Dr Tony Attwood has been a major contributor to the debate in Asperger's Syndrome in women and girls. Under the umbrella of autistic spectrum disorder, diagnosis has been underestimated in females.
Predominantly thought of as a condition for boys and men, more and more research is finding that women and girls are a hidden sub-culture within the fold of the rainbow.
There is a lost generation that, amongst others, Dr Attwood has identified in his book ‘Asperger’s and Girls’.
Asperger's Syndrome - a Male Condition?
Dr Tony Attwood, specialist in this field, is the author of the popular book 'Asperger's and Girls'. In this he discusses in more detail the issues surrounding this lost sub-culture of women and girls who have gone without diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome.
Tony explains in his book, that for women and girls who have Asperger’s syndrome, medical professionals have missed femles who should have had diagnosis. He compares past statistics with reality.
It was originally thought that only 1 girl to every 4 boys were affected with autism - predominantly a male syndrome. However, Dr Attwood thinks the ratio is more likely to be 2 to 1. He also suggests that in his experience this is not just about children but adults too.
He also highlights that when women in maturity, particularly if they have had a child who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, they have also identified themselves. Reflection is a great thing when they have always thought they were different from a young age.
There Isn't Much Training For Asperger Girls
Dr Attwood suggests that there is very little training given to clinical psychologists in the field of women, girls and Asperger’s syndrome. It seems that when they do get a formal diagnosis, it comes as from an underlying symptom during their teens or 20’s. Two examples of symptoms are depression and/or anorexia. It seems that the symptom, therefore, brings about the medical attention followed by the diagnosis or cause – ie. Asperger’s syndrome.
Girls are very good at hiding their social problems – considering that they use both sides of their brain, they compensate for the Asperger’s syndrome greatly. This makes them hidden from diagnosis. They may hide in books and steep themselves in a world of imagination to escape the confusing world of social interaction.
Careers For Asperger's Syndrome Girls and Women?
Dr Attwood recommends careers for women with Asperger’s syndrome would be well suited to becoming Librarians, Teachers (especially with special needs or pre-schoolers), Councillors, Social Workers and Psychologists.
It is as if they have been observing the world from the outside in and learn to deconstruct a confusing social world. So instead of the experience being detrimental to them, in effect, brings out the best of them as women.
Asperger's Syndrome Girls Are Vulnerable
Girls with Asperger’s syndrome are vulnerable to sexual predators. In their world of confusing social conflict, they find it difficult to read the subtle body language and understand when they could be in danger. The inability to pick up on social cues can leave them open to potential abuse, especially when they are social isolates and do not have the benefit of protection within a peer group.
The inability to understand jokes from seriousness can lead to bullying and teasing. Peers will tend to intuitively know that there is something not quite right by the responses of her. Girls with Asperger’s syndrome may have problems with groups of other girls, in fashion and boyfriend relationships for example, which might lead to creating imaginative friends to elevate the loneliness that might be felt. This has a huge impact on self-esteem.
One To One Friendships
They are likely to only have one friend at a time – that is all they may be able to cope with – however that precious relationship is the be all and end all. There is a huge amount of loyalty and it can be quite intense. With this comes guidance, support and protection – an Asperger’s girlfriend is one that truly and deeply loves you.
Dr Attwood Talks About Girls with Asperger's Syndrome
Asperger's and Girls Find Life Difficult And Isolating. Diagnosis Helps.
The world, for a girl with Asperger’s syndrome, can be a frightening and isolating one. Women that have gone through life undiagnosed have struggled. Women and girls may be slightly paranoid and deeply analytical. The only consolation is that which comes from a great wealth of imagination – it is here that women and girls find retreat. Yes, this is a form of escape, but then we all have to learn coping mechanism in order to combat fear. This philosophy Dr Attwood would agree with. Autisic spectrum disorders would require an imagination that goes far beyond the rainbow, as I well know!
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Tony Attwood, Asperger’s and Girls
Recommendation: Asperger and Girls By Dr Tony Attwood
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© 2010 shazwellyn
Carlee Lloyd on January 23, 2016:
This was an awesome article. Very informative and one that I am going to save to read later to look further into. As someone that has been diagnosed with aspergers I find anything that can speak about the female side of it, intriguing. Thanks for the article.