“What are autism symptoms women?”
Technically it’s autism symptoms IN women (+1 for the search crawl).
Now, for the everyone who matters … It is BRUTALLY FRUSTRATING knowing HOW.MUCH.I.HAVE.BEEN.THROUGH. being neurodivergent and not diagnosed.
I was wrongfully prescribed:
Lithium, resperdol, seroquel, xanax, klonopin, ambien, prozac, and zoloft.
I had multiple suicide attempts, I 5150-ed myself, seizures and years worth of “dizzy spells” that an MRI nor an Echo (heart exam) could say definitively – a ha! “This is what it is?!”
Instead, I was deemed “unremarkable” (a term used in analyzing an MRI), and told to “lower my stress levels.”
I have two very real conditions, I’m autistic and I have synesthesia.
Both conditions lead to sensory processing issues that directly affected my health, but doctors did not know to test for.
This article focuses on autism and why women have gone misdiagnosed/ underreported, and some symptoms I experience that might start your own autism spectrum discovery.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects individuals differently, but traditionally, it has been thought of as being more common in males than females. However, recent research suggests that many girls and women with autism may go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed due to differences in how autism presents in females.
There are several reasons why women with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have historically gone undiagnosed or been misdiagnosed.
Here are a few possible explanations:
- Diagnostic criteria based on male presentation: Historically, diagnostic criteria for autism were based on observations of males with the condition. This means that the diagnostic criteria may not fully capture the unique ways that autism presents in females. For example, females with autism may have better social communication skills or may be better at masking their difficulties in certain contexts, which can make it more difficult to recognize the condition.
- Lack of awareness and understanding: There has been relatively little research on autism in females, which has contributed to a lack of awareness and understanding of how the condition presents in women. This has led to a common misconception that autism primarily affects males.
- Gender bias in diagnosis: Some researchers have suggested that there may be a gender bias in diagnosis, with clinicians being more likely to recognize and diagnose males with autism than females. This may be due in part to the fact that the diagnostic criteria are based on observations of males and may not fully capture the unique ways that autism presents in females.
- Camouflaging and masking: Females with autism may be more likely to camouflage or mask their difficulties in social communication and interaction, which can make it more difficult to recognize the condition. For example, they may be better at imitating social behaviors or may have developed coping strategies to help them navigate social situations.
I hit ALL OF THE ABOVE on why I wasn’t diagnosed. I was born in the 80s, and autism (at that time) wasn’t even considered possible for girls to also have it.
The term “spectrum” didn’t even come into the DSM (aka the tool that they use to diagnose conditions like autism) until 1994 (with a revision in 2000).
The tests were only measured for how autism appears in boys.
Doctors didn’t even believe it was a “thing” for women AND SOME STILL DON’T!
That term is called “medical sexism” (or gender bias as noted above).
Medical sexism refers to the bias, discrimination, and mistreatment that women and individuals of marginalized gender identities face in healthcare settings.
It is a serious issue that can have negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of women and individuals of marginalized gender identities.
Alrite alrite, so how do you take your power back?
By educating yourself about symptoms.
Some possible symptoms of autism in women include:
- Social communication challenges: Like males, females with autism may struggle with social communication challenges, such as difficulty understanding social cues or engaging in reciprocal conversations. However, females may be better at masking or camouflaging their social difficulties in certain contexts, which may make it harder for others to recognize the challenges they are experiencing.
- Sensory sensitivities: Females with autism may also experience sensory sensitivities, such as hypersensitivity to certain sounds, textures, or smells. They may also be more sensitive to social stimuli, such as touch or eye contact.
- Difficulty with social imagination: Individuals with autism may struggle with social imagination, such as difficulty imagining different perspectives or predicting how others may react in certain situations. In females, this difficulty may manifest as difficulty with social decision-making or a tendency to become overly focused on rules or routines.
- Narrow interests: Females with autism may also have narrow interests or hobbies, similar to males with autism. However, their interests may be less socially stigmatized and may be more aligned with typical female interests, such as animals or crafts.
- Anxiety and depression: Females with autism may also be more likely to experience anxiety and depression, possibly due to the challenges they experience related to social communication and interaction.
It is important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to females with autism and may also be present in males with the condition. However, recognizing these symptoms in females may help improve understanding of autism in women and lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention.
What are high-functioning autism in females symptoms?
The term “high functioning” is an outdated phrase and are actually harmful to understanding autism.
It’s like judging a book by its cover and it doesn’t take into account that level of functioning fluctuates continuously depending on so many factors.
For a lot of Autistic people their functioning level fluctuates daily depending on environmental factors, sensory needs, physical health and mental health.
People often experience a persons Autism mildly when the Autistic person doesn’t. What we experience and go through often isn’t something that’s seen on the outside!
The bottom line of it all is functioning levels/ labels are like judging a book by its cover. It doesn’t give you the full picture or knowledge of what it’s like for that Autistic person and what they go through. Some Autistic people mask their Autism so you can never really be able to tell what someone’s level of functioning is. People need to stop making assumptions.
It. Is. A. Game. Changer. Now. Knowing. I’m. Neurodivergent.
I have had multiple friends tell me that I literally look like a different person now. It’s SUCH a relief now having an operating manual of sorts to my life. It’s like I had this massive boulder I’ve had to push uphill in life and now I can identify what symptoms I’m experiencing and adjust either my physical or mental state.
If you even THINK you may be neurodivergent, please feel free to reach out. I’m super happy to help.
It. Does. Get. Better.