Hiding in Plain Sight: Diagnosis Barriers for Autistic Women and Girls – Sharing from the Autism Women’s Network

Written by Cynthia Kim, AWN Contributing Writer on October 17, 2013

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.

A woman's face peers out from behind multicolored foliage.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


2 thoughts on “Hiding in Plain Sight: Diagnosis Barriers for Autistic Women and Girls – Sharing from the Autism Women’s Network

  1. so frustrating.
    and it’s so ricockulously expensive… and since the shrinks seem only to be interested in pushing prescription psyhotropic drugs (instead of anything else) – is there any practical good to be expected for hunting for the dx? can you get any training or counceling or actual support after a dx? it’s like with other disabilities in a way, if you’ve got a shitty eyesight but don’t yet quite qualify to have the magic word to describe it (that would be legally blind), just… learn to try to do thibgs yourself, wondering why you don’t quite fit in

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VisualVox

      For me, the main purpose of getting a dx was to make sense of my life and understand the larger pattern to it all – which actually makes it possible to live my life with meaning – and purpose. Medical support, I don’t need. Scientific verification – that’s what I’ve craved. And not until 6 months ago, did it even have a chance of happening. All these years… I have to wonder how my life might have been different, had I simply had validation of my own deductions – and not constantly second-guessed myself. Well, what’s done is done. Just gotta keep on. And so I shall.

      Liked by 2 people

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