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  • Writer's pictureSonia Neale

Mental Wellness and Females on the Autism Spectrum Condition (Formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome)

Autism in males and females presents differently. Autism is not a mental illness as such (which is why researchers are using the word ‘condition’ rather than ‘disorder. There is less stigma around the wording), rather it is more a way of how someone’s thought processes or neuro-divergent thinking occurs, rather than neuro-typical thinking.

Females with ASC do not have the same symptoms as males with ASD which is why so many girls are not diagnosed at an early age, although that is starting to change now. Girls tend to get a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder or other types of personality disorders. It used to be that only boys were diagnosed with ASC because the behaviours and thought processes were very overt.

In comparison, girls mask their social behaviours, emotions and even thoughts, thus suppressing their natural personality. They can cope by copying other girls with hair, makeup, clothes, mannerisms. and other social skills, such as empathy, so they can work out what is socially acceptable and what is not.

Neuro-typical girls can be mean girls or juvenile psychopaths to girls both higher and lower on the spectrum. They seem to fall into three categories, cruel, indifferent or compassionate. If you don’t conform to some invisible standard, or if your awkwardness, or weirdness stands out, then you are considered “other.” “Other” meaning different and different can be somewhat threatening to a certain type of neuro-typical girls.

Boys tend to not copy others, but their social skills and picking up on social cues is not well developed. ASC boys can be horribly bullied and harassed by other neuro-typical boys. Usually in the physical sense. No matter where you are on or off the spectrum, being bullied and harassed are not ok.

Part of both male and female on the spectrum can be a “special interest” such as superior knowledge, memory and understanding of something quite unique, which is a kind of cool “super-power.” Most neuro-typical people have interests as well. But it is not so much the interest but the intensity of the interest, which can become an obsession. The professions of medicine, engineering and psychology, maths, science, literature and art are filled with people on the spectrum. But not always. Not everyone has a special talent, skill or understanding.

We need to celebrate differences. People who are thought to be on the spectrum include Dan Aykroyd - Actor and Film Writer, Albert Einstein - Scientist & Mathematician, Daryl Hannah - Actress & Environmental Activist, Anthony Hopkins – Actor, Heather Kuzmich - Reality TV Contestant & Model, Tim Burton – Movie Director, and Henry Cavendish – Scientist.

There is a link below which is an unofficial check-list for girls on the spectrum

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