Autism in Girls & Women

My 36 year old son has just received the diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder. There is some blame directed towards me for his not having been diagnosed earlier, though also relief as he has suffered from anxiety and depression for some time and this diagnosis seems to explain a lot to him.

The fact of the matter is that I was called to his school when he was in Grade 1 because of behavioural difficulties. The Child Guidance Officer had tested him and his IQ was very high, I was told his brain functioned, in some aspects, at the level of a 10 to 12 year old. He was 5 at the time. I was told he was “gifted” and the behavioural difficulties were due to boredom. After that the school were able to work with him more individually.

I have contacted a service which provides information about autism, and found the following:

  • There is nothing that as a parent I could have done to change anything, and am not to blame;
  • There has been much less awareness of the highly intelligent cohort of those who have autism;
  • Similarly, women and girls who have autism have long been missed due to their ability to adapt and fit in, and not fitting the criteria which has been based on male presentation of autism.

I say this because in the past few years when I was extremely burnt out with physical and mental health issues, this was one of the areas I researched. I could relate to growing up and taking my cues from those around me. A blessing in some ways, being in a fundamentalist Christian cult made that easier. I was on the point of having a Skype session with a psychologist who herself has been diagnosed as an Aspie. But as with all these assessments, the costs are high and I didn’t go ahead.

Then this morning I came across the article on SBS website:

Madeleine Ryan (above)

Aspie Superpowers & Strengths


  1. Have recently learned a good deal more about this from a personal point of view. Knowledge and understanding really do help to take away some of the frustrations and the bewilderment. It has helped with acceptance and managing expectations, and contributed to an all-round better way of being together. It’s good of you to share this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hmmm, I had a similar experience with my son, at a similar age. Was diagnosed as gifted rather than autistic by the leading expert in the field. His levels of anxiety, depression and meltdowns fluctuated depending on how supportive his environment at school was. He fell apart in Year 12, dropped out of school and life for 3 years. Now he is due to start his PHd and is 30, identifies with many autistic signs but not enough to be on the spectrum. Would it have helped him if he had a diagnosis? Maybe – Maybe it would have helped the school as there was funding for a teachers’ aid. He did not need that, so I feel it would only have limited him, but may have provided him with some comfort in that there was a reason he felt so low. Hindsight is not a useful tool. Don’t beat yourself up about it.The diagnosis happened when the time was right. How does he feel about it?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your son’s story which of course is part of yours as his mother. You must be so proud of him as he embarks on his PhD. My son is relieved at the diagnosis as it has helped explain a lot, but our relationship is not close, so do not know much more than that. I do believe, in my better moments, that things do happen when the time is right.


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