Thursday, June 5, 2008

Recent Article Provides More Insights About Girls With AS

Yesterday I wrote a post on an article speculating why girls on the spectrum, particularly those with Aspergers Syndrome (AS) may not get a diagnosis. I agreed with the author that girls with AS may be wired to blend in better than their male counterparts, but also noted that this doesn't mean that girls with AS have it easier socially than boys on the spectrum.

The article I'm posting about today is titled "It's not just boys who are autistic". The author, Joanna Moorhead, profiled a woman with AS who thinks boys on the spectrum experience less social conflict than girls. At the time of the interview, it had been ten years Robyn Steward was diagnosed at age eleven.

At that age," she [told Moorhead], "boys aren't connecting with one another so much, but for girls it's so cliquey. Also, the stuff I was interested in seemed even more weird in a girl than a boy. It was mostly computers and music with me - boys can get away with being a bit obsessive, but it seems more strange in a girl."

In response to the article, one woman with AS wrote a lengthy comment. Bridget Orr noted that "just because you don't see women with Aspergers doesn't mean we're not here. [...] The newsletters my mother received from the local autistic society always featured a blank but crying young boy. I used to go to special schools and classes that were dominated by rowdy and moody boys, and even the misconceived stereotype of people with autistic spectrum disorders is that of a humourless and awkward-looking nerdy man with an attitude problem. I am offended most by the "awkward-looking" part. Like the girls and women featured in Joanna Moorhead's piece, I too have struggled to fit in with the mainstream and also the autistic subculture."

My thoughts: Other than not getting a diagnosis as easily as boys, I don't really know if girls are any better or any worse off than boys. It does seem apparent that there are benefits and drawbacks to being either gender in regards to having autism. (One can say the same about being neurotypical.) The issues that a person faces may depend on what gender they are, although problems/issues often depend on the individuals strengths and weaknesses as well.

1 comment:

Marla said...

It makes sense because the social world of girls is way more complicated anyway, I think. Girls and women are complicated, often manipulating and difficult to deal with. I can't imagine M managing the social world that she would face in the fifth grade. I feel it would be like throwing her in with a pack wolves. She would be the lamb. She just has no clue how it all works.