Autistic Women2024-03-15T19:18:36+00:00

Autistic Women

Discovering Autistic Identity: Unveiling the Journey of Women Diagnosed As Adults

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition and understanding of autism and how it presents differently, and a notable increase in the diagnosis rates of both children and adults. One trend that has emerged is autistic women being diagnosed in early adulthood or discovering their own neurodivergent identity after their children receive a diagnosis. We’ve even had women in their 80’s join our Facebook group having received a diagnosis after their daughter and granddaughter did.

For many years, autism was primarily viewed through a male lens, with diagnostic criteria and research heavily focused on boys and men. Consequently, countless autistic women went undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, often attributing their challenges to other factors such as anxiety or depression, and even being misdiagnosed with personality disorders. However, with advancements in understanding the complexity of autism and the recognition of its varied presentations, more women are embarking on a transformative journey of self-discovery, finding solace and validation in the autistic community.

The process of an autistic woman realising her own neurodivergent identity after her child’s diagnosis can be a profound and empowering experience. As they delve into the unique characteristics of their children, they often recognise familiar traits within themselves. This realisation ignites a quest for self-understanding, as these women begin to unravel a lifetime of experiences, challenges, and strengths through a new autistic lens (though of course they have always been autistic).

While the reasons for delayed diagnosis in women vary, societal expectations and gendered norms play a significant role. Autistic women often develop strategies to mask their autistic traits, mimicking socially accepted behaviours and conversation and camouflaging their struggles. This masking can be exhausting and lead to immense internal turmoil, resulting in a delayed recognition of one’s own autistic identity.

As more research and awareness about autism in women continue to emerge, diagnostic criteria need to evolve to encompass a broader range of experiences. Professionals are becoming better equipped to identify and diagnose autistic women, acknowledging the unique ways in which autism may present internally. This progress has paved the way for many women to finally understand themselves and seek the support they need.

The journey of self-discovery for these women is not just about understanding their own autistic identity; it is also about fostering a greater acceptance and understanding of autism in society as a whole. By sharing their stories, we hope to contribute to a more inclusive and compassionate world, where neurodiversity is celebrated and where all individuals, regardless of gender, can embrace their true selves.

AGN Resources

The workplace is a very demanding place, filled with a lot of sensory input and pressure. Not only do you have a lot of work to do, but you must meet targets to earn a living and keep your job. It isn’t like school where you get a do over, and depending where you work the pressure to be perfect is paramount.

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So you just found out you are pregnant and are wondering what to do next. Congratulations! you are at the start of your fabulous autistic pregnancy journey.

So like any journey you will need to prepare and have a toolkit and some friends you can call on if needed. Awesome, autistic and pregnant! There is a lot to consider and think about so let’s break it down.

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What to expect during your pregnancy
Some things are common and of no concern and other things need to be discussed with your Midwife.

Please always ask for advice if you are unsure or concerned about any symptoms or changes in your body or emotions. Never feel as though you cannot ask or don’t want to bother anyone.

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A letter template to give to your healthcare provider.

Dear Midwife/Health Professional

I am autistic. This means I can find some situations overwhelming and may need extra support and reasonable adjustments during my pregnancy, birth and post delivery.

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The support for autistic adults can be very minimal, if non-existent, and it can be a shock to the system when you’ve come from a school full of support. Losing your one-to-one, the teachers who know your needs or even school if it was a safe space is heart-breaking, so imagine then being told you don’t get any additional help when you’re an adult!

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Meltdowns are NOT temper tantrums, even though they can involve screaming, kicking, stamping feet etc. What parents have to realise is that meltdowns don’t overwhelmed by their experience, environment and emotions that their anger, sadness and frustration bursts out.

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The first step toward an autism diagnosis often begins with recognising early signs and seeking professional advice. Many women only begin to realise that they might be autistic when they go through the process of a child being diagnosed

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Recommended books

Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Adults
So, I'm Autistic: An Introduction to Autism for Young Adults and Late Teens
Drama Queen
Autistic and Expecting
The Undercover Autistic, Navigating Your Diagnosis

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On an internal presentation of autism and why it’s often missed.

A must read for both parents and education, health and social care professionals.

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