Frequently, for many reasons, girls are diagnosed later (on average up to 6 years later), missed or misdiagnosed, causing long term mental health problems with too many girls feeling too anxious to attend school as a result.
Currently the assessment tools used to screen for autism are male-centric. We want to see tools in place that reflect multiple presentations and needs so that no child’s need goes unrecognised or unsupported. We are currently pilot-validating the Internal Presentation of Autism Checklist that sits within our white paper Autism, Girls and Keeping it All Inside, so expect that to change soon. Our survey had 1123 responses in a week, so there are many people who feel strongly about having screening tools which feel representative. Our vision is for a system that enables autistic girls to thrive, to feel understood and to achieve the best educational outcomes.
Our aim is to raise awareness of autism in girls and others who present in an internal way with health, social care and educational professionals and to bring change. Not only to the way that autistic girls are assessed and subsequently supported but to the narrative, with updated and positive terminology used to describe autistic traits.
Our private Facebook group supports both autistic girls and women and their extended families, but there are many more who need our help. We are now a registered charity, fundraising to enable us to both fund projects which offer face to face support and campaign for real change.