Girls on the Spectrum

I came across a guest post written by Catherine Fozard, a woman who was diagnosed with ASD at 31. The experiences that she shares are frustrating yet also compelling. She encountered mis-diagnosis, mis-information, and mis-understanding for too many years. 25 years ago, a diagnosis of autism was seldom given to anyone, let alone a girl. I, too, remember when Ryan was three years old and a psychiatrist, who was reviewing his eligibility request, said: “He can’t have autism – he talks in sentences.” I was shocked that a professional in the field would believe such a statement! Fortunately, these comments (I hope) don’t occur in today’s well-informed society.

julia

Sesame Street deliberately chose to make their new character with autism a girl, hoping to bring greater awareness to the differences between boys and girls on the spectrum.

Still, we know that some misconceptions continue. There is a need to expand our knowledge about autism as it relates to girls. For Women’s History Month, I wrote a blog on why girls with autism are diagnosed later, and less frequently, than boys are. (You can read the full article here.) We know that ASD is about 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189), but in fact we have little understanding of the roots of these differences.*

Part of what I found so moving in Fozard’s article was her challenge to us to help create more awareness of the struggles of girls with autism and the adversity they face every day, in the hope that we can create a better support system for them. As she says, “the world is hard enough without having to go it alone.” I was fortunate not to have to “go it alone” because of my network of family, friends, and supporters who walked with me on my journey with Ryan. And yes, the journey continues!

Read Fozard’s complete article here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2016/07/20/invisible-girls-autism-spectrum

*Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

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