View Full Version : ASD -females


Valleyview
08-22-16, 07:36 AM
Hello,

I was tentatively diagnosed on the spectrum? I'm not even sure I can say that yet? Who knows, it's too confusing.


But I wanted to talk to other women who have been diagnosed.

I have been reading articles on the lack of research and proper diagnostic tools for girls and women with ASD.

Some of the theories I guess, people talk about like girls with ASD being better at social imitation, this really resonates with me.
I feel this is what I have always done, I focus on people and learn the and their ways and how to do things and I become this social butterfly, the socially awkward, inwardly anxious, social butterfly.


Do you feel you fit the standard (more male based) diagnostic criteria?

I will share some pages I have been reading

http://www.amaze.org.au/girls-and-women-on-the-autism-spectrum/

http://www.printfriendly.com/print?source=homepage&url_s=uGGCF%25dN%25cS%25cSGnAvnnAAznEFunyymJBEqCEr FFmpBz%25cScabf%25cSag%25cSci%25cSnqHyG-nHGvFznFCrEtrE-FLAqEBzr-nFFrFFzrAG-vA-srznyrF%25cS

BellaVita
08-22-16, 09:03 PM
I am an undiagnosed autistic female - can't afford the very expensive diagnosis and don't need it anyway since everyone in my life can already tell/already knows I'm autistic. (And they're very understanding to my needs)

I'm glad I got missed growing up, because I lived with abusive parents, and knowing them I would've probably been put in abusive/harmful therapies. And I probably would've been much more tied down and unable to escape their abuse.

There was a time when the psychiatrist did try to question my mother about my development and childhood, but she completely lied (and hushed me when I asked her if I could tell him the behaviors I did when younger) and said that I had a "perfectly healthy childhood."

Anyway! I'm really glad that the autistic community in general is very accepting of those who self-diagnose. Many do - since for one the older adults who are autistics wouldn't ever have been diagnosed as children, and two, females often fly under the radar and three diagnosis is expensive and many aren't privileged enough to afford one.

I do however, fit the standard (male-based) diagnostic criteria to a T. No doubt I'd be diagnosed if evaluated.

I also relate to 97%-97.5% of the unofficial female autistic symptoms lists.

I honestly don't know how I made it my whole life undiagnosed, since those who meet me in my life now can definitely see how I'm autistic - I'm not hard to miss.

I also did social imitation to a degree, and I studied books on body language since I was quite young, read books about microexpressions, spent hours memorizing and testing myself on different facial expressions. Honestly, all of that has pretty much gone out the window and never really helped much anyway. I still am horrible at reading facial expressions in real-time, I can't tell what people might be thinking or feeling in real-time, heck I can't even tell when people are real vs fake laughing and often miss sarcasm, and I am told I have a slight delay in verbal response (because I'm going through algorithms in my head trying to come up with the correct script.) But I guess, at a subconscious level, I felt the need to research these things as a child because I knew I was not getting "something" like everyone else. I thought that EVERYONE must be as clueless as I was, and had to spend hours upon hours memorizing body language from books and facial expressions. Apparently, this stuff comes natural to most people.

Let me tell you the best thing that has happened: I don't care that people can tell I'm autistic. It has been a relief for me to find out. And the people in my life (I cut out all the toxic people) love me and accept me for who I am. They even told me they want the REAL Bella! :)

So I flap, I wear ear plugs and headphones in public, these people are very understanding about my meltdowns, I don't make eye contact, I rock back and forth, I verbal stim and repeat phrases, I just am myself and I don't care as much what people think! And why should I, it drains me to the point of overload/shutdown/meltdown if I try to "act NT" for literally more than 5 minutes nowadays.

Anyways - sorry that was so long! A very warm welcome to the autistic community, I hope you find relief and comfort in your diagnosis. I'm here if you need someone to chat with. :)

Fortune
08-22-16, 10:24 PM
I feel like I fit much of the unofficial "female symptoms" lists that are out there, and I do meet the criteria for ASD. I was professionally diagnosed five years ago and I first started to suspect I was autistic in 2002 or 2003.

While I had an abusive parent, and my mother refused to believe I could be autistic when I was a child, I feel that if I had been identified, I might have had more support in school, which I desperately needed.

Valleyview
08-23-16, 07:55 AM
Thank you both for the replies :)

I think im pretty middle of the range male/female traits.
I feel like i'm struggling to get this under control in my head, i need to get this all down on paper.

Normally i make a spread sheet of whats going on. I really hate that im second guessing all of my actions, i did it with the ADD stuff, i would do something horrendously ADD and then have to dissect my actions for a week.

Now i will do it all again, ASD style.

My family life was quite neglectful as a kid, my mum was never interested in getting me help because i was the good easy child, no problems with me sitting in class staring out to space.

Tetrahedra
09-21-16, 02:43 AM
I know that DSM 5 is the only real diagnostic guideline we have in America, but would a female diagnosis look different than what is presented in the DSM? Or are the lists of female ASD traits *in addition to* the DSM 5 guidelines?

Cyllya
09-22-16, 06:28 AM
I've got a lot of the unofficial autism traits, both the female lists and the gender-unspecified lists, but I don't meet the diagnostic criteria. (Arguably... I actually did go through the ADOS test, which is intended to reveal social impairments and repetitive behavior and is the supposed "gold standard" autism diagnostic tool. The psychologist's report showed that he considered my "social response" to be "somewhat awkward" and he noticed that I was repetitively fidgeting with my clothes, but he attributed both of these to anxiety. I wasn't diagnosed with any anxiety disorder at the time, he didn't assess me for any anxiety disorders, and I didn't feel very anxious through most of the test.)

I had a lot more autism traits when I was a kid. I think if my nine-year-old self could be tested with the modern criteria, I'd be diagnosed with ASD (which would now be considered "in remission" or severity level 0 as an adult). The main problems I have now are where ASD overlaps with ADHD.

I have oodles of "book smarts" on social skills, and this informs my behavior. For the most part, I don't think of it as imitating other people or pretending to be a different kind of person, but rather as doing a better job of being the kind of person I actually am. (Exception: I'll make more small talk than I'm inclined to. That feels kind of fake.) Granted, I live in a place where most adults won't openly challenge you if they have a minor quibble with your behavior, so it's easier to get away with being mildly weird.

There's a related idea of following "social scripts," and that is something I identify with a lot. I feel like I often don't know what to do while I'm in the midst of a social situation. Also, I think there's something about my affect(?) that is uncanny for some people, so I sometimes make a bad first impression.

I know that DSM 5 is the only real diagnostic guideline we have in America, but would a female diagnosis look different than what is presented in the DSM? Or are the lists of female ASD traits *in addition to* the DSM 5 guidelines

The concern is that the criteria is overly narrow, so it's excluding some people who essentially have the same condition but don't behave in ways diagnosticians expect people with that condition to behave.

Though, the actual criteria in the DSM is kind of vague. I wonder if the problem is not the criteria itself but diagnosticians' interpretation of it. (I do have qualms with how the criteria doesn't really seem to match up with the actual problem symptoms faced by autistic people, but I think that has more to do with age than gender.)

Cyllya
09-26-16, 11:59 PM
This topic reminded me of this article "The Lost Girls (https://spectrumnews.org/features/deep-dive/the-lost-girls/)" which has some more info on this. However, when I went to reread it, something stood out to me.

“Clinically, my general impression is that young girls with autism are different [from boys], but it has been very hard to show that in any kind of a scientific way,” says Catherine Lord, director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. On average, girls are more chatty, less disruptive and less likely to be entranced by trains or moving vehicles than boys are, she says. However, she adds, this is also true of typical girls and boys, so it becomes difficult to separate gender differences in autism from gender differences in general.

This makes me slap my forehead a bit. I'm pretty sure that the reason it's difficult to separate gender differences in autism from gender differences in general is because gender differences in autism AREN'T separate from gender differences in general.

If you take a large sample of people who don't have psychiatric condition, you'll find that there tends to be some different trends in behavior in males versus females. Not hard and fast rules, but definitely trends. (Some people feel that there is no biological basis for different behavior inclinations between sexes, but even if that's true, differences still exist in reality, presumably because kids of different sexes are socialized differently.) Pick any psychiatric diagnosis, and you'll find that males and females with that condition still have differences in typical behavior.

The reason this complicates the diagnostic process of autism more so than it does for other conditions is because the diagnostic tools and criteria are more behavior-based, whereas most other conditions make at least some attempt to conceptualize the symptoms from the patient's point of view. (ADHD had a similar problem, but it's been at least partially resolved.)