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Assessment of women and girls

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The assessment of women and girls can sometimes be quite challenging for the diagnostic team. What are peoples' experiences and do you have any comments or ideas that you would like to share?

 

Edited on March 14, 2017 - 10:52am

AutismAdvocate

October 14, 2018 - 1:01am

It might also be worth looking on the charity Turn2Us website in case you can get charitable funding for a private assessment.

Jess

January 07, 2019 - 6:48pm

I find it offensive that one of the posters said Autistic girls have meltdowns at home, you don't know how strict (or controlling and frightening) their parents may be.

Not all girls diagnosed with Austism have meltdowns. In fact symptoms of Autism are the same as those of a child being abused and neglected. There are probably a thousand different conditions under the umbrella term Asperger's or 'Autism'. I think it's time to abolish the term Asperger's and the rest of the (hundreds of conditions) in the DSM and accept there will be some natural variation in any given society as a result of nature and nurture. Every single diagnosis is subjective, I bet none of your children have ever had an MRI scan and yet they have been damned for the rest of their lives now this is on their file.

AutismAdvocate

January 07, 2019 - 9:43pm

Jess wrote:

I find it offensive that one of the posters said Autistic girls have meltdowns at home, you don't know how strict (or controlling and frightening) their parents may be. Not all girls diagnosed with Austism have meltdowns. In fact symptoms of Autism are the same as those of a child being abused and neglected. There are probably a thousand different conditions under the umbrella term Asperger's or 'Autism'. I think it's time to abolish the term Asperger's and the rest of the (hundreds of conditions) in the DSM and accept there will be some natural variation in any given society as a result of nature and nurture. Every single diagnosis is subjective, I bet none of your children have ever had an MRI scan and yet they have been damned for the rest of their lives now this is on their file.

The person who posted about this was clearly only referring to the girls that do meltdown at home. Many autistic girls mask in school so home is the only outlet for their emotions and anxiety, hence meltdowns. 70% of autistics are in mainstream school and their needs are usually not adequately met. Hence school is a trigger and cause of anxiety, even though they usually hold it in at school. Most autistics, male or female, when put into a situation they could not cope with would have some form of meltdown. It's just that different autistics have different coping levels and it can be cumulative, especially with sensory difficulties.

There are not thousands of conditions under the term Asperger's because Asperger's is a distinct type of ASD. There are a few variations under the entire umbrella of ASD and it is admittedly heterogenous and with different causes, but that isn't thousands.

I agree some conditions should not be in the diagnostic manuals, (such as gaming addiction and grief), but ASD is not one of them. It is a disorder and to be diagnosed with it, people have to be significantly impaired. I recognise that some people who have a diagnosis of ASD reject the diagnosis and it can take some people a long time to come to terms with the diagnosis. Others find it a huge relief. I also recognise that the "neurodiversity" community has many outspoken members who refute the notion that ASD is a disorder and want to believe it's just a normal neurological difference. Obviously that isn't the case as there are in fact MRIs, fMRIs, biochemical testing and other medical ways of identifying abnormalities in autistic people. Neurodiverse proponents often say that autistics are "just wired differently" but that wiring is abnormal, because there are under connections in some areas and over connections in others, this is what produces the difficulties and deficits in ASD. However, conversely it also can produce splinter skills and savant skills, e.g. where the brain has extra wiring.

Some of the DSM/ICD diagnoses may be subjective but I would thorough refute that this applies to ASD as there is a recognised syndrome of symptoms known as the triad of impairments.  Autistic people can have many struggles and as stated, must be impaired significantly to be diagnosed. There are many benefits to receiving a diagnosis of ASD and without it, people are likely to struggle a lot more. Such as reasonable adjustments in education and employment, legal rights against discrimination, support to reach potential and identifying with others with the same condition for mutual support (feeling not alone with their struggles).

February 11, 2019 - 7:18pm

Hi, I’m 22 years old and I think I have autism. I’m too scared to go to my doctors, and I just want a diagnosis and some help. I always feel uncomfortable and not listened too when I go to the doctors so I never go. What else could I possibly do? And also are there any ways I can specifically talk to someone who is trained to help women with autism? I heard it’s harder for women to get a diagnosis? 

AutismAdvocate

February 14, 2019 - 1:05am

Hello Jordan. Yes you can go to your GP to request an assessment. I know it can seem very intimidating, but you can take someone with you, friend, parent, or other family member if you want support. I would advise completing the AQ10 questionnaire, it only has 10 questions and can give an indicating of whether a referral is a good idea, but this doesn't mean they shouldn't refer you if you don't meet a specific score. It's used as a GP screening tool, so if you complete it and take it along. You could also write an A4 list of bullet-points of traits you have that make you think you are autistic. Autistic females are underdiagnosed which is a shameful failing in the UK, but hopefully wherever you get referred to has some experience in females by now. Your GP should not refuse to refer you, but if they do, ask to see a different GP at the practice, because unfortunately there is still a lot of ignorance about autism among GPs. Here is the AQ10 and good luck: http://docs.autismresearchcentre.com/tests/AQ10.pdf

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