What you see is not what you get: life as a female autistic – sharing from Standard Issue

What you see is not what you get: life as a female autistic

Just because you can’t see autism, doesn’t mean it’s not there, says Sarah Hendrickx. Inside might be another woman just waiting to go home and do a little flap.

A few years back, in my early 40s, I was diagnosed as autistic. By this time, I had written six books on autism, completed a Masters degree in autism, delivered nearly 1,000 autism training/conference sessions and worked with several hundred autistic people in a professional capacity.

You may think it strange that it took me so long to work out but it’s less of a conundrum when you understand the history of autistic females, of which I am one of many with this late diagnosis.

Historically, autism has been considered to be a predominantly male condition. This has never been true. Original samples in research papers focused on male children. This was perpetuated over the years and resulted in the development of a profile of autism based largely on characteristics seen in boys.

And guess what? If you’re essentially looking for the components of a boy, you’ll find a boy. So, you can see that if your starting point is skewed, with the subsequent decades of research producing an increasing evidence base, along with generations of diagnostic clinicians who have been taught using this skewed evidence base, this leads us to an inaccurate autism diagnostic ratio of males and females.

Read the rest here: What you see is not what you get: life as a female autistic – Standard Issue

6 thoughts on “What you see is not what you get: life as a female autistic – sharing from Standard Issue

  1. kaptionthisblog

    A lot of my traits that spill over publically can be written off by others as symptomatic of something they already have an experience of; such as moody menopausal woman, irate PMTer, a slow old person, a depressed PTSDer. I can use those to cloak myself with no effort from me, other than to rein in my obvious autistic traits.

    In the realm of romantic relationships, males have never understood why the public face is so different to the one they begin to see behind closed doors. It was a natural response from me to hide those ugly parts of myself, especially as I got through puberty and sought a life like others. All the males I’ve been involved with have not liked what lies behind the mask.

    I understand Sarah’s reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. kaptionthisblog

        Bingo. Excatly that. Sometimes I even wonder what the point of de-masking is. Seems to take a huge amount of effort to put up with the BS that comes from being de-masked.

        If I’m gonna pass, I may as well do it in a kick arse Wonder Woman costume.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. VisualVox

        Oh, yeah! Keep that costume handy. Personally, I’ve come to believe that most of the neurotypical people I interact with actually want the whole world to mask – to play certain roles in the world, to make everyone easier to understand and interact with. Anyway, I just equate it with speaking the language of the country I’m in. Am I in Aspie-land? On the planet Autisma? No… not yet. So, to survive (and thrive) I need to learn the language of the people around me, and learn to speak it fluently. That doesn’t make me any less “me”, it just makes me fluent in NT. And that’s not an entirely awful thing.

        Does get tiring, tho’

        Liked by 1 person

      3. kaptionthisblog

        Tiring? For sure! That is why I need time off the NT fairground ride.

        Fluency in NT is handy though. Especially now I know what my mother tongue is.

        Liked by 1 person

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