Tag Archives: #Aspergers

The Gas-lighting of Women and Girls on the Autism Spectrum

Seventh Voice

Artwork by Mirella Santana

Of all the traits attributed to Women on the Autism Spectrum, there remains one that not only continues to go unrecognized as a valid trait but has also suffered the fate of being reconstructed by professionals as a rationale for denying Women a diagnosis.

The trait I’m referring to is that of developing a strong sense of self-awareness.

In almost every description pertaining to the experiences of Women with Asperger’s Syndrome there is evidence of the development of an early, inexplicable sense of ‘otherness,’ to be found.

This sense of ‘otherness’ expands exponentially as girls grow older and develops into a keen sense of self-awareness.

Their strong sense of self-awareness in turn, increases their sensitivity toward any and all experiences that suggest or confirm their perceptions of themselves as different.

Undoubtedly, whilst at school, undiagnosed spectrum girls will find themselves showered, almost daily, with an endless array of situations that…

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At the Intersection of Gender and Autism – Part 3

“Yea I was always baffled at how the women who had post partum like me or raising kids or depression always seemed to do a little better. It was confusing because it always seemed a little harder for me and I felt so alone when they’d say, “Ive been there too” but I saw that really- they hadn’t in the way I had and I could not figure it out. It hurt and felt like a failing tender point. Now that I know I am Autistic, I expect that result and it makes the world of difference to just know that fact. Now I know it will always be a little different, perhaps harder, than my non autistic peers…but at least I have words for it and reasons now. It’s still a baffling struggle at times but most of the confusion has cleared.:) (Kmarle)”

Musings of an Aspie

The final post of a three part series (read Part 2)

While many of the intersections of autistic and female in my life have been social, there are undeniable physical intersections too.

The arrival of adolescence brought with it hints of what it would mean to be an autistic adult. My first real meltdowns. My first experience with depression. My first confusing encounters with physical intimacy.

With nothing to compare those experiences to, I assumed they were a normal part of being a teenager. Everyone said that being a teenager was hard. I couldn’t dispute that. It didn’t seem necessary to look beyond the explanation of “this is hard for everyone.”

That would become a theme. Pregnancy. Breastfeeding. Postpartum depression. My body’s reaction to birth control pills. Countless books and magazine articles assured me that these things were no walk in the park. Not knowing that I was autistic…

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Yes – Asperger’s may present differently in women – but…

Seventh Voice

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I’m still not sure what to make of this notion (now being presented to us as an absolute fact), that women with Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome are being diagnosed less frequently, due to their apparently inherent ability to ‘mask’ their symptoms by ‘mimicking’ those around them.

There are just too many assumptions hidden within this concept that have not been deeply analyzed enough for my liking.

It almost seems like once again, we as women, are being told to turn a blind eye to any and all personal experiences that do not match up succinctly to the now, almost biblical accounts being written by psychologists, as to how women with Autism should present.

Accounts that not only seek to define our presentation, but come complete with a rationale as to why our supposedly ‘hard to spot’ tendencies have, for so long been so tricky, that it’s entirely understandable, and therefore forgivable, that…

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The agenda around gender in Autism

“The chief psychiatrist told my parents that I couldn’t have Autism as I was sensitive, and didn’t like maths or trains and most of all, I didn’t fit the limited number of Aspies this man had treated, all of whom were boys. I gained a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder – apparently a very common misdiagnosis for Asperwomen, and spent the next few years being told how dysregulated my emotions were and what a nasty manipulative little attention-seeking borderline I was.”

YennPurkis

I am an Autistic woman.  I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 1994, a time when few people outside of a select group of mental health professionals knew anything about the more ‘Aspie’ part of the Autism spectrum.

When I got my diagnosis, I was told that being a woman with Autism was really rare. Most people on the Autism spectrum were boys. They lacked empathy, they did’t understand nonverbal cues, they couldn’t hold conversations, they were kind of flawed geniuses and liked maths and physics. Oh, and they all liked trains apparently, or trams and buses if they were a bit atypical. Of all these attributes, none of them involved people with Asperger’s being girls. Girls on the spectrum were – according to psychiatric wisdom – an anomaly. So I was an anomaly amongst anomalies and nobody knew anything about how to make my life better. I didn’t take…

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So, What is Stimming?

From Thirty Days of Autism
From Thirty Days of Autism

The Stimming Checklist currently has a list of 1441 different types of stims that people perform. I use a lot of them. Not only autistic / aspergian people stim. As you see from the list, all you have to do is look around and you will see that just about every person you meet stims in one way or another.

Is it OK to stim? Of course, it is. If some person out there is trying to tell you that it is not, then phooey to them. Stimtastic has pretty great links to how you can skim and why it is OK to stim. I recommend that you read what she has to say.

HAVE FUN STIMMING!

The problem with the Mask Analogy for Women with Autism

“Given all of this, one could ask; just whose perception of ‘normal’ are we applying here and whose definition of ‘pretending’ or ‘masking’ are we using?”

Seventh Voice

Digital art by Rik Oostenbroek

A mask is a false external covering.

It can be worn to conceal a person’s true identity for better or for worse.

The idea that Women with High Functioning Autism are not being adequately diagnosed, simply because they wear masks, also carries within it the ideation that all women with Autism intentionally try to conceal their true selves in order to ‘pass as normal’.

This in turn implies that all women with Autism willingly engage in the act of perpetrating some form of female deception which, in turn, somehow creates the inability of professionals to recognize them for who they are.

The idea that women are fiendish creatures, capable of deceiving men, is not a new one.

In fact, that particular idea is as old as humanity and has been used successfully over the course of history to deny women the same basic human rights and considerations as men.

Which…

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Echolalia and Scripting: Straddling the Border of Functional Language

Musings of an Aspie

The Scientist and I went out to dinner last Friday night. It was the day after I’d taped my radio interview and I was feeling wiped out, so we decided to treat ourselves.

During the course of dinner, the waitress made many visits to our table, asking the questions that waitresses do.

How are you tonight?

Would you like me to bring any ketchup or hot sauce?

Is there anything else I can get you?

Would you like more water?

Do you want to see the dessert menu?

To every one of those questions (and perhaps others I don’t remember) I replied, “I’m good.”

“I’m good” made sense the first time and is an okay answer for the others, assuming I didn’t actually want more water or a dessert or need anything else. Except that I did want more water. I was just too tired to override the default script…

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