Boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed on the autism spectrum than girls. It’s easy to look at that statistic and assume that autism is more prevalent in males. But what if it’s simply diagnosed more often? The high frequency of late-diagnosed autism in adult women suggests that it’s more common in females than the childhood diagnosis rates imply.
Many autistic women don’t receive a diagnosis until they reach middle age. Those of us who are being diagnosed today in mid-life grew up during a time when Asperger’s was not yet an available diagnosis in the DSM. By the time we reached adulthood, we’d often mastered basic social skills, masking many of our autistic traits. It’s not until we learn about autism–often by chance, sometimes as part of researching a son or daughter’s diagnosis–that we have an aha! moment. Armed with our research, we set out on the road to confirming our suspicions, and eventually join the ranks of the late-diagnosed. That was my experience and I think it’s become the apocryphal late-diagnosis story.
Surprisingly, though, I’ve discovered that young women in their teens and twenties are often no better served than their mother’s generation when it comes to getting diagnosed. A system that is supposedly much better equipped to screen for autism than it was decades ago is still overlooking autistic girls.
Read the rest of this important piece: Hiding in Plain Sight: Diagnosis Barriers for Autistic Women and Girls – Autism Women’s Network