and categorized the data in themes and sub-themes.
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How Does Autism Differ In Males And Females
How is autism different in females? The answer to this question is nuanced.
Researchers note that females with autism tend to have stronger social skills than males. This probably allows girls to be more adept at masking or hiding their autistic traits. Many women with autism often describe the ability to imitate social behaviors of others effectively, although the process admittedly takes an emotional and physical toll.
And then, other research seems to indicate that females with autism have more difficulties with social interactions than their male counterparts. And when asked to self-report their levels of empathy, women with autism tended to have the same levels as men with autism.
Interestingly, one small study noted a difference in blood biomarkers between women and men with autism. However, there is not much research comparing males and females with autism.