Over the past several years, new resources, information, and communities have emerged that specifically celebrate, communicate, and illuminate the unique experiences of girls and women diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. As such, we at Elevated Insights Assessment want to share our collection of resources and materials related to autism in the female population to help our families grow in their knowledge, connect with various communities, and better support themselves or their loved ones who could benefit from the below information.
EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS ON GENDER DIFFERENCES
- Are Girls with Autism Hiding in Plain Sight? is an informative article reviewing early gender differences in symptoms and behaviors of boys and girls with ASD. This piece also explores possible reasons why girls and women are often diagnosed much later than males.
- The Asperger/Autism Network released the article, Asperger and Autism Spectrum: Women and Girls that briefly reviews common experiences females with autism may encounter across her lifespan, societal stigma, mental health concerns common in female autism populations, sexuality matters, and common struggles in motherhood unique to ASD.
- The Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN) is an online organization that seeks to “provide community, support, and resources for Autistic women, girls, nonbinary people, and all other marginalized genders.” AWN offers a welcome packet for both new community members and parents seeking information, support, and community.
- Via Meetup, Women with Asperger’s is a community of women on the autism spectrum that “create a safe and fun place to grow, learn and thrive through social and educational events.” They are based out of Englewood, Colorado.
- The Autism Asperger Connections of Colorado Springs organizes several support and social groups around Colorado. Presently, they have any ongoing Women on the Spectrum Social and Support Group (Age 18+).
RELATED READINGS ABOUT THE FEMALE AUTISM EXPERIENCE
Books, Articles, Blogs, and Talks by Female Authors with Autism/Asperger Syndrome:
- Women from Another Planet? Our Lives in the Universe of Autism is “a collection of stories and conversations, all of them by women on the autism spectrum who speak candidly, insightfully, and often engagingly about both their gender in terms of their autism and their autism in terms of their gender.”
- Miller, J.K. (Ed.). (2003). Women from Another Planet? OurLlives in the Universe of Autism. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
- Rosie King is a storytelling activist who raises awareness about autism and who gave the TedTalk, How Autism Freed Me to Be Myself.
- Sisterhood of the Spectrum: An Asperger Child’s Guide to Life provides an “inspirational guide to life for teenager girls with Asperger syndrome.”
- O’Toole, J.C. (2015). Sisterhood of the Spectrum: An Asperger Child’s Guide to Life. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
- It All Made Sense When We Found Out We Were Autistic is a collection of interviews of seven women from the UK that were not diagnosed until adulthood.
- Musings of an Aspie: One Woman’s Thoughts About Life on the Spectrum is an informational blog/website that covers a wide range of topics (i.e., personal acceptance, adult diagnosis, Asperger’s and marriage, Asperger’s and motherhood, etc.). Additionally, Musings of an Aspie offers several book recommendations for women and others diagnosed with ASD.
OTHER RELATED READINGS
- The Lost Girls article walks through the experiences of a woman named, “Maya,” detailing the common struggles that many women with autism experience related to misdiagnoses, being diagnostically overlooked, feeling misunderstood and disconnected, the battles with anxiety and depressive symptoms, and the obstacles to getting the help they need.
- The Costs of Camouflaging Autism explores the various gender differences in autism that often result in them being overlooked by clinicians, professionals, educators, and parents, as well as discussing why many girls and women “camouflage” their social difficulties.
- Girls Growing up on the Autism Spectrum “covers all the concerns commonly faced by girls with ASDs and their parents, from periods and puberty to worries over friendships and ‘fitting in.’” Additionally, this book “addresses core issues such as cognition, communication, behavior, sensory sensitivities, and social difficulties; it gives candid and realistic advice on a wide range of important teenage topics.”
- Nichols, S., Moravick, M., & Tetenbaum, S.P. (2009). Girls Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum: What Parents and Professionals Should Know About the Pre-Teem and Teenage Years. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
- Aspergirls’ author, Rudy Simone guides the reader “through every aspect of both personal and professional life, from early recollections of blame, guilt, and savant skills, to friendships, romance, and marriage.” This book also contains reflections from 35 women diagnosed with ASD, as well as from partners and parents.
- Simone, R. (2010). Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Finally, we at Elevated Insights Assessment are ALWAYS looking to expand our resources. Feel free to email any additional related resources that you or your family may have found helpful to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Written by Dr. Jenna Scott