Let’s see what I care about today…

three abstract people figures talking to each other
I have the day off today.

It’s pretty amazing, actually. I generally work 7 days a week at things other people need me to do. I don’t usually mind it, but it’s a glorious luxury to be able to take some time to listen to music, read, research, and discover new writers I never knew about before.

My latest discovery is Randolph Bourne, a radical thinker of the early 1900s (he died at the age of 32), who had a fair amount to say about war, society, and so forth. I don’t know enough about him, just yet, to really say much… other than he’s my latest discovery. And since he came from a town in New Jersey I used to live near, there’s a little bit of a connection I feel — if it’s possible to connect with a complete stranger who’s long dead, who hailed from a part of the world I tend to associate with some very challenging times.

I’m trying to not drink any more coffee. As much as I’d love to, it gives me a headache if I drink too much…. Water, though! I’ll drink water. That’ll be good.

I really do enjoy lazy Saturdays like today. It gives me time to unwind and just think. My day-job is way too frenetic, with far too much activity and – God help me – so much at stake!!! – it does get tiresome, I have to say. All that excitement… And for good reason. I do work in a situation that calls for plenty of vigilance and hyper-diligence. It’s just part of it.

Still and all, I do relish the times when I’m not in the thick of that.

Reading and exploring… following links at websites that uncover whole essays preserved for the duration of the website’s life… reading the words of someone I actually agree with… taking a break from the churn-and-burn atmosphere of the still relatively freshly minted 21st Century… reading the words of someone who knew how to spell, how to punctuate, how to put words together without autosuggest or autocorrect or auto-punctuate. What a pleasure. And most of all, to read the words of someone not propelled ceaselessly forward by the relentless fight-flight frenzy of the digitally driven world.

As time goes by, as I realize more and more just how much the digital world (and electronically delivered media in general) have fried my autonomic nervous system, and the ANSes of countless other people around me… as I witness increasingly with each passing day, what harm that does to the very existence of complex, higher reasoning… as I find myself unable to either listen or respond to the hue and cry of the wrong-doers and the wronged, as each side is so profoundly limited by the rightness — the righteousness — of their respective positions, which refuses to budge an inch, a centimeter, a millimeter, in response to perceived “challenges”…

Sigh.

The whole thing just makes me tired. It has the same effect on me as a gall bladder attack — it’s exhausting in ways that are hidden but very present, which come upon me suddenly in a rush of illness that tells me in general that I’ve not taken good enough care of myself, but offers no immediate relief, only the gradual, eventual re-gaining of healthy ground, so I can just go about my regular business without the constant nag of pain and self-imposed suffering.

I do it to myself with my media exposure, as well as my lapses in diet… I do it to myself by getting sucked into outrage and disgust and frustration, like so much greasy food on a slipper plate. I invite this pain and suffering on myself. In the steady progression of my ill-considered, ill-managed choices, do it to myself.

So, today I’m undoing it.

Yeah, I’ve spent a bit of time on Twitter, poking around, here and there.

And while I got more than my daily dose of human folly, I also found a reference to Randolph Bourne, which has brought me plenty of joy, just in the last few hours. I’m going to marinate in that some more. Print out some pieces. And read the words of other writers who worked prior to our digital age. Simone Weil. The Stoics. Folks who actually put some extended thought into their work and based their words on consideration, rather than knee-jerk reaction.

Folks who invite me to do the same.

What do I care about today? Peace. Of mind. Of body. Of life. Just some peace. And the cultivation of conditions that foster it.

I may go out for a walk in a bit. Or I may work on my book. That remains to be seen. I need to do some work in my front yard… but it may rain, so maybe not.

Dunno. I’ll figure it out.

But whatever I do, I need to care about it.

Or I’m not going to bother.

Otherwise (autistically) engaged

broken window looking out at sky
Beyond the break, there is wide open freedom.

It’s Thursday. I’m tired. No, more than that. I’m exhausted. Dragging. Dulled down in a very uncomfortable way for me. I hate this. But there’s no escaping it, so I might as well make the best of it.

It’s going to take a while for me to recover from my business trip last week, And I’m not happy about it. Being this tired makes it hard for me to stick with my routine, but of course I need to do that. So I modify it somewhat. I shorten my work out. I spend less time on things like preparing and eating my breakfast. I set lower expectations for myself at work.

Work has been extremely demanding for me, lately, and I’m not happy about that. I keep falling behind in things, and that makes me incredibly uncomfortable. But then I realize that everyone is falling behind in their work, so that’s some small comfort. Even if I have a really hard time with it, I’m surrounded by people who still support me, who struggle with the same sorts of issues, and who aren’t about to chase me out the door because of it.

All in all, I really do like my job a lot. It’s just exhausting. I’m wiped out by Wednesday afternoon, and then I’m pretty much of a zombie for the last two days of the week. That’s where I am today. Fortunately, I can work from home tomorrow, and I can take a nap in the afternoon, which will be a help.

I don’t mind the challenge of my job. I welcome it. I could just do without the exhaustion. I think I’d enjoy it so much more if I could just stay rested.

The one thing that would change everything for the better, is being able to take a nap mid-day. If I could only lie down for an hour, each afternoon, I would be so much more productive. And I need to do that every single day, so I don’t fall behind.

I have talked to people about my trouble sleeping, and they have all encouraged me – even urged me in the strongest of terms – to not disrupt my sleep-wake cycles with naps, because supposedly that will throw off my circadian rhythm. But these people clearly have no idea how exhausted I am by the end of the day, and they don’t know what it’s like to have that cumulative effect of one exhausting day after another.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount, lately, about how I engage with the world. There of been a lot of conversations on Twitter, lately, about eye contact – and I shared a paper, recently, that pretty much says what we already know, albeit in scientific terms and with data to back it up. Also, people are talking about memory, and why we as autistic people remember things differently. My head is spinning with all these great ideas, and stuff is “gelling” in my head… just in chunky form. I’m sure there’s a common theme there… somewhere…

My understanding of memory is that it is a complex thing which is made up of a number of different components. In order to have a memory, first you have to create it. Certain parts of your brain have to be engaged to really make it salient – to make it stick. And then, you need to be able to retrieve it.

That might be why so much of my prior life is a blank. I’m otherwise engaged in the world around me, and I’m noticing things on a much more detailed level, than those big “meta” concepts and experiences.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but when I am in the thick of a situation that is innately challenging / hostile to my autistic character, I spend more brain and body cycles on navigating all of the sensory details and trying to sort through what it all means, rather than making specific memories about specific things. If somebody is talking to me about something I’m not particularly interested in, or I’m stuck doing something I don’t like, that also has an effect. I won’t necessarily invest the brainpower and really experiencing that fully enough to make any sort of enduring memory. Maybe it’s sticks, maybe it doesn’t, but there’s really no guarantee of anything.

And if someone is interacting with me or I’m experiencing life in a way that is completely overwhelming to me – someone is wearing too much perfume, the lights are too bright, the temperature is not hospitable, there’s a lot of background noise, someone feels the need to keep reaching out to touch me… or any number of other sensory inputs or intruding on my attention – there’s a slim chance that I will retain that in my memory banks. Detailed memory is probably not going to happen.

So, where does that leave me? I have huge gaps in my recollections about what went on in my life in the past days, months, and years. My family typically start conversations with me with a question “Do you remember…” and as often as not, my answer is, “No.”

I’m not sure anybody outside my head – except for the autistic folks who read this and my friends on Twitter – fully understands this phenomenon. I’m so busy parsing everything around me, that I can’t really engage fully with what’s in front of me.

Then again, I am engaged. I am involved. It might not be with the same things that everybody around me is engaged in, and I might not be making the same sorts of memories as the people around me, but I am engaged. Chances are, I am wrapped up in my own thoughts, parsing through data which I find a heck of a lot more compelling than what’s happening right in front of me, or I’m thinking about things in a completely different way than most people around me.

That’s really my strength – and when it works out – especially when I’m not exhausted. It’s a thing of beauty. I can live and interact in a world filled with people completely unlike me, and still bring my own unique perspective to the situations we are in. I can find profound joy and relief in my own particular interests, even while the rest of the world is operating in some parallel universe. They have their space, I have mine.

Somehow, I’ve figured out how to make peace with that — and make my differences work for me. I’ve adopted a persona, which I have refined over the course of decades, which works in social situations. I’ve developed a role – a performative mantle if you will – which secures a place for me in social situations. Neurotypical people seem to be comfortable with roles and performance of specific behaviors. So I’ve figured out how to do that in a way that is positive, constructive, and true to myself. Am I masking? Of course! Am I camouflaging? Of course! Everybody is, in the neurotypical world, and I think that’s something that autistic people tend to lose sight of – if we have sight of it at all, to begin with.

It’s a careful balance, of course. Balancing performance with actual essence, meeting the social requirements that will keep me out of trouble… along with being true to myself. Engaging with the world on my terms – albeit while making concessions to the larger whole. It’s not easy. And sometimes it’s not fun. And it’s exhausting. But there are enough rewards that it’s worth it for me.

I may be otherwise occupied while the rest of the world spins around me, but I am still engaged.

By saying that “Girls mask autism better”…

By saying that "girls mask autism better," you are effectively passing the blame on to them for not being able to diagnose them. Stop it.
By saying that “girls mask autism better,” you are effectively passing the blame on to them for not being able to diagnose them. Stop it.

Sharing: Mothers with autism: ‘I mothered my children in a very different way’ | Life and style | The Guardian



Being a girl or woman with autism is hard: it’s only in the past two to three years that many professionals have begun to recognise that the condition is not limited to boys and men. But what’s harder is to be a mother with autism – and harder than that, is to be a mother with autism, of children with autism.

Experts say that there is a hidden pool of mothers who have grown up with undiagnosed autism. These women often only recognise their own condition when researching their children’s symptoms.

Read the rest at: Mothers with autism: ‘I mothered my children in a very different way’ | Life and style | The Guardian

The most unexpected change

arrows in all directions

Something really interesting happened to me earlier today. I was talking to a friend of mine, who in the past has refused to believe I’m on the autism spectrum. At the time he refused to believe, I was pretty hurt, and I considered ditching the friendship. But this friend and I had more things in common than not, and I realized I was able to talk to him about things that I can’t really discuss with anybody else. He’s a total brain geek, and he’s got some deep and broad interests and experiences with many things brain-related.

I don’t have direct access to a lot of people with his background. So, I decided to keep him around as a friend — but not (ever!) bring up autism with him. It was pretty easy to do, because we had so much else to discuss.

We were just talking earlier today about fMRI scans and the Default Mode Network(s) in our brains. I don’t yet fully understand DMN, but it sounds fascinating. And for some reason the topic of autism came up. He was telling me about how fMRI scans show a direct correlation between certain types of connectivity in the DMN – or lack thereof – and autism. He said — with a straight face and in all earnestness, that this contributes to theory of mind problems in autism.

Deep cleansing breath… Pause to settle my startle and fight-back response…

I have to say, I’m very proud of myself for not flipping out over it. This friendship is one I really value, so I simply, calmly googled “default mode network” autistic adults, and I quickly found a paper (Sex Differences in the Default Mode Network with Regard to Autism Spectrum Traits: A Resting State fMRI Study) that shows how differently men’s and women’s scans turn out to be. I mentioned this to my friend, and my friend was genuinely glad to learn about it. I guess in all his 40+ years of neuroscience he’d never heard about the differences between men and women on the spectrum. I also forwarded him a link to the paper – which was as recent as the end of 2015 – so he could read it. He actually seemed happy and grateful to hear about it and get more information.

I think sometimes that our conversation nearly 10 years ago about how I can’t possibly be autistic, has stuck in his mind. I also think at times, he has got to be on the spectrum, because he is so excruciatingly detailed about things, so one-track-mind about certain interests, and he actually has many of the same autistic tendencies that I do. But, because he’s almost 20 years older than me and he’s been practicing deep in the heart of mainstream neuroscience, mostly in a different area than autism, his conception of autism is very different from my own. And he may not even realize that he’s on the spectrum.

The funny thing is, I’ve been toying with the idea of broaching the subject of him being on the autism spectrum for a number of weeks, now. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but it’s interesting to think about. Being the person I am, I can’t help but imagine about 100 different scenarios that could occur, each of them branching off a different decision tree in the imagined conversation.

But even if that never happens, at least today there was an inroad I was able to make with regard to this subject. I really value his friendship and would love to be able to discuss autism with him, because we are like two geeky brain nerds, when we get started talking about things. And it would be so much fun to be able to just be as artistic as we want to be, without having some overshadowing misconception diluting the conversation and making some of our characteristics seem like something they’re not.

Anyway, who knows what will happen… I’m just glad I have this friend, and that we talk on a regular basis. That will suffice, for now.

Sharing: The real story about autistic girls | Psychologies

Author and teacher Vicky Martin shares the inspiration behind her books M In The Middle and M Is For Autism – about giving voices to and smashing stereoptypes of girls on the autistic spectrum

Read this great piece at: The real story about autistic girls | Psychologies

How would you know if you were autistic? Sharing from Red Online

picture of a woman's face in three different aspects - large, small, line drawing
We are diverse. And you need to look deep to find what’s there.

Do you ever feel like you don’t quite fit in? Like everyone else knows ‘the rules’ of human relationships, except you? Of course you may wear your ‘otherness’ badge with pride and relish the sense that you’re just not like the rest, but it can also be a very lonely way to live.

I feel like everyone else is a PC and I’m a Mac – just ‘different’ rather than ‘less’ or ‘failing

Journalist and author Laura James says: “I always felt as if everybody else seemed to just ‘get it’ – whether it was friendship groups, relationships with boys or how to behave at mother and toddler groups once I became a mum. I always felt unsure of the unwritten rules. It’s had a major impact on my relationships and social interaction. When you get to your mid 40s and everything about you is weird you know something’s wrong”.

At 46, Laura was diagnosed with high functioning autism. “It’s completely controlled my life since early childhood – the way I mother my children and behave in my career and marriage. But it’s so difficult for others to see it”.

Basically Laura lives in fear. She’s always found that doing simple things that most of us would find merely slightly nerve-wracking or tiresome can be a source of abject terror. “Making small talk at a party makes me so fearful that I stay at home. I get so anxious about filling out forms that I’ve never applied for child benefit for any of my four children”.

Read the rest of this article at: Signs of autism | Mental health | Self – Red Online

Why #Autism / #Aspergers Diagnosis is so critical for women and girls – “Diagnosis” – A Year In – Colouring Outside The Lines

I’m sharing a great piece about the impact of an autism diagnosis for a 9-year-old girl and her family. Very hopeful!

A year ago, we received the official report; our quirky, funny, razor-sharp daughter was autistic (with a side-helping of ADHD just to keep us on our toes). So, what did that piece of paper change?

Put simply, everything and nothing.

It did not change the unconditional love we have for our daughter, it did not change our hopes & dreams & aspirations for her (and those she has for herself). She is as beautiful and talented as she was ‘before’, her eyes are just as sparkling blue and her laugh just as contagious. The moods are just as tricky to handle, the need for routine remains, she continues to battle through each day and we remain the proudest parents on the planet. It was not a magic wand, it does not guarantee lifelong support and it did not suddenly make the world a more autism friendly place but…

Read the rest of this hopeful post: “Diagnosis” – A Year In – Colouring Outside The Lines

The sun of my own universe

tree in snow with the sun shining aboveI’ve been thinking, lately, about how much my attitude about myself has changed in the course of my life. I actually have a pretty positive regard for myself, including my skills, my abilities, and my overall character.

This wasn’t always the case.

In fact, for most of my life – up until about five or six years ago – which would put me at about 45 years – I had such a profound disrespect for myself and such an intense dissatisfaction with just about everything about me, it was well nigh impossible for me to interact with other people as though I were an actual human being. Why would they want to? I was a reject. A terrible mistake of a human being. I couldn’t get anything right, couldn’t figure anything out, and everything promising that I started always came to naught.

It seems strange to think about it now, but I hated myself so intensely, and I could see no good reason that I was on the earth, other than to do the bidding of others. At least I was useful that way. Other people could always find a use for me. I hated everything about myself. I hated my face, my nose, my teeth, my ears, my hair, my posture, the shape of my legs, and just about everything that had to do with my personality, my abilities, and many other things that make me who I am.

From what I could tell, other people seemed to like me well enough, but I couldn’t see why they did. I thought that everybody else was just a flaming idiot, for not being able to see how useless piece of crap I was. And every time someone paid me a compliment or tried to get to know me, it made me dislike and detest them all the more. Who in their right mind would even bother with me, let alone pay me a compliment or try to get to know me?

Idiots. They didn’t know any better, and they were too stupid to figure it out.

It’s really pretty amazing, when I think back about it. My self-hatred was so intense and so all-encompassing, there was no chance for me to get started on anything substantive in life, or follow through, or reap the rewards of all my hard work, because I could not for the life of me believe that I actually deserved any of the rewards I might receive.

I was a waste of space and an oxygen thief. Nothing more.

I keep trying to figure out how I could have gotten to such a miserable state. Who thinks that about themself? Who actually believes something so completely off-base and untrue? I now know for a fact, I am not a bad person, I am not a waste of space, and I am not just taking up oxygen that someone more deserving should be using.

But I didn’t know that until about 5-6 years ago.

I think that Aspergers played a huge role in my self-image. It was so much a part of my life and my make-up, so much a part of me, and it shaped me in ways that really set me apart from the norm. Looking back, I see that that could have been a completely, totally excellent thing. Just like it’s a totally excellent thing now. But I lived in a world where very few other people shared my opinions or sensibilities — or the ones who did, covered them up.

I grew up in a world where everyone was expected to be exactly like everyone else, and if you did not uphold the norms, you were an outcast. Punished. Actually, the worst thing was not to be cast out, but to be pulled in even tighter under the iron fist of community cultural norm enforcement, and constantly bullied, coerced, threatened, insulted, belittled, and so forth – every conceivable technique being pulled out of the proverbial cultural toolbox — to force me to become the type of person that other people could tolerate.

A person I could never, ever be. And resisted becoming at every turn.

So, my basis for understanding who I was and how I was was fundamentally grounded in me not being right. I did not uphold the cultural norms. I could not uphold them. And the punishment came fast and furious, from every side.

Being my uber-Aspie self, at an early age, I developed a flawed logic around why I was being punished. If you were being disciplined, it was because you were a bad person. Because you’d earned it. In my mind, I thought I deserved the constant pressure and mistreatment. Everybody else seemed to think I did, so therefore it must have been true.

Another important element of that, was how bad I felt all the time. Physically, I was in a lot of discomfort from sensory extremes – mine, not the world’s – as well as tactile defensiveness. I had a terrible time with touch, as a kid, and I can’t remember ever wearing clothing that actually felt good to me. It was always scratchy or rough or painful in some way. And since I was in pain, and logically I deduced that the only time that you are caused pain is when you have done something to deserve it, I figured that it was my fault. I had done something to deserve all that pain. I was a terrible person who had earned the punishment.

Otherwise, why would it be happening?

I think that this was especially true, while I was menstruating. My periods were extremely difficult for me from the start, kicking off with several days of intensive PMS, which was always a very stressful emotional roller coaster. The days of intense, passionate upheaval were followed by a day and a half of crippling pain, vomiting, confusion, and not feeling like I was even in my body. After I spent a while throwing up, my body seemed to right itself, and I could get on with my life. But every single month, it was same series of lost days, the same useless hours and hours and hours of intense stress and suffering.

And that took its toll.

The great irony is, although I thought I wanted kids when I was younger – probably just a knee-jerk response to what the world around me expected me to do – I never had any desire to bear or raise children. So all that pain was for absolutely no purpose. It was just a phenomenal waste of time and energy and human spirit.

I’ve heard about some women choosing to have hysterectomies. I believe Temple Grandin actually had an elective hysterectomy, and that choice probably would have made a lot of sense for me. Then again, normal hormonal fluctuations and profiles – if you can call what I experienced “normal” – are a big part of what I believe gives women a certain intuitive advantage in life. I’m just sad that the price was so high, in my case.

Ever since I entered menopause, things have calmed down considerably, and I have noticed a real correlation between myself regard, and the absence of a monthly cycle. It’s really pretty phenomenal, when I think about it, to not be on that monthly roller coaster of intense stress – and at the same time trying to maintain a regular life, staying functional through everything, despite crippling pain, nausea, confusion, and being just a shadow of myself. Not having to deal with any of that for the past five years, has made a tremendous difference. It’s also translated to my self-image. I’m much better now, thank you very much.

I sometimes wonder how much might be possible, if women on the spectrum were properly educated about their cycles, as well as given the proper tools to deal with the ups and downs. I don’t know if that would have made a difference in my earlier youth and adulthood, but I do know that menopause has made a tremendous difference for me now. Of course, the standard-issue doctors get all worked up over my “premature” menopause, telling me that my life is going to be cut short by x-number of years, for every year my end of cycle is premature. People love to get all worked up over that stuff, but I actually have a history in my family of women going through early menopause, and they lived to be close to 100, so all the alarmist doctors can just take a hike, as far as I’m concerned.

But I feel like I veered off course, and I’m not sticking with what I meant to talk about.

Self-regard… self-respect… and just not being a mean-spirited bastard to yourself, is a new experience for me. Hooray for menopause, and hooray for my growing sense of consideration for myself. For the first time, I feel like I can genuinely see, recognize, and fully appreciate my strengths and my skills. And I can see very clearly and logically, that I actually am a really cool person with a lot to offer. Everybody who told me otherwise over the years, punishing me for being different, punishing me for not being exactly like them… they were wrong. So very wrong.

And that’s what I have to remember, as I embark on a family drama around aging parents in declining health. I am the oldest in my family, and I am the one most able to take care of my folks, in times of emergency. This is one of those times. It’s hard enough trying to reason with frightened parents who are experiencing cognitive decline, and who are surrounded by people who make terrible medical and lifestyle choices, themselves, but when the parents you’re working with have also treated you like crap for most of your life, and laid the groundwork for your terrible self-image with their judgment, their heavy-handed, fundamentalist, hetero-normative, socially violent discipline, over decades of shame and coercion, things get even more interesting.

So, I guess this is a test of how I’m doing in terms of my self-image. And it’s a test of how well my logic can withstand the onslaught of cultural bias, hetero-normative prejudice, and narrow-minded adherence to norms and standards which serve no purpose other than to cement the power of a small group of people and let them feel superior about themselves.

Life is full of tests, and this is just another one. That’s what I have to keep in mind, as I move forward into drama lasting days and weeks and months… possibly years to come. The people who I am helping, have been actually very cruel to me over the years, but that can’t stop me from doing the right thing for them, making sure they are taken care of, and making sure that they get the best medical care possible.

How ironic, that the one person who can help them the most, is the person they probably treated the worst for so many years.

Well, so it goes. I know I am not the first person to have this experience. I have heard many such stories (black sheep of the family gets to take care of Mom and Dad) in the course of my life. I can’t get spun up about it, and I can’t let it get to me. I just have to keep on, making the right decisions for the right reasons, regardless of what my parents think about me, what my siblings say about me, but what my parents’ harebrained immediate social circle tries to enforce.

There’s always the chance, too, that all of my efforts will be in vain, and everything will fall to pieces for no good, logical reason. It’s entirely possible – and actually likely – that everything I try to do to help will be pushed away and rejected. But I still have to try.

Because I know now, after all these years, that I am not a freak, not a reject. I’m not the loser, the weirdo, that everyone treated like a useless waste of space for so many years. On the contrary, I have every right to be here, I have every right to respect myself, and all of the evidence is there that I actually do make considerable contributions to my world, even if I’m not rich and famous, even if I’m not the darling of their community. That’s the role my siblings play.

I’m strong. I’m resilient. In situations of intense stress, I’m impervious to panic — that comes later, when the dust has settled. I’m resourceful, insightful, and I can be extremely persuasive, when I put my mind to it. I might have a hell of a time talking to my own doctor(s), but I can communicate with others’ much better. I’m great at both strategy and tactics. I’m the sort of person you want on your team. I know that now. It took me 45 years to realize it, but here I am.

Ta da!

So, another day comes, more medical developments emerge, and life goes on. I’m just one small person in the world, and maybe I don’t have a lot of consequence in the grand scheme of things, but I am the sun of my own universe, and that means something.

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