So one of the things which happened over the last 6 weeks is that we finally got a Dx from Blanchardstown CAMHS in relation to my daughter. When the many, many pieces of diagnostic information and reports were put together is has been concluded by the team that she is on the Autism Spectrum and falls in to the criteria for ASD. ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder is the new term being used as Aspergers is being retired as a clinical term but it to my mind Aspergers is useful but I can understand why it’s being no longer used.
Girls who are on the higher functioning end of the Autism Spectrum present differently and are judged differently due to how they are socialized and our expectations of how children should behave based on generalizations of binary gender. It is more acceptable for girls to be shy, to be quiet, to be obsessive about certain things like my little pony.
One of the sites I was given as a resource which I have found to be very helpful is
Women and Girls on the Autism Sepctrum.
The difficulties in the diagnosis of girls and women arise if clinicians continue to use the narrow definitions set out in the International Classification Systems. It cannot be stressed enough that diagnosis and full assessment of needs cannot be carried out by following a checklist. Proper assessment takes time and detailed evaluation is necessary to enable a clinician to systematically collect information which not only provides a diagnostic label, but more importantly, a detailed profile of the person.
So diagnosing girls is harder do to gender bias, I had been concerned that due to how we run the house hold and explain things to my son and there for to my daughter that she wasn’t on the spectrum but rather picking up on his behavior but it turns out in supporting them both in similar ways we had been helping her cope so that we didn’t see as many melt downs, so it took longer to even get her on the list to be seen by the team and then it took many many months for them to have enough to confirm the diagnoses.
The research into women and girls on the spectrum has really only happened over the last 5 years so very little of it was around when I was desperately trying to educate myself about Autism after my son’s diagnoses 7 years ago. What I have been reading over the last 3 weeks has brought into focus more for me certain behaviors which is a good thing as I can now work with my daughter on them, esp things like this.
In our society, girls are expected to be social in their communication. Girls on the spectrum do not ‘do social chit chat’ or make ‘meaningless’ comments in order to facilitate social communication. The idea of a social hierarchy and how one communicates with people of different status can be problematic and get girls into trouble with teachers.
Yep, hopefully the copy of the report which will be going to her school will also help teachers to adjust.