Aspienwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome

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Aspienwomen : Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome (Updated May 10, 2014)

The following list is an official detailed working screener document consisting of the unique characteristics and traits of adult women with Asperger Syndrome, or Aspienwomen. It is not a research-based formal assessment tool. This list comes from the many female women I have worked with over the years. I have assessed, observed, diagnosed and worked with hundreds of girls and women of all ages. This document is based on my clinical anecdotal evidence and research by other well-known professionals. I will be modifying and/or updating this list from time to time. This list was written from my reflections, observations and experience, and is written in no particular order. No-one person needs to have every trait, and it is rare that a person would identify with every trait. ***Please be mindful that research often lags behind anecdotal, observational and clinical work.

Tania is currently co-authoring a book for professionals tentatively entitled “Assessment of Autism Spectrum and Asperger’s in Females: Comprehensive diagnostics and treatment planning for girls and women with autism spectrum conditions across the lifespan”.

The following profile was created for females who are self-diagnosing or considering formal diagnosis and to assist mental health professionals in recognizing Asperger Syndrome in adult females.

Females with Asperger Syndrome experience their symptoms in varying levels, so while some Aspienwomen are highly introverted, others are not. Many women would not meet formal criteria for a diagnosis due to their coping mechanisms. They would be defined as “sub-clinical” or having “residual Aspergers”. Females with Asperger Syndrome or Autism tend to be discriminated due to the wide spectrum of abilities or levels of functioning that exists. The majority of females do not receive a formal diagnosis until well into their adult years.

This list typifies many of the middle-aged Aspienwomen I have worked with. These traits also depend to some extent on the severity, whether you’ve been assessed and diagnosed and/or receives support and intervention, and also whether there is a co-existing condition(s) (for e.g., a personality disorder) present.

1.  Cognitive/Intellectual Abilities

Tend to have high average to genius intelligence, often (but not always) with significant splits between verbal and perceptual reasoning abilities, lower working memory and/or processing speeds, learning disabilities (for e.g., dyscalculia, dyslexia, reading comprehension)

Superior long-term memory

Weaker short-term memory

May need academic accommodations in University

A distinct learning profile consisting of a spikey profile of strengths and weaknesses, learning disabilities/differences

May be plagued by rigid negative thinking, inflexible black or white thinking style

2.  Education/University Life

May have dropped out of high school and gone back later, or may have repeated a grade. May have unfinished or partial degrees, may have many finished degrees, many have Doctorate of PhD level qualifications. Many have taken longer to achieve their education, as compared to their peers.

May have a history of enrolling and attending university classes, followed by dropping out of classes or semesters. Sometime later, she then re-enrols/attends later on, in life. This is usually due to be overloaded and overwhelmed. A history of deferring exams, not attending classes, dropping out of classes or programs, is common.

May have repeated high school or courses OR dropped out completely.

A history of many doctors and counsellors visits throughout university life, without any significant improvement

Difficulty taking the same amount of courses or classes as her peers

May get lost on campus easily, lose possessions, be late for classes or exams

3.  Career/Work

Often drawn to the helping, artistic or animal professions, and often an “expert” in her chosen field. I know of many Aspienwomen who are successful in the following careers: Artists, singers, actors, poets, writers, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, special needs teachers/consultants, horse trainers/whisperers, doctors, scientists, accountants, authors, childcare workers, models, comedians, artists, computer-related specialists, animal handlers or zoo keepers, university professors, nurses, psychics/mediums, entrepreneurs and photographers.

May miss days of work due to social exhaustion

May find great difficulty attending/participating in staff meetings, lunch breaks, work social events

May make up excuses for not attending work/staff functions

May have a history of being unable to cope with work/employment environments, often moving from job to job, especially in younger adult years

Hard-working conscientious worker

May get stressed if have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time

May become frustrated/stressed if asked to do too many things at once

Tries very hard to avoid making mistakes, forgetting things

Tries hard to please others

May burn bridges (for e.g., walk out or quit jobs or relationships without notice)

4.  Social and friendships/relationships

Preference for one-on-one social interactions, single close friendships

Need more time away from people than their peers (solitude)

May experience stress, anxiety and confusion in social group or group work situations

Strong preference to engage in conversation related to their special interest

Strong dislike for social chit-chat, gossip, nonsense, lies or conversation that lacks a ‘function’ to it, but some are known to engage in it themselves

A history of being bullied, teased, left out and/or not fitting in with same-age peers, unless she had/has similar “Aspie” friends

An intense dislike of lies, but may lie herself

Has an ability to socialize, however is unable to do so for long periods of time. Suffers from “social exhaustion” or a “social hangover” when socializing too much. The hangover can last hours to days, which can be debilitating

Experience great difficulty with conflict, arguments, being yelled at, fighting, war

Has great difficulty asserting herself, asking for help, setting boundaries

May need to drink to be able to socialize

May currently have or have experienced Post-Traumatic Stress, often due to being misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mistreated, and/or mismedicated.

Social Skills differences – is exceptionally good one-on-one and presenting to groups, however has difficulty working within group situations

May find herself in social situations or relationships that she is unhappy with, but not know how to remove herself from them

History of being taken advantage of by others, even though she has taken the appropriate business, legal or social advice from others

Often bored in social situations or parties and/or does not know how to act in social situations

May say “yes” to social events, then later make up an excuse as to why she cannot attend, often staying home in solitude (reading a book or engages in her special interest)

Often prefers to be engaged in her special interest, rather than socializing

May be considered the “black sheep” of the family

Others consider her different, odd, eccentric or “weird” by others

May feel like she has to act normal” to please others OR does not care at all about fitting in

Copies, mimics, acts in order to fit in and make others like her

A people pleaser, but then may burn bridges suddenly (for e.g., quit relationships), as they have difficulty managing conflict

Females appear to be better than males at masking the traits of autism in social situations. However, girls are less able to do so in unfamiliar settings.

May be considered a “loner” OR may have many acquaintances, but no real friends

5.  Communication

Difficulties communicating her thoughts and feelings, in words, to others, especially if anxious, stressed or upset. Often can type or write her thoughts much better

May dislike asking others for help, be unable to ask or not know how to ask for help

May be passive, not know how to assert her boundaries in a healthy manner

May offend others by saying what she is thinking, even if she does not mean to

May point out other people’s mistakes

May give too much detail and end up boring others unintentionally

May ask embarrassing questions (usually when younger)

Unusual voice (flat, monotone, high-pitched, child-like)

Tendency to take things literally, missing what people are trying to say

May talk too loudly or too softly, often unaware that she is doing so

Often surprised when people tell her she has been rude or inappropriate

Poor pragmatic language skills

6.   Physiology/Neurology

A. Highly Sensitive

Highly sensitivity, may not be able to listen to or watch the news, listen to the radio, read the newspaper, watch violent shows/movies or horror movies, see hurt or injured animals, abuse, war, trauma, are sensitive to the emotions and “emotional atmosphere” of the environment, experience referred emotion and psychic “6th sense” abilities, may have strong intuitive and/or psychic abilities

B. Sensory Processing Disorder/Condition

May have sensory sensitivities in the following areas: hearing, vision, taste, touch, smell, balance, movement, intuition

May be very sensitive to pain or have a high pain threshold

May notice how food tastes or feels and one may be more important than the other

May be clumsy or un-coordinated

May dislike loud noises and/or be overwhelmed or stressed by bright lights, strong smells, coarse textures/clothing, sirens close by or people too close behind her.

May find children hard to cope with due to crying, screaming or other loud noises

Sensitive to the way clothes feel and how they may be more important than how they look

May have to withdraw, isolate herself when overwhelmed by her senses

May not be able to tolerate sounds, sights, smells, textures, movement that she dislikes

May not like to be hugged, cuddled or held. “I only like to hug if it’s my decision”

Can get upset or distressed if unable to follow a familiar route when going somewhere

Things that should feel painful may not be (bruises but not know how they got there, due to clumsiness)

In social situations, the nervous system tends to be overwhelmed easily, leading to withdrawal (for e.g., wander off to a quiet spot at a party, play with children or animals)

Strong hunger may disrupting her mood and/or ability to focus

She may notice and enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, works of art, and pieces of music.

C. Anxiety, stress and/or anger. Recent brain scanning research points towards enlarged Amygdala’s role in intense emotions, anxiety and anger

D. May have auditory processing issues

E. May have Irlen Syndrome

F. May grind teeth or have lockjaw (anxiety)

G. May have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or traits

H.  May have one or more of the 7 types of ADHD (see http://www.amenclinics.com)

I.  Usually has executive function difficulties (i.e., time management, planning ahead, organization)

J. May rock, leg-bounce, fidget or other movements with hands, twirl hair, stroke soft fabric to self-soothe (aka stimming or self-soothing)

K. May be very sensitive to medications, caffeine and/or alcohol

L. May have gluten, wheat, casein or other food allergies/intolerances, gut issues

M. May have sleep difficulties, a preference for staying up late at night, usually not a morning person

N. May have Dyspraxia

O. May have tics (for example, throat-clearing, coughing)

7. Physical Appearance

Usually dresses differently from her peers, often eccentric, may dress more for comfort than appearance.

May dress “over the top” or unusually for occasions

May try very hard to fit in appearance wise or may not care at all

May not shower or upkeep hygiene at times, due to different priorities (usually being involved in special interests)

Looks younger than her years

Has an unusual voice; may be “child-like”, monotone, loud or soft, quality to her voice

Often does certain things with hands (twirling hair or items, different movements) or legs (leg “bouncing” or rocking while standing)

8. Lifestyle

Books, computers, the Internet, animals, children, nature may be her best friends

She loves quiet, solitude, peaceful surroundings

She may be ultra-religious or not at all. Buddhism appears to be common

May prefer to spend as much time as possible by herself, with animals or in nature

May have a strong preference for routine and things being the same day after day

Gets pleasure from being engaged in her chosen work and/or special interests

She may make it a high priority to arrange her life, events, work, and environment to avoid overwhelming, stressful or upsetting situations

9. Relationship Choices/Sexuality/Gender

May date or marry much older or much younger partners, same gender partner, tending not to see the “age”, “gender”, but rather the personality of the person first

May be asexual, having preferences that are deemed as more important than sex or a relationship

May be ‘hypersexual”, fascinated by physical sexual contact

May differ from peers in terms of flexibility regarding sexual orientation or may think about or want to change gender. Some individuals may change gender or experiment with sexuality as a means to find social success or to “fit in” or feel less different

May not have wanted or needed intimate relationships (asexual)

There is a greater flexibility in sexuality and/or gender. May be heterosexual or may be asexual, gay, bi-sexual or transgender.

10. Special Interests

A special interest may involve the person’s career, fantasy, writing, animals, reading, celebrities, food, fashion, jewellery, make up, tattoos, symbols, to name a few

Ability to “hyperfocus” for long periods of time involved in the special interest, without eating, drinking or going to the toilet, is able to hyperfocus on her special interest for hours, often losing track of time

Loves and revels in solitude, peace and quiet. Solitude is often described as “needing it like the air I breathe”

An intense love for nature and animals

Often not interested in what other people find interesting

May collect or hoard items of interest

11. Emotional

Feels things deeply

Other people’s moods affect her, especially if they are negative

Tends to be very sensitive to emotional pain

Deeply moved by arts, music, certain movies

May be unable to watch horror, violence, disturbing movies, and news programs

Lives with continual generalized anxiety, bouts of depression that creep up on her

Difficulty regulating emotions and managing stress

Is socially and emotionally younger/immature than her chronological age, much younger if in her twenties

Emotionally too honest (inability or difficulty hiding true feelings when it would be more socially acceptable to do so) and naive

Experiences intense emotions of all kinds (for e.g. when she falls in love, she ‘falls’ in love deeply)

May think she is being compassionate, but her actions may not come across that way

Often too sensitive and possesses a lot of empathy

Usually connect and/or are very sensitive to certain characters in movies

Highly sensitive to issues affecting earth, animals, people, advocacy, justice, human rights and the “underdog”

Some women are quite “child-like”, not reaching a maturity until roughly 40 years of age

12. Personality characteristics and/or traits and abilities

A natural born leader, independent, strong-willed, determined and can be highly competitive (even with herself)

High levels of introversion OR can be extroverted

Generally lack a strong sense of self, self-esteem and/or identity. May use chameleon-like skills to assimilate and be involved with to a variety of groups or different people over time, in a search for true identity.

Has a high sense of justice and fairness, is a truth-seeker

Highly creative and may have ‘rushes’ of original ideas

Dislikes change and may find it disorienting and stressful

Highly sensitive to criticism or perceived criticism

Dislikes being observed when having to perform (performance anxiety)

May have been told she cares to much, does too much for others and/or is too sensitive

Is perfectionistic (may have attended a perfectionism group program)

Attention to detail

Obsessions/special interests can be short-term (switching from one to another quickly) or long-term (can make a great career)

Naivety, innocence, trusting too much and taking others literally are a powerful concoction for being misused and abused

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A strong sense of feeling different from her peers, often described as being from a different planet

May not have a sense of self and/or identity, self-esteem

Tend to be very serious, often too serious at times

Is intense in everything she does

In childhood, may have been described as highly sensitive and/or shy

13. Past and/or current mental health history

May have a history of crying a lot, without knowing why

May have a lengthy history of going to therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists

May have tried a variety of medications,

Experiences social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder

May have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or traits

May have one or more of the 6 types of ADHD

Has experienced ongoing depression and/or tiredness/exhaustion, without knowing why

A history of trying to understand oneself, of finding answers to explain one-self and why she feels she is different or doesn’t fit in, as a woman

A history of many doctors and counsellors visits throughout university life

May have a family history of Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorders

May be been misdiagnosed with bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia

May have been previously diagnosed with anxiety disorder depression, an eating disorder, borderline personality disorder, bi-polar disorder and/or ADHD

A history of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, mood swings

14. Coping Mechanisms

May have turned to alcohol, drugs, smoking in order to cope with intense emotions, self-medicate and/or socialize/fit in and/or be accepted with a group.

May use a different persona when out in the public, in order to cope

May have developed a variety of dysfunctional coping mechanisms (for example, arrogance and/or narcissism)

May change gender or sexuality in an attempt to “fit it” and/or find the right group

Has used imitation, social echolalia to pretend to be normal, fake it or pass for normal

May rock standing up, lying down, in a rocking chair to calm down or self-soothe

May need to withdraw into bed or a dark area or a place of solitude to gain privacy, quiet and manage sensory and/or social overload

Withdrawal and/or Avoidance

May have developed a personality disorder as a means of coping with Asperger Syndrome

15. Sixth Sense, Intuition, Psychic Abilities

Has the ability to feel other people emotions

May “know” or have knowledge of certain things, but no idea how she knows

May be a professional psychic or medium

Possesses one or more psychic abilities

Is an “empath”

16. Unique abilities and Strengths

Intelligence, craves knowledge and loves learning

Can teach herself just about anything she puts her mind too

Has a strong will, is determined and independent

Perfectionistic

Have a remarkable long-term memory, photographic memory

A great sense of humour

Can work very well in a “crisis” situation

Deeply reflective thinker

Resilience, an ability to go from one crisis to another, to bounce back, to start again time and time again

Attention to detail

Great in one-on-one situations or presenting to a group

More like “philosophers” than “professors, but can be both.

Seeing in the “mind’s eye” exact details, gifted visual learner

May be gifted with art, music, writing, languages

Highly intuitive

Capable of deep philosophical thinking, females with Aspergers often beceome writers, poets, artists, singers, performers, actresses or professors.

17. Challenges

May be difficult to understand subtle emotions, for e.g., when someone is jealous or embarrassed, uninterested or bored

Keeping up appearances, passing for normal

Managing emotions

Learning difficulties

May get very upset with unexpected change

May not be able to tell when someone is flirting with her

Challenging to work and function within a group

Great difficulty and very sensitive to conflict, stress, arguments, fighting, wars, gossip and negativity

Social-chit chat, small talk, conversation without a “function”, maintaining friendships and relationships, social anxiety or social phobia

May like or prefer to be by herself as much as possible

May find it challenging to understand what others expect of her

Being taken advantage of due to naivety, innocence and trusting others too much

Boundaries (usually when younger)

May have difficulty filling out forms, doing paperwork (completing taxes), budgeting money

May have difficulty recognizing or remembering faces (prosopagnosia)

18. Empathy May have a lack of cognitive empathy and hyperempathy (for e.g., too much affective empathy)

Cognitive Empathy: The ability to predict other’s thoughts and intentions, knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Also known as perspective-taking.

Affective/Emotional Empathy: The ability or capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another person, when you feel the feelings of another person along with the other person, as though their emotions are your own. Social neuroscience has found that this kind of empathy has to do with the mirror neuron system. Emotional empathy contributes to an individual being well-attuned to another person’s inner emotional world, an advantage for individuals in a wide range of careers from nursing to teaching to social work, psychology and other caring professions.

Compassionate Empathy, or “empathic concern”. This kind of empathy helps us to understand a person’s predicament and feel with them, and also be spontaneously moved to help them, if and when other need help. Under stress, Theory of mind skills may appear to be completely absent.

19. May have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

20. May have an intense desire to please others and/ be liked by others. May become highly distressed if she has the perception that someone does not like her or actually does not like her.

21. Executive functioning difficulties may include: trouble making decisions, time management, planning ahead, organization, completing tasks.

22. May have spend a lifetime of using enormous effort to socially “pretend”, “fake it”, “fit in”, “pass for normal”. May have utilized body language books, mirrors, acting/drama classes to improve social skills.

23. May have tocophobia, the fear of childbirth

24. May have gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder (GID) dysphoria, and is a formal diagnosis for individuals who feel and experience significant stress and unhappiness with their birth gender and/or gender roles. These individuals are known as transsexual or transgender.

25. Photographic visual memory

No one woman will have all of these traits. Some of the traits in this list may not apply to you. A level of insight and awareness is required in terms of recognizing the traits, characteristics and behaviors in oneself. Asperger Syndrome often co-occurs with  Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Irlen Syndrome, Dyspraxia/Disability of Written Expression, Auditory Processing Disorder and/or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Individual traits and characteristics can vary from mild to severe.

25. An intense and continual need to figure oneself out.

26. Hypermobility Syndrome

Subtypes – Coming Soon!

About Tania Marshall

Tania is working on her Doctorate/PhD in Autism Studies, with a specializion in females with Autism. She holds a Masters of Science in Applied Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She regularly provides diagnostic assessments, support and intervention for individuals of all ages across the lifespan..

To enquire or book assessments, problem solving sessions and/or support, please e-mail Tania at tania@aspiengirl.com

Tania is also completing the first three in a series of books on female Autism. Her book series is available for purchase at http://www.aspiengirl.com and will all be available in 2014

To enquire about interviews, articles, workshops, or translations/translating of her books, please email Tania at tania@aspiengirl.com

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Tania Marshall©, 2013-2014. All rights reserved. Aspiengirl and Planet Aspien are trademarked. Thank you.

601 thoughts on “Aspienwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome

  1. Thankyou Tania for this useful and extensive resource. I can relate to much of it, having started to wonder when my 11 year old son was diagnosed. I also have three nephews with the condition and almost certainly a mother. Due to my ongoing struggles with my mental health and work environment, I plan to ask my GP for referral for assessment and will almost certainly be taking your list for backup. They already think I am neurotic due to having such severe PMS that I will shortly be having a hysterectomy!

    • Thank-you Befuddledandbemused for your comments. Unfortunately, there is no adult female assessment tool, but that will be changing soon. There are certain assessment tools that are used with females, bearing in mind they were created based on the male profile. All the best!

      • This is a very thorough and helpful list for those of us who suspect we may have Aspergers. I identify with almost all of them. I was wondering if you could recommend any other female authors (besides Rudy Simone, Lianne Holliday-Wiley, and Donna Williams) who have well-written first-hand accounts of their life experience with Aspergers. Also, who are the leading clinicians besides Tony Attwood that are studying how Aspergers manifests in women?

      • Hello Angela B, thank-you for your message. Other book I think you may or may not find useful (depends on how you relate to them) are: A different kind of normal by Jeanette Purkis, Women from the Wrong Planet, any and all of Temple Grandin’s books, My Life with Aspergers, by Megan Hammond. All the best!

      • Thanks for the insightful work. After taking a systematization test on 23andMe…my journey began. My AQ test…high. I then stumbled upon your work. All the questions were being answered for me as to my lifelong struggles. I sought out a female psych familiar with female aspire traits. After more tests..she was able to render the dx. Yep, I have aspergers, now called high functioning autism due to the DSM change. Scary a bit, yet oddly some what of a relief concurrently. I have very many of the traits but for I am very good at organizing. I wear myself out organizing everything! I think I have Erlens as well. Thanks so very much for providing this forum.

      • I thank you, very much.
        I have Asperger’s syndrome and no one really understands, but I have a lot of these traits, I’m to be honest rather shocked on the knowledge of it, I really think you’ve gotten into my brain!

  2. Fantastic! I fit a lot of those symptoms, I find it very hard to understand others and for them to understand me which leads to a feeling of not being good enough constantly :( Luckily just this year I have found a friend who also a Aspie woman and we have got each other! x

      • That is so true…I can spot an asperwoman a mile away! I was never formally diagnosed however, I have spent my life since a teen highly introspective and seeking knowledge on what was making me the way I am. In addition, I come from a family who all have these symptoms and my three daughters do also. It has been a long 23 years of single parenting with all of us like this. I and my girls fit 98% of the above descriptions…Most psychologists never even addressed it as aspergers. So I had to do the research and help my girls to develop coping skills in every area. I then got a degree (actually 1 math class short of a BA due to not being able to pass the class 3 times) I have many partial degrees lol…just shy of each of them by 1-3 classes. Im an artist (bronze sculptor and painter) by profession. But intensely struggle to do follow-ups and paper work and….makes me feel so inadequate. Many people see my work and ask “why aren’t you famous lol” Little do they know how hard I try to organize and manage everything which prevents success. Anyway, I could write for hours on the subject just about my girls and family and self.
        Thank you so much for posting this very important list. I will send it to my girls and I know they will find solace in just knowing. They don’t believe me lol and say I think everyone is an apsie..lol

      • Trying to get help for my daughter who hasn’t been diagnosed with anything, but as a mother who has Cyclothymia/ borderline Bipolar I am at my wits end trying to get professionals to take my daughter symptoms seriousely , it’s really affecting my health.She becomes angry about everything and the fact she doesn’t cope with stress makes things worse, she is 32 yr old woman and I don’t know if she has asperges or personality disorder, what I do know is she needs help. I was misdiagnosed for years and told it was depression and as a result contuing with meds worsened my condition causing me to have Cyclothymia. My daughter only started working for the first time since leaving school 3 yrs ago and it’s part time but the stress on the job has nearly caused her to have a breakdown which she has had a couple of yrs ago. I only hope that having spoke to her today about where we go next we can move forward as we are planning to change doctors to see if this would make a difference.

  3. I don’t have Irlen Syndrome (or at least not a very severe case of it, more just getting lost when reading than being unable to read, I actually enjoy reading a lot when I’m in the mood for it: fantasy novels and manga) and I don’t self medicate with alcohol/drugs/cigarettes because of sensory issues, and I’m usually verging on asexuality but can’t say I’m 100% there yet. Every other thing on that list is me though.

  4. thank you for this. it was god to read something looking at the female aspect of aspergers for a change. i feel like printing this out and writing next to each point how it fits me.
    I’m not sure that the sex change (gender change is such a bad way of describing it) is to ‘fit in’, for me it was more to do with being less wrong in my body, and perhaps having aspergers merely inclines someone more towards introspection and self-analysis (to determine how to adjust peronsality to better fit) and so any birth issues, such as being TS are highlighted and become intolerable, where someone who is less concerned with self-understanding might not consider changing.
    it was good to see the ability to feel someone else’s emotions in there too. I’ve found i am very sensitive to them, so i mostly have that facility shut down because other people are so emotionally dangerous. it is nice when someone is safe enough to be able to feel with them.

  5. Great list, I can relate to very many points in it.
    One thing that is very characteristic for me (might not be true for others): money has never been a motivation for me. (I’m nearly 50 now). Certainly one of the reasons why I did learn three different professions very successfully but never hesitated to change to a more interesting one. I need to be able to learn new things every day, and I need success, praise, approval, the feeling that I am being valued and that what I do makes sense. I absolutely can’t bring myself to do a job just for the money.

    About the gender thing, for me that feels a little bit different to what you describe. I always felt I was different, and back when I was young there wasn’t even the term “Aspie”. I looked into all sorts of groups that were somehow “different” from mainstream – trying to find out what it was about me that made me feel so different. Not because I wanted to fit in somewhere (never really did ;-) but because I wanted to know why I was outside, if that makes sense.

    • Yes, that is mainly why I went looking – recognizing that I and many other family members were so different. All of us have achieved at an exceptional level – and like you, it’s not motivated by money. To the rest of the world it looks like success (peer recognition; incredible opportunities that keep coming; yes, money), but really, I can honestly say, I think all of us would turn our backs on our various career paths if we weren’t getting the opportunity to understand, be part of a bigger purpose.

      I have not officially been diagnosed with Asbergers, although after reading this description (the traits), I think it would be hard not to be diagnosed with Asbergers – finally something describes me, in a way that finally makes sense!!
      Einstein has a quote that goes something like: “it’s not that I’m so much smarter, it’s just that I stick with a problem for longer”. That describes me. I don’t know anyone (other than some of my family members), that can tolerate my intensity once I start delving into a complex problem. I’m like a dog with a bone. But the result is that my understanding of complex social issues is clear and enables me to see things in a very big picture way. There are very few people/academics/thinkers articulating what I can see. I find it so exciting when I come across such writers because they help confirm to me that I am not “off base”. But it’s lonely, and it sometimes feels like a curse – because usually it’s me in whatever work I’m doing that sees the really big picture. I can see when people are too limited in their thinking, or off base when doing future or strategic planning. But because I can see it so clearly, the task of bringing everyone else to that awareness always falls to me. I wish sometimes that I could just sit back and participate instead of being the one to corel, educate – not drop the ball – until enough people can see and embrace what I have seen. I would say that I feel responsible to make sure that I have done my very best to impart my vision – because being “on track” is sustainable and energizing. Solutions that are too short sighted or flawed, drain resources and sap people’s energy. It’s hard for me to work hard on something when I can see that it is systemically flawed.

      In biblical times, did they call people like us, prophets (because we could see the really big picture so clearly)? I work really, really hard till I understand, I don’t wake up from a dream with everything in front of me. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with my brain buzzing because I’ve made a new, insightful connection that helps develop my deeper understanding of the issue or problem.

      Hmmm, I’ve gone on a bit. Can anyone relate? I do not want to have come across as arrogant or grandiose. I am actually vey humble, and truly believe that my insights are gleaned from what others teach me; from my discussions with others; from my reading (what others have written) etc. i stand on the shoulders of others.
      I really wanted to put this out there as honestly as I could, what I am struggling with, to see if others could relate.

      • I can definitely relate. I couldn’t have put it better. In fact sometimes I have a hard time articulating what I’m thinking and how I feel, but reading what you’ve written describes how I feel at work. My mind is always on and once fixated I have a hard time stopping until I’ve reached success.

      • Hi, yes I can relate! I think so deeply about the topics that are important to me that I find it frightening and lonely.

      • I strongly relate to your comments about seeing the big picture when others don’t. I have had such difficulties expressing myself, however, that I have given up and retreated more often than not, feeling that I am too intense, or “wrong”, although my insights, like yours, have come from much study and reflection and integration. I wish for a route to my thinking that is not dependent on my inadequate ability to communicate, or to speak succinctly. The web of thought is endless and difficult to tame.

      • Wow, you expressed “me” so well!! I am sooo excited to find a place where others are describing what has been a very, very lonely journey. I am not complaining though. I am just thrilled to be able to better understand this enormously powerful gift. I have tried to “run away”, and hide from those parts of me that make me so different from those around me: my level of intensity; my need to understand and make sense of things; the care/love/empathy-with/compassion for life and our interconnectedness with all things; my need for “truth”. Running away never worked – so now at 45, I am embracing me, and it’s very exciting! Especially as I discover others with a similar way of being in the world.

        What I am beginning to be more confident about, is that I really do believe that we have an important role to play in the world. The fact that I am not the greatest oral communicator, doesn’t need to be the arbiter of whether or not my insights aren’t relevant and in need of being shared. If I can see more clearly than those around me whilst we all “grope in the dark” for the way forward, I have come to recognize that those who truly care about careful discernment and integrity, also recognize that I have a strength that they don’t have. I recognize their respect for me and my insights. It is frustrating for me to see those that I am working with head in the wrong direction, so in those instances, I become much more pro-active in choosing which battles to push hard on. Anyway, I guess I have found that I have to work with others – which is how I develop my ideas best anyway. I have to make sure that I have discussed the problem and vision enough to ensure that they are on-board. In the end, they are the ones who help to carry the vision forward. All that being said, I do find that in meetings when what needs to be said and isn’t being said, and things are at risk of slipping off the tracks, I can speak in a very compelling way.

        I have spent quite a bit of time looking at some of the great thinkers/paradigm shifters/ and leaders through history. There are quite a few who stand out as having what I think are similar ways of being in the world to those of us on the spectrum: Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Temple Grandin, Steve Jobs, Jacob Barnett, Galileo, – and interestingly, many of my family members (which was the initial reason that I started searching for what made my family so different). Because my son was diagnosed with ADD and also fits somewhere on the spectrum, I started getting involved in issues around Education and learning differences/”disabilities”. What I am fascinated by, is that when I sit in on some of the various support groups, which brings together the parents and children with LD’s, it becomes obvious that there is often an intelligence and creativity that is being squished by the current models of education and the way in which society is set up in the Western World. Christine Barnett, wrote in her book “Spark, A Mother’s Tale of Nurturing Genius”, that the system focusses on what these kids can’t do, it doesn’t typically nurture them in their strengths. She found that when she did build on their strengths and passions, not only did they relatively easily overcome or manage their difficulties better, but they often shone with creativity or “genius”.

      • I am so happy that I found this site! I can totally relate to what you and everyone else here has to say.
        Most of the time I feel cursed by how I am and my deficits, but actually those deficits are made up by all of the other abilities I have that are unique to being an aspie, its just that other people don’t see and recognize this. I know that I am a good person with a lot to share with society, and I believe that all aspies are very special people who should love themselves, but being a black & white thinker, for me personally, has become a love-hate kind of thing. I wish I was “normal”, but glad that I’m not.
        Thanks for writing this, please keep on!
        Here is one place that I truly feel ” normal”!

      • I feel much like you do. This feels like a safe place where I can feel safe and “normal.” While I’ve been able to share my situation with my husband, my sister and one very close friend, I realize that that’s the extent of it. Sharing it beyond that small group is impossible. The risk is too great. Because all of those wonderful people in my life aren’t Aspiens, they can never truly know what I experience, even though they are enormously supportive. But the women here can, and I am so grateful for that. We need to tell our stories.

      • Yes I can relate what you say is spot on, unfortunately I’m out of work and don’t have this pressure on me, however I’m currently trying to resolve another serious family health issue and I’m like a dog with a bone but the good thing about it is the buzz I get from solving these issues like you I’m a humble person but I still think there are times when I’m wiser than some, without blowing my own trumpet. You just keep telling yourself you are unique and there is not another person like you.

      • Beautifully put. Have spent my life learning to explain what I can see to other people. It brings relief to realise you’re not the first, or the only one to see what you can. Its not arrogance, or grandiosity, just fact. However, it’s so easy fall into self-loathing and doubt, particularly if you have been bullied, or surrounded by people who have been jealous and played the ‘who do you think you are?’ card. Agree that we can only ever ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’, everything I know, or have ever done is an assimilation of what came before.

        In reading the article and comments, the feeling of relief at hearing of others who are having the same experience is tangible. Nice to know I’m not wandering alone in the wilderness :)

    • I am 70 years old. My first son was recognised as autistic when he was a toddler, and had himself diagnosed with Aspergers in adulthood as he is high-functioning and lives on his own, but needed the support. He is now 46. I have often wondered if I am also an ‘Aspie’, and went through the list just now going ‘Yes, yes, yes …” to almost every trait. My own differentness has ended up with me as a research astrologer and writer. As an astrologer you quickly realise that any label is only that, a label, and doesn’t explain a set of characteristics or behaviours at all – merely identifies them. I have been studying the natal charts of autistic people for years, and what you see over and over again is the differentness, the need for peace and quiet, the hyper-sensitivity, often great spirituality – priorities and tastes that don’t coincide with the social norm. I am most interested to see the comment suggesting that as a group we may have much in common with the prophets because we see the bigger picture. I think there’s a lot in that. I went to an elderly psychic shortly after I had my second (‘normal’?) son, and she actually said – never having met or known about me before, and not even knowing I was married – that I had one child that was literally from another planet. I already knew he was unusual (he saw things, and, I believe on one occasion at age 2+, channelled) but was otherwise ignorant of what that meant. She got me right, and she got him right. And she got my future right. An amazing lady. Her name was Nan Whittle and she worked at the SAGB (Spiritualist Association of Great Britain.) If anyone reading this is interested in sending me their date, time and place of birth I would be most grateful, as it will help my own research into the depths and subtleties of our kind of people. You can find me on Facebook as RevPamCrane. Thank you, Tania, for your inspiring and helpful page.

      • Hi Pam, I tried to find you on facebook but you didnt come up. I would like to give you my dob etc if you are interested? Reading through the traits of Asbergers I feel I also have it…

  6. To prepare you, I would like to inform you that I have posted a link to this article on another blogging site. I am a 27 year old woman with Asperger’s, and this was a very insightful read. I shared it on the website “Tumblr”, so that other women with autism may read this. There is a very large population of autistic Tumblr users, so you may begin to receive messages on here, depending on how many people see and share the link to your article. I hope the awareness helps. You can message me for any further discussion at rainiebrit.tumblr.com, by clicking on the ‘ask’ button. Other users that find this article may also volunteer their assistance. I hope any and all help can be had.

  7. If only there was a prize for getting the most ticks!!!! There would obviously be strong competition for such a prize – but you appear to have us ‘big girls’ nailed. Well done and now after all your good work – what’s your prize????

    • Hello Cheyne, thank-you for your message and your kind words. I think at some point I will be awarded with another degree (my third). Each and every person I see in my clinic teaches me something and I love my work.

  8. great blog, very professional. my mother said if my head wasnt attached to my shoulders, i’d lose it too, but i remember clearly things from my early childhood.
    I hate small talk and get bored, anxious, and depressed if being around people for too long. i’m emotionally exhausted.
    animals and nautre are the only things in this world that can comfort me. as a child, i was fascinated by moving treetops, rain, dogs, and cats. i’d be euphoric in their presence, but didnt have one single friend and used to pace back and forth and flap my fingers in breaktime in school, instead of playing with the other girls.
    i get deprssed, anxious, and angry at the drop of a hat.
    my low pain threshold is an embarrassment and an obstacle, but taking self defense classes and falling from a bicycle and down the stairs, i’m half numb to punches and being banged on the head. although i grind my teeth, grimace, and rub my shoes back and forth on the floor during a blood test.

  9. This article hits home, hard. I feel as if you walked clear past my skin, jumping straight into my mind and continuing right on through my past. Incredible information, presented very well. I have been telling friends that I think I’m autistic and I wasn’t joking. Your articles on Aspergerwomen have given me information that I have never read before. TY

  10. Pingback: Asperwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome | womenwhothinktoomuch

  11. Man, i need to find me an Asperwoman… I’m an Asperdude (23 years old) and no freakin’ wonder i have such high standards when it comes to an actual relationship. A lot of the stuff mentioned in this article, actually describes things i do or feel strongly about. Weird lol

    • Hi Chase, thank-you for your message. You are one of a few comments I have received from “Asperdudes” who identify with this. There are sub-types of aspies. Generally speaking, relationship that involve Aspie and Aspie work quite well because they are similar and/or have similar interests, and usually have similar social preferences. Good luck:-)

    • Hi Aspiedude…lol…My daughter is 23 and has never had a strong healthy “relationship” because she is usually unaware that a guy is interested even though most guys can’t resist her. She has beauty and strength on her side but the average dude is not qualified for her. Her welding instructor had to tell every guy in the shop to keep there eyes and hands off her or they got kicked out of the class. When she does like a dude, she doesn’t show it like most girls with flirting. She gets buddy buddy with them and they don’t get it and think there is no interest. Its an interesting road. But good luck and keep your standards high anyway, a great girl is worth the wait.

  12. I enjoyed your article. I am wondering though if it is strange given what you wrote that I am an Autistic woman who has an obsession with horror films? Most of the other things you wrote do apply to me.

    • Hello Cal, thank you for your message. What I have learned through my clinical practice is that one person with Autism is one person with Autism. I have found that there are both many similarities and also differences. I have met some individuals who love horror, and many others, as I mentioned, who are unable to view them. Obsessions are also highly variable and no, it is not strange at all. Thank you for your question. All the best.

  13. Thank you thank you, wow now I feel i’m getting somewhere. the information is spot on and now i don’t feel like i’m some freak. related to so much of it that it was like ready me. Thanks heaps for helping me find me.

    • Hello monique and thank you for your message. One of the reasons I set up my blog was to provide education and awareness about females and asperger syndrome/autism. I have been overwhelmed both in my clinical work, my blog, facebook and email by inquiries, assessment, diagnosis and support. Many of the people I talk to, both young and old discuss feeling like a ‘freak’, ‘geek’, ‘weird’, ‘strange’, ‘screwed up’, ‘messed up’, ‘different’, ‘eccentric’, ‘odd’ and more. You and all the others are intelligent unique ‘out of the box’ thinkers. Many Aspies make amazing contributions to the world because of their unique characteristics, gifts and talents. I am only too pleased to help you find yourself:-) All the best!

      • None of this is SCIENTIFICALLY VALID. Psychology is not a science. Pop-psychology ought never to be used as a diagnosis. Asperger’s has become a fad, just like other New-Age self help nonsense.

      • Hi Gina Rex: Could you further explain your viewpoint please?

        While I can understand your point of view – many people are searching for a reason as to why they feel very, very “off”. And perhaps run into a million things in their life time where they think something sounds like them – and they only reason they come across it is because it’s a fad. However, I don’t think people who are honestly searching for a reason that they are the way they are take each new label and apply it to themselves. Probably many of us have come across a pshycological diagnosis and realized it doesn’t fit.

        A disorder comes form having a set of traits that inhibit a persons ability to lead a fulfilling life. I think many people, women in particular who have a true Aspergers diagnosis suffer because they cannot successfully have relationships, they feel alone. They cannot communicate their needs or wants, or even know if those needs and wants are valid and need someone else to tell them that it’s okay to want or need those things.

        Anyway, I would just like you to, maybe, explain yourself and view point a little more. I’m interested in what you have to say.

  14. Tania, I shared this post on my blog and I look forward to your post about traits of teen girls with AS. :)

  15. Hi Tanya,

    Congratulations on some excellent work and publications in this field. I was wondering if you or anyone you know could help to assess a client of mine who I believe has Aspergers but is undiagnosed. She is facing a lot of discrimination and I think I could help her if I can put a finger on why she is so singled out or disenfranchised from her peer community.

    She is in a lot of trouble. I took on her matter pro bono because I think the system is completely letting her down and she needs a helping hand.

    Please advise. I look forward to hearing from you.

    B H

  16. Hello!
    As someone who’s in the process of (most likely) being diagnosed with AS, am pretty much already self-diagnosed, there’s one thing that sticks out as strange to me. While I certainly do have special interests and obsessions, very strong ones at that, I hardly ever talk about them to anyone. I might discuss it with a friend whom I know share the interest, but most of my family and friends don’t even know what I like.
    I don’t like it when people who don’t “get” my interests starts talking negatively about them, and I also just assume that they’re not interested, so I don’t talk to them about it. In fact I find my obsessions quite embarrassing and almost try to hide them.
    Is that a common Aspie behavior or am I unusual?

    • I do this, and I’m pretty sure I’m an Aspie. I love to read and write. I love 80’s fantasy movies and young adult fantasy series. I don’t talk about my loves with anyone. I think it’s mostly because of where I live, though. People here don’t seem to value intellectual pursuits or conversation. So, because I try to adapt and I don’t want to draw additional attention to myself, I hide my interests and stick to the small talk. With my close friends,though, I can sometimes talk about my interests b/c I know that even if they don’t share them, they accept them and appreciate my perspective.

  17. My God, you’ve just described me in this post. I had no idea my troubles dealing with people and my own emotions, the short-term interest in activities and even the desability to manage emotions when hungry, etc etc, could be something like this! I’ve indentified myself mainly in social relationship and communication (I often change words and say incomprehensive phrases when I want to say something to people that know the subject better than me or when I want to share a point of view with someone that I know that have arguments to make about what I’ve said and it’s very embarassing). I find it very difficult to deal with my interests because they are very intense at the beginning and then they suddenly losts its brightness. At school my teachers said I was very inteligent but I could not paid attention to what I was doing. This was the reason I learned very fast and correctly but was never brilliant when tested. I simply could not review what I’ve done. However, I graduated at pharmacy university at normal time (and after a couple years I changed totally my career to be a photographer). Psycotherapy helped me so much last year when I was depressed, but after reading this I realized that there are much more work to do in this area than I though.
    Thank you very much for posting this enlightening text and sorry for the English mistakes (I’m Brazilian). Best wishes, Tatiane

  18. This is me have often wondered about it as got a 19 year old son and a 13 year old daughter on the asd spectrum amongst other things. Thankyou for sharing this.

  19. As I’ve seen from other comments. I have a 12 yr. old boy who is autistic and started seeing much of myself in him. I have taken the AQ test hundreds of times (i come up aspie everytime) and have done lots of research on women and asd. This is the first time I’ve seen a list for women specifically. I went down this list and all I kept saying was “this is me, this is me, OH yes, that’s me. yup. me me me” I have been misdiagnosed adhd, bipolar, and borderline personality. I’ve been on so many meds that never worked except for the klonopin i used to take for anxiety. Oh i could go on and on. I’m looking to get an ‘official’ diagnosis but I know now, why I feel like such an alien all the time. Thank you so much for this. And I’m so happy i’m not alone.

    • Wrote about my daughter earlier who is 32yr old undiagnosed, but I’ve been diagnosed a yr ago with Cyclothymia/borderline Bipolar maybe we are both Apies n the docs have it wrong. My 5 yr old Grandson was diagnosed Autistic a couple of yrs ago a just wish my daughter could get the support she needs. I will speak to my therapist on my next visit only prob is I dnt think they Nhs mental health profession really care as much x

    • Yes there is no effective treatment in medication for Autism nor Aspies the only effective treatment is hands on skills and a good therapist Anti anxiety meds are the only effective treatment in very severe situations that cause lack of sleep especially in
      panic attacks the good news the older you get the less intense the anxiety attacks become hence need for meds.

      • please consider the emerging awareness of the underrated power of food-as-medicine. Dr. Michael Greger, author and lecturer in this area of self-health care, has put together many educational videos outlining the many mainstream and fringe studies which are increasingly coming to light as a real alternative to harmful, ineffective, and expensive pharmaceuticals for depression and anxiety. His series on foods which turn around as well as prevent depressiona and anxiety are a good starting point for how and why we need to turn to everyday self-health care methods before we introduce the big guns – questionable pharmaceuticals which often do not work, cause structural damage to the very systems screaming for nourishment, protection, and altering in the first place. go to nutritionfacts.org and use their search function to get your self-education started.

      • I have to agree with the power of food. With Serotonin receptors in the gut allowing a symbiotic relationship with the brain, how can food not have an effect. I have found that since using a low FODMAP diet my energy levels and mood have improved dramatically. There has also been a calming of my Aspieness too.

  20. Dear Tania, welcome from Hungary (little country in Middle-Europe). Thank you for your comprehensive work with this blog, it is very helpful for me (too)!
    Here we have almost nobody who deals with aspie-adults. My story was „general”: misdiagnosed with bpd, mistreated with drugs etc., finally found myself the truth. I’m 32 yo and I get my right diagnosis last year – and i feel first in my life that i exist and i’m not an alien. :)
    So, thank you once again!

    • Hello ZodiacRaven, thank-you for reaching out from Hungary! You are welcome and I will be updating my female characteristic profiles/descriptions regularly. Unfortunately, it is common all over the globe to have difficulty finding services for Aspie adults, so you are not alone. Many adults live their whole lives without having a logical explanation for their feelings of being an “alien”. Congratulations on your diagnosis and I wish you all the best!

  21. Pingback: Female Aspie Profile

  22. My clinical diagnoses was just 2 weeks ago, but all my life I’ve “known”. I identified so strongly with the Hungarian womans statement about finally feeling like a “Self” .. knowing I was not like “other people” made me believe I must not be a “people”. A wonderful self discovery is beginning. I have a self ! I really Feel new, almost whole, and Happy :) I am 61 yrs. old & so Amazed to have found the answer to my lifelong question “What am I missing, here?” Thanks for working on this issue, many need this info.

      • Dear Tania

        Thank you so much for the work you are doing on diagnosis criteria for women.
        I’m 66 years old and having trouble putting into words what I’d like to say as I feel, wrongly of course, like this is a ‘last resort’ thing. I’m sure I can post again if I get it wrong.

        Just over a month ago I accidentally came across http://www.apergertestsite.com and did the test. I have no idea how I got to the site as I didn’t consider I would have Aspergers. Anyway it seemed to confirm that I was likely to be an Aspie. After a lot of reading I was becoming convinced. BUT on reading your work in progress ‘Asperwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome’ I learnt so many things about myself. It was liked you had looked into my mind! Amazing. I am so grateful and have many questions which I will post soon. The term Asperwoman is great! Did you coin it!

        Congratulations on your work. :-)

    • I am also a 61 year old woman strongly suspecting that I have this now abadoned (replaced by PDD) diagnosis. I am exhusted by a life of meeting nearly all of the criteria on this list above and being a socially isolated alien. I am questioning the value of this finally knowing why I am missing “it”. I have a higher than average intellegence but have had limiited success due to social inadequacy. Is it ever too late to gain social skills to make the unique perceptions that accompany this syndrome?

      • Hi Liz and thank-you for your message, I am often asked this question and I believe it is never to late to learn about Asperger Syndrome, to learn social skills or any other improvements. I have assessed women in their 60’s who all told me they experienced a huge sense of relief to “finally have answers” as to why they have always felt “different” and to answer a variety of questions they have had about themselves. I do not believe it’s ever too late to improve oneself or learn.

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  24. hi i hope people read this im a woman with autism an ld so there ;lots that are diff some things same but when you put me with my aspie friends you can see the big diff im hfa now but wasnt when younger .so struggle with meny thing still have meltdowns at times an stuff

  25. thank you for your article. this is my cry for HELP.my daughter 42 years old is an aspperwoman; she desperatly needs professional help but can’t have it do to lack of money.
    what can i do? please help.

    • Hello Elisa, I am sorry to hear about your situation. Have you tried your local Autism society or centre? As I dont know which country you are from, it is hard for me to óffer you suggestions. Unfortunately, services worldwide are lacking for adults. Would it be helpful for your daughter to read books on Aspergers in females, join healthy Autism support groups on-line?

  26. Your write-up features confirmed useful to me personally.

    It’s very helpful and you are certainly really well-informed
    in this region. You have got opened up my own sight
    for you to different opinion of this kind of topic along with intriguing and
    reliable written content.

  27. Thanks for such an informative and detailed list! This is by far the best one I have read so far. I was in denial for a while but as my head keeps nodding I can no longer stay silent.. I am an aspie woman.. hear me roar!!Do you know muc about birth complications and early trauma associated with aspergers? Wondering if it has been a common thread that comes up in your work? Many thanks :-)

    • Just discovered this article now so sorry if this is a late reply – I scored a 33 on the AQ test, identify with almost everything in this article(down to having an interest in Buddhism), and I was a 24 week preemie (born in ’67), had subcranial hemorrhage and hydrocephalus treated with a shunt. An aspie friend of mine(male) also had birth difficulties. I wonder too if there is any correlation between birth complications and ASD.

  28. Thanks a lot for this work. I’m french and don’t have yet my ‘official diagnosis’ but I have some appointments in June for it. I regularly see a neuropsychologist specialized in autism who help me a lot. In France, we are very late regarding autism… And it is very difficult to be diagnosed, specially when your a middle aged, gifted woman… I saw that the duplication of this article is forbidden but I wanted to ask you if you allow me to take it because I would like to translate it in French during the summer. Of course, I will give your references (name, your studies and your specialization) in the translation (I think it is very important and give more value to the article).
    Best regards

    • Hello Adeline, thank you for your message and I am so pleased that this blog is do helpful to you. Yes, please print this off and take it with you and thank you so much for asking. I wish you all the best with your assessment and diagnosis.

  29. Being older and never formally diagnosed, having felt like an alien for my majority of my life, when I read an article last year written by an Aspie, I cried like a baby because it was the first time that I read something the reflected most accurately what it has been like to be me. Your list Tania, further validates the reality I have lived with for my entire life. Thank you!!

  30. Explains a lot. Thank you for writing this. I see myself in almost every bit of this. Almost 37 yrs old and just now finding out what I have been dealing with and trying to hid from the rest of the world. At least now I am armed and ready to go and get an official diagnosis. I did go through the Autism Speaks website with a few online evaluations and discovered that I am high in the Asperger’s range bordering on full Autism. They recommended that I find a specialist to discuss my rating and have further testing.

  31. Thank you so much for this list and the way it is categorized. Many of these things (tic coughing, weeping, misplaced trust, social exhaustion, dislike of lies and chit-chat, rocking oneself, vocal modulation, short-term versus long-term memory issues) are part of my life experience. It’s comforting to know there are others out there who get what it is like. Were that I’d had this information 20-30 years ago.

  32. WOW! I found this article while researching because my niece has been diagnosed with Asperger’s and it is like reading a list of the things that make me not fit in with the world! Thank you so much! I feel a little less alienated, although I have no idea where to go from here.

  33. Going through this list makes me feel not alone. All my life I felt I was born without a personality like everyone else, and would ‘borrow’ the bits of other peoples personalities that were useful to me. I am 46 years old and have finally stopped denying myself the right to be me. I have always tried to be what is expected by others. In the last few months I have finally admitted to myself things like, I really hate parties, I love star trek, and quite frankly I would rather watch the grass grow than watch a reality tv show with the rest of the family!

  34. I thought this was a very informative article, I am very young for the moment and have only stumbled across this as I joined my second college however for years they tried to understand why I was different as I was very much in my own world a lot of the time. However I do try to fit in as that is a part of being a member of a working society but I always end up loud and eccentric I guess, Is there any need to minimize this? Also awesome piece.

  35. Now I know why I always made friends with the other kids who didn’t fit in either. I’m very empathetic and became a teacher. It is hard for me working with my colleagues though. They aren’t very understanding. I hope that as aspie-women become more recognized, we will be more accepted. I am so socially awkward, and that’s how I have been labeling myself. I’m scared to label myself as aspie because of how it will be interpreted. Fear of being unaccepted…another trait?

  36. Wow, I feel like I fit almost every single one of these characteristics… is this why I’ve always felt so alone in the world? What do I do now? This is crazy how much this describes me… I’m not sure whether to feel relieved or sad.

  37. Dear taniaannmarshall,

    I am going to link your post to my website.

    Thank you for the break down. I hope it elicits a little more awareness for the female presentation. .

  38. Hi,
    I know you said duplication is forbidden, but could I copy your helpful list into a google doc and annotate it to send to my therapist? Strictly for personal use!

  39. Thanks for a really informative list of traits / characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome in women. I have not been diagnosed, and I don’t know if I would be diagnosed, but many of the traits describe how I work, see things and react emotionally. Definitely intense interests, good long term memory, perfectionism, emotionally aware and vulnerable to other’s emotions, feeling different to others applies to me. When I was younger (in primary and high school) I certainly felt different to others and I wanted to be like more “popular” people and I strived for that, but could never get there. I had my special interests and friends that were like minded so that helped. When I got to university I felt less pressured to be like others and I felt more comfortable with the feeling of being different. During postgraduate studies, I started to find myself – I embraced alternative music, lifestyles and fashions and I felt like I belonged, especially amongst a loosely collected group of people who celebrated their difference to the mainstream and made the point that they were different to others. I became alot more extroverted and socialised more. It was like I went through the stereotypical teenage years in my early twenties. During doctoral studies I travelled overseas. Being in a foreign city without family, friends and people who knew me, was a watershed experience, I shed something then. Back in my home country, over the next few years I went through great emotional turmoil, but I realised and discovered my same sex attraction (which had started with my fascination with an actress in a TV cop show in that foreign city). I eventually came out and I feel now, a few years later and a six year relationship, that I know who I am, and why I am different, but also I feel I can relate to a lot more people. While coming out (and going through depression / anxiety and chronic fatigue), a counsellor mentioned Asperger’s Syndrome to me. She said that many of the things I described fitted the traits / symptoms of this syndrome. Perhaps I was going through a transition stage where I was “overcoming” these Asperger’s traits and my personality and the way I saw things was changing. Thank you for a great article, and inspiring my to write about my experience.

    • Dear sapphicscientist, thank you for sharing your amazing story with us here on my blog. Your story is not unlike many of the adult women I see in my clinic. Stories like yours are so beneficial for us all to read. I learn something from every client I meet and every story I hear or read. Thank you and I am pleased you have found this helpful:-) ~ Tania

      • Thanks Tania. I am a big believer in telling your story so others may benefit or at least have something to refer to. Great idea and avenue for people to share their stories and increase their understanding of these traits and the syndrome itself.

  40. Reblogged this on Lipstick On My Lab Coat and commented:
    An informative list of traits associated with Asperger’s Syndrome in women. Below, are my comments (an personal experience) I posted.

    Thanks for a really informative list of traits / characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome in women. I have not been diagnosed, and I don’t know if I would be diagnosed, but many of the traits describe how I work, see things and react emotionally. Definitely intense interests, good long term memory, perfectionism, emotionally aware and vulnerable to other’s emotions, feeling different to others applies to me. When I was younger (in primary and high school) I certainly felt different to others and I wanted to be like more “popular” people and I strived for that, but could never get there. I had my special interests and friends that were like minded so that helped. When I got to university I felt less pressured to be like others and I felt more comfortable with the feeling of being different. During postgraduate studies, I started to find myself – I embraced alternative music, lifestyles and fashions and I felt like I belonged, especially amongst a loosely collected group of people who celebrated their difference to the mainstream and made the point that they were different to others. I became alot more extroverted and socialised more. It was like I went through the stereotypical teenage years in my early twenties. During doctoral studies I travelled overseas. Being in a foreign city without family, friends and people who knew me, was a watershed experience, I shed something then. Back in my home country, over the next few years I went through great emotional turmoil, but I realised and discovered my same sex attraction (which had started with my fascination with an actress in a TV cop show in that foreign city). I eventually came out and I feel now, a few years later and a six year relationship, that I know who I am, and why I am different, but also I feel I can relate to a lot more people. While coming out (and going through depression / anxiety and chronic fatigue), a counsellor mentioned Asperger’s Syndrome to me. She said that many of the things I described fitted the traits / symptoms of this syndrome. Perhaps I was going through a transition stage where I was “overcoming” these Asperger’s traits and my personality and the way I saw things was changing. Thank you for a great article, and inspiring my to write about my experience.

  41. Hi Tania
    I have many similarities with most of the comments above and am very grateful for all the work you are doing with females with Aspergers and especially making this list of traits available. So huge Thank You.
    I am a married 45 yo mother of 2 young teenagers, who like most of those above felt a huge relief when finally there was a reason why I was different. This feeling soon changed when I realised that significant others would prefer me not to be labeled as such. Honestly I feel like I have been kicked in the stomach. So some feelings to work through at the moment.
    Since I have gone through all the traits listed, with ticks and crosses, and then calculated the percentage (aspie trait perhaps!) can I ask you if there would be a percentage figure that you would consider to count one in or out?

  42. After reading this article (and many, many others), I have two questions for you about the utility and possibility of diagnosis.

    I’m a 26 year old woman Ph.D. student (computer field), and I have a lot, a lot of Aspie traits. My uncle on my mother’s side and my brother are both Aspie. My mother says she is absolutely not, but she has a lot of Aspie traits also. My boyfriend is convinced I’m Aspie. My mother is convinced I’m not.

    I’ve obviously thought about it, because I’ve read this and other sites, and manipulated more self-diagnoses than I want to think about (it’s hard bordering on impossible to take them without manipulating them, when you already know all the questions and what all the answers mean). On the one hand, I fit certain criteria: I’m prosopagnostic, I hyper-focus (can’t work any other way), I have problems with verbal instructions, I have real problems at work with starting tasks and planning them, I get overwhelmed by taking classes (I had more incompletes in college than I like to admit to — though I always came back later and completed them), I always miss the joke, especially the silly kind, I know that gullible isn’t written on any ceilings because I always look, I have been accused of being too serious and too literal and too intense, I spend hours sitting alone on my bed so that people will ignore me, my mother thought I was OCD when I was growing up, and I could go on like this forever. If I addressed everything on your list I identify with… it would be half your list.

    On the other hand: I’m well-liked by my friends and even my peers (despite a persistent perception that I’m arrogant and don’t listen well to others — it is NOT TRUE), I’m perceived as being very good at social responses like what to say when someone dies or how to decline an invitation or how to apologize (my mother drilled these formulas into my head when I was little, how could I not be?), I’m eerily good at figuring out what people are thinking/feeling/going to do next, despite some academic struggles I have gotten this far (I’m finishing my 3rd year in a Ph.D. program at a very good school), I don’t stim, I talked at 6 months old (simple sentences by 12 months), and my physical control is fine enough that I would have gone to conservatory for classical ballet if I hadn’t busted my hip. So: a lot of people look at that, and the response is, that isn’t very Aspie at all.

    I don’t worry about it much, except sometimes when either (i) something happens, and I think — this would be easier if I could blame it on a diagnosis, or (ii) everybody else knows what’s going on and I feel like I’m a completely bizarre anomaly from another planet and I need validation. (ii) is self-explanatory. And example of (i) would be when recently I was presenting research with a friend, and I said something insensitive (to this day, and despite resolving with my friend, I do NOT KNOW WHAT) that made her leave the presentation crying. (Incidentally, we later bonded over how much the audience’s response pissed us off. People kept telling her “it’s okay to be sensitive,” while they told me, “to try not to be so arrogant” or “I was a bully once, too.”)

    So my questions are: (1) Would I be likely or unlikely to qualify for diagnosis? (2) What would diagnosis get me? Would it help me in situations like those above? Would it help me in other situations that I haven’t considered?

    Incidentally, I made a counseling appointment with student services once to discuss this with a knowledgeable professional, but rather than answer my clear and straightforward questions, he just kept asking me how I felt. I was looking for knowledge, not feeling-sharing, but he didn’t seem to understand that.

    Thanks very much for this article.

    • Hi Winnifred, your post is one of many that I receive on a regular basis nad I would like to address this in a blog post as the first of my FAQ’s Series. Would this be ok with you? Kind Regards, Tania

  43. Thank you for this! Recently my niece’s teacher advised my sister to have her tested for asperger’s. We have always wondered as she is quite unique in her way of relating to the world. As I began actual research I was floored when I saw that I, myself, exhibited most symptoms from childhood through adulthood. Thank you for sharing this! I will surely be seeking out a diagnoses in the near future. I feel like a veil has been lifted from my eyes. It’s relieving but overwhelming.

  44. So, I am 30 and just started grad school after having attended 5 colleges, working, peace corps, etc. I recently went in to get tested for ADD and came out with a positive diagnosis for it and a possible diagnosis for Asbergers. They just needed to ask more questions. Needless to say i am shocked. As I am waiting for the results I have been doing my own research and there seems to be uncanny resemblances in me and these symptoms, but seem to have no sensory issues. I did say yes to 127 of these charicteristics. Some of my quirks that resemble what ive read are mimicking social situations in fear of saying the wrong thing by being yourslf, having no clue why I have offended someone, and taking things way too literally. I’m wondering now what will be wrong with me if I don’t have it!

  45. Very interesting and relieving to read. I was diagnosed a few years back as Aspie and now I am almost 45 and still haven’t had a relationship, therefore no kids. Then again I would much prefer to watch Voyager than Bananas in Pyjamas anyway. I always say I’m not an expert I just live with it so to have other real life experts finally able to communicate is such a relief. I have spent most days since the diagnosis reading the experts opinions and interpretations and found myself being left frustrated. How can they really know – they can only hypothesise and do studies and experiments. I can’t wait to read and hear from more of us thanks in advance!

    • Thank you for your message. I do understand you reticence about “experts”, and I have seen many Autism experts “criticised” unfairly. What I can say to you is that i have witnessed some “experts” whom I know are on the Spectrum (but choose to keep this private, for their own reasons) be harassed and bullied by those on the
      Spectrum “assuming” they are NT’s.

    • I am aware of many bright professionals who work with individuals with differences, for the reason that they themselves were that child with differences. It amazes me the “assumptions” made regarding professionals. Having said that, I now need to state that no, I am not saying I am aspie or nt, that is my own private business:-) I do get asked that on a tegular basis. My comments are an effort to stand by my amazing and awesome colleagues who have invested huge amounts of time, money, energy and education to support, advocate, and provide services:-) I admire my colleagues and have the utmost respect for them. Thank you for your message and I wish you all the best:-)

      • Yes I appreciate you clarifying things for me. I meant no disrespect and have to add this point to my list. Once I rang an autistic help line for an accurate interpretation of a situation and they didn’t know what to say this confused me and has led to my synical opinion of them. Now I have found this site I will learn new things and contribute more appropriately thank you again

  46. My 18 year old daughter just graduated with honors and needless to say I am so proud of her and also so happy the high school years are behind us.
    High School was a living hell for her. I would say 99% of the traits listed describe her as if the research had occurred in my home.
    I had assumed that her differences were due to the fact that she was intellectually more advanced and that other children could not identify with her. On the other hand I could see a social and emotional disconnect that I could not account for.
    In the family she is know as “The Vulcan” due to her ability to compartmentalize her world, and her need to disengage from earthlings.
    I have always provided her with a safe place and let her be her. Now she is an adult and will be going out into a world I fear she is unprepared to face. While I have considered that she may be and Aspie I have not broached the subject with her. Now I am not sure how. Part of me thinks that she will view it with the same analytic spirit with which she views her world. I do not want her to feel that I see her as damaged or defective.
    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to approach this?

    • Hi!
      That seems like a tough decision to make. It seems to me that the most respectful approach would be to let her make the decision to seek help on her own. I imagine that if high school was “hell” then there would be psychological consequences to that, and perhaps taking her to see a councilor or even a family practitioner to address finding ways to heal from that experience would be a good starting off point. It seems to me that a lot of people with this condition will develop secondary conditions in the attempt cope with the first one. It souds like she will have difficulties at some point, and it is probably better to start getting the support you will need as soon as you can! Just my two cents. Good luck!

  47. Hi,

    I am an Aspie and I do have Irlen syndrome. I am also something of an intellectual which is inconsistent with the lack of ability to read much. It has gotten worse as I grow older. I really don’t know what to do about it.

    It is very difficult for me to fit in anywhere and it is easy for me to be alone. When I was a child I hated family outings and visits so, I often refused to go. I stayed in the solitude of my room.

    Noise drives me crazy. It actually hurts. My body hurts all the time. And, I am a compulsive decorator. Everything has to be in its place and my house has to be totally clean and orderly.

    This is just a little bit of what it is like to be me. My wish is for things to be easier especially with people. I have few social skills although people think I am great but, they don’t want to be close to me which leaves me alone with all this. I suspect that I am doing something to turn other people off but I don’t know what it is that I do..

    I appreciate your website. Thank you for the information.

  48. I have one more question: there is already a tendency to view things like introversion and shyness as pathologies. I have encountered this negative attitude head on. And I have to wonder whether, labels implying a disorder shouldn’t in fact be discouraged as much as possible.
    For example, one of the biggest problems that people faced with mental illness have in Western countries is social exclusion. Whereas, I have read that in some third world societies, where people with a mental illness would be viewed more as ‘special’ or as being somehow in touch with spirits – that the mentally I’ll in these societies tend to live longer and happier lives, with less severity in symptoms.
    But I can just sense this. And, I cannot help associating Asperger’s with a disorder. The term does not feel neutral enough. Logically it’s fine but not emotionally.

    I think Female Aspergers is quite similar to Highly Sensitive Person. Only, I think I prefer to associate mostly with the latter. Since I know I have definite weaknesses and definite mismatches with the majority and also how culture tends to be (e.g., open plan offices); but I prefer a term that has a positive and negative feel to it. And at this stage I associate ‘Asperger’s’ as being a label that largely means ‘inadequate (for the world)’.

    • Hello Elise and thank-you for your message. I view Aspergers as an “explanation”, not a “label”. I believe that early diagnosis is imperative. I have seen far too many adults in my clinic who would have immensely benefited from a dignosis, iontervention and support, when they were children. The term Aspergers provides and explanation, self-understanding, education and knowledge. I agree with you that there are similarities between female Aspergers and Dr. Elaine Aron’s work on Highly Sensitive Persons. However, there are also differences, in terms of Theory of Mind, Perspective Taking, Cognitive Profile, and so on. Individuals with Aspergers have many gifts and talents, along with some weaknesses, like most people. Take care:-)

  49. Thanks for this list I ticked off 101 of them. After years of feeling odd and out of place I now feel relieved to know I can put a name to why I am the way I am. I am 30 now and didn’t start to feel I was different until my 20’s when I felt completely out of touch with my friends despite knowing them since school. My partner has joked for ages that I am on the spectrum (he has a brother who is autistic). What made me realise I may have a problem was looking up on google the fact that I feel like a child in other people’s eyes despite having a job, mortgage, child, etc. I came across a thread of people with Aspergers discussing the same issue. I then looked up symptoms in women and came across this article. I will definitely look at getting a proper diagnosis as I think being able to tell people ‘this is what I am’ will help me to cope in social situations.

  50. Omg, years ive been trying to help figure myself out..reading all of this apart from 3things i have to look up..i just read up about my exact self..thankyou now i have a stepping stone for maybe a me in this life..thankyou

  51. Your list was the start of a process of self-discovery for me that has lead to a great amount of validation of why I’ve gone through life the way I have. My social difficulties, the constant feeling of being overwhelmed by too much light, noise, too many people, too much conversation. My clumsiness, lack of eye contact, repetitive behaviors. I grew up with a brother with Autism, and, so far as I know, my only first cousin is also Autistic.

    I want to seek help; I want to seek an official diagnosis.

    Where I live, there is really only one mental health resource (a community mental health center). I contacted them, asking to get in for an intake appointment, and specifying that I was interested in beginning the process to be evaluated for Asperger’s Syndrome.

    When I showed up for the appointment, my purpose of being there for Asperger’s was completely pushed aside. I was asked, “Well, we don’t really do that here. Besides, um……were you in special education in school? No? Then, yeah, probably not it. You would have struggled in school. And, Autism is a developmental disorder that would have been caught in the school years. It isn’t really a thing for adults.” I was crushed. Was? Well, still am.

    I don’t know where to go from here. This place really is my only resource. I wish there was some way for the people that I am trying to work with to become educated about Asperger’s, especially in women, but that’s not exactly something that I can enforce. I just feel stuck, and am struggling with the idea of going back there for my next appointment, knowing that they just want to evaluate me for depression and social phobia. The social phobia, I can understand…..as a part of Asperger’s. The depression, I disagree with. Extreme fatigue? Yes. Being overwhelmed? Yes. Self-loathing, oppressive sadness, etc? No. I think the symptoms that I do have that could overlap with depression are also explained by Asperger’s. But, how do you explain that to a system that denies that Asperger’s can even be a “thing” for an intelligent adult?

    Any advice that you can give, I would whole heartedly appreciate.

    • Hi Liz, I am sorry to hear about your story and it is all too common unfortunately. I do empathize with your situation. I currently am providing diagnostic assessments via Skype to adults all over the world, if that is an option for you. I closely follow Professor Tony Attwood’s procedures. I am doing this primarily because there is such a lack of professionals in this particular area at the moment. Let me know if you are interested. All the best.

  52. Thanks for your efforts to, in effect, make people aware of the characteristics of Asperger women.
    I’m a 57-year-old non-Aspie male married 33 years to an Aspie lady (whom I still love maaaaadly, by the way). As a non-Aspie in a long-term committed relationship with an Aspie, I can vouch that an Aspie woman brings to a relationship definite strengths that non-Aspie women typically lack . However, the reality is that Aspie women also bring definite weaknesses. While she and I met and married, Asperger’s was known only to the few researchers. Consequently, we had zero idea of the root of the many serious relational/emotional/intimacy/communication/sexual issues we faced right from the start. Although we’ve managed (though not, of course, really ever solved) our Aspie/non-Aspie differences chasm and “survived to tell the tale”, both she and I believe that, had we been aware of the chasm we were dealing with when we met, then much pain, misunderstanding, and disappointment might have been avoided between us.
    Awareness, including self-awareness, goes far toward understanding if not resolving relationship issues. By educating people, you’re helping people acquire that awareness.

  53. Pingback: Goddamn Poster Child for Asperger’s – Show Me Who You Really Are

  54. Hi,
    I am a 23 year old female from the UK. Most people are surprised to learn my age because I look much younger. I am very quite when I speak, I get very anxious in social situations and I detest eye contact!
    I believed for a long time that I was born with social anxiety but more recently I have felt that perhaps it is Asperger’s as it is not just social issues I struggle with. I can relate to almost everything above. I have a twin sister who is also ‘like’ me. At school my sister and I only had each other as friends and were bullied for being ‘ shy’. I dropped out of university because I found it so overwhelming but a year later I signed up to college to study animal management.
    Most of the time I just feel lost, like I don’t belong with everyone else in the world. Only my sister understands me.
    I’m terrified to see a doctor because I don’t think they will take me seriously and I am too afraid to speak to anybody about my issues. I am tired of being anxious 24/7.

  55. Hello Tania

    I am not sure how I ended up on your blog, possibly as a result of watching a film called White Frog, which stars a teenage boy with Asperger’s. Very recently I have become aware of my own anxiety and often my GP has commented on the fact that I might be stressed. I have often said I am always stressed because if stress was what I thought it was (I’m probably wrong by the way) then I had been that way my entire life. I am starting to believe that what I am calling stress is actually anxiety.

    I’m 26 and work from home freelance when I can but other than that I don’t generally go outside unless my boyfriend is really upset that I haven’t in a while. I grew up with my dad and three older sisters who have always protected me because they thought something was “different” about me. They always told people that was the case whenever I did something weird in social situations anyways. I am in the UK and doubt that I will ever get it prescribed but am quite alarmed by the number of statements on your list that apply to me.

    I have tried assertiveness training, making a conscious effort to speak louder or not at all (there was a period when I was younger that I just decided not talking was easier than trying to explain myself). I was just this morning considering going on a course to improve my communication because friends have told me that I was boring when I spoke or they couldn’t understand a thing I said despite my exasperating efforts. Of late my isolation has had health implications.

    I guess I wanted to ask what’s next after you discover that you might have Asperger’s?

    Also many thanks for writing this list, I never would have found out such a thing existed or explained my being different to such a large extent. Also apologies for the rather long comment.

    Many thanks
    Becky

  56. I have struggled all my life with being different, not able to communicate effectively, not able to cope with being touched and anxious constantly. Two days ago I found out I had Aspergers after my son also being diagnosed. Thank you for your list – it has really helped me draw the pieces of my past together into something that makes so much more sense. I can see why my marriage failed, and it helps to find out that there is a reason for how I am. Your list has made me cry heaps, but in a helpful way, I am just sad I didn’t find out what was wrong with me years ago, when I might have been able to save my marriage.

  57. Wow, this describes me in so many ways. It has been difficult but much easier as I have aged and matured. Thank you for the great information.

  58. This is SO interesting!!! I can relate to so many of the things on these lists, so many……..

    I am finally exploring, at the age of nearly 50, why I have felt so out of place my whole life. I can relate to many of the traits of ADD (inattentive type) but I think there is a fair bit of Aspie in me as well. My son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism at the age of 3 (he is 18 now) and we lead our lives and have our house, just the way we like it. We are both gamers, love animals, neither of us likes too much sunlight in the house and we spend a lot of time just doing our own thing, getting together for meals mostly. He has the most amazing hearing and I have an excellent sense of smell. Other than that, we are very similar with a lot of the stuff that pushes our buttons, mostly relating to the social world. I am grateful every day that I have a child that I can relate to so well…..I have an older daughter as well but she is as NT as its possible for someone to be and her growing up years were challenging. She left home and my son and I breathed a sigh of relief. We are quite close but she really doesnt understand me at all.

    I have just started seeing a psychiatrist, who is treating me for the depression & anxiety which has plagued me for years……..he doesnt think I am on the spectrum because of my ability to “read” others very well, I am very intuitive about other people. I was agreeing with him because my son very clearly doesnt have this ability – in fact, if I am upset about something, I have to actually TELL him that I am upset because he has no clue. But……having read these lists above, I am wondering if it IS possible for someone on the spectrum to be as intuitive as I am? Its annoyed a lot of people over the years, including myself ;)

    Anyway, lots of food for thought here….thank you for putting this information out there.

    • Hello Hannah! I was so pleased to get your message. I kno wof 5 other women doing PhD’s in the area of female ASpergers. It is incredible and look out! The next few years there is going to be an explosion of knowledge in this area and I am so pleased about this. Your blog is great and keep doing what you’re doing:-)

  59. holy cannolli. i came here looking for some insight particularly trying to differentially diagnose PTSD with AS (as i know beyond question i have ptsd). this list describes my personality and my life *in detail* with nearly *perfect accuracy*. there were *only two points* on the entire list that did not apply. doesn’t change anything, but it does explain a lot – especially my lack of success in therapy and with psychopharmaceuticals, even though i’ve been highly invested, had good rapport with my treaters, and even sought out an MA in psychology (since i’m ridiculously empathic). i’m going to find some way to work with animals. hopefully my boyfriend will be willing to read this article, since he comments frequently on my “antisocialness” and doesn’t understand how exquisitely sensitive i am to people and how much anguish that and my social backwardness cause me (and consequent withdrawal and inability to hold jobs). i am, by the way, widely considered a competent diagnostician — and am very aware of how immature the field really is. (i no longer practice, though, having been burned out and having so many problems negotiating the social pressures and my issues with authority on any job).

    anyone who thinks this is a choice or an excuse has no idea how many of my limbs i would trade to be “normal” no matter how much i value the gifts of AS. i have artificially developed many skills in adulthood i lacked as a child, but nothing that enables me to fully compensate, only to “fake” until i reach such a point of mental and emotional exhaustion i have to hide in a corner for a few weeks. it took me years to come to terms with the PTSD, now i am coming to terms with this. the benefit seems to be that i stop judging myself through other people’s eyes, and am able to be more compassionate and self-accepting, and then find ways to accommodate what I have come to view as disabilities rather than character defects (as my first therapists regarded them). With acceptance, my drinking and other self-destructive coping behaviors have of their own accord improved significantly. if i can find a way to “feel” more connected — even if it’s just allowing myself to spend more time with animals, and finding a way to make that happen — i know my life will be better for it.

  60. Hi, thanks for this. I’ve recently taken a test which states my results as being AS. I’d like to get an official diagnosis. Do you have any ideas how I can do this? I live in the UK

    • Hi Camilla, I regularly provide diagnostic assessments via Skype to adults all over the world, if that is an option for you. I closely follow Professor Tony Attwood’s procedures. Other than that, if you get in contact with the NAS in the UK they may be able to direct you. Please make sure you see someone who specialized in the female profile of Aspergers. All the best!

  61. I always wondered why I was different from others…This information was extremely useful that now I know what makes me different from everyone

  62. I have always been different from the rest of the pack.
    I have been blessed with the fact that my father accepted and encouraged
    my growth.
    I have never felt the need to fit in, I am comfortable in my own skin and if others don’t like it then they don’t have to look.
    I not only love me I truly like me for all my faults as well as my strengths.
    I am almost 60 yrs . old but look in my 40’s.
    I fail to see the reason why every one thinks Asperger Syndrome is a problem and
    I should seek help. I like who I am and see no need to change me.
    I have every thing I need, the air that I breath, Nature hikes , my animals and Some One who loves me as I am.
    The Normals should be so lucky!

    • I think our time is coming.

      I think that having some understanding of why we are so different really helps many with Asbergers understand ourselves in relation to others. I have spent my life trying to make sense of the world – I’m 44 now. My new understanding (and in large part thanks to this community and especially taniaannmarshall) has strengthened me, helped me to build my self confidence. There were aspects of my Asbergers (poor working memory and inconsistent oral communication) that always held me back from being able to share the amazing gifts that come with being an Asbie, but now I have a much clearer understanding of how to navigate around my deficits to share my gifts. I can finally present my critical thinking with confidence – in the past I second guessed myself constantly because I had achieved poorly in school and been made to feel a fool during class presentations (my mind would just freeze – and I couldn’t verbalize what I understood and wanted to say). It was only in my adult working life when I was repeatedly funnelled through into leadership positions that I started to recognize that I understood complex situations better than my co-workers, that my confidence in my abilities started to grow. However, even then I continued to doubt myself because when I felt vulnerable, I would retreat into that old place of humiliation and lack of self confidence (I would doubt my ability and imagine that I was only in that prestigious position by fluke). Understanding Asbergers is huge for me, because now I can start to revisit those early years that were so negative. Instead of nurturing me, my school experience sapped my self confidence.

      This new understanding is empowering. I feel as if I have lots to share with the world, and I now have the confidence to pursue doing so. I think that there are many people with extraordinary gifts that have not been valued in our traditional, top down, “standardized testing” based systems. As a result these people have been discarded (check out the profiles of those in prisons and in poverty) – if you didn’t fit the traditional education system they tried to help you fit into “the system” or they gave up and discarded you (by this I mean that when you are not nurtured during your youth, when the system tries to force compliance to their ways irrespective of it’s ability to meet an individuals needs, frustration and negative behaviour can result boiling over into socially unacceptable behaviour). Some of us are lucky enough to have navigated our way through the system to live functional, productive lives.

      This new understanding may help many people to come forward to share their incredible gifts with the world with more confidence. I believe that the world over is searching for new ways of doing things – many of our current systems are crumbling, first and foremost the system of “top-down, authoritative management”. I believe that those who do not fit “the system” often see things uniquely. We have lots to share with the world – for the good of the world.

      (As you may no doubt be picking up – this is my “Asbie” focus area. I know enough about myself to stop writing now because I could just keep going . . . :)

  63. Thank you so much for your hard work! Incredibly intelligent. I think you might have changed my life, or perspective on my life.

  64. I guess I have a couple questions. I actually stumbled onto your blog and never thought of myself of having aspergers. ( but my hobby is reading, and I would have eventually gotten there) I have been in some kind of therapy since I was a teenager but not one doctor gave me a correct diagnosis. Forty years later, I’m reading what you are writing, and I’m knocked out. I answered yes to about 95%.
    After reading your blog, I deliberately go hunting for more of what you are writing, blogs, books, tests, and more about aspergers. There is not much out there. I see the same seven or eight symptoms, which seem very flat to me. Not nice and puffy like your lists.
    I guess my question is, why do doctors know so little about aspergers ?
    Who is going help fill them in on the high functioning aspergers? Why is the list of symptoms out there so dry? It’s seems like the medical community doesn’t really care about this syndrome. Is this a syndrome ?

    Thank you in advance
    Rose

  65. I could relate to 95-98% of the markers. I have never trusted the so-called “mental health” system, as I’ve been “dx” with everything else (incorrectly). So now, I’m old, isolated; I’ve never understood what was going on; meanwhile, much has been taken from me, that normally constitutes a life. I have always been misunderstood– nor do I understand.So what do I do, now? I feel as though I were still from another planet! For myself: Write, read, pray, and make your day (Or in my case, night… wherein thoughts shine bright.)

    I have many obsessions; poetry is but one.

    So how do I interact/reach out/get dx if I am this “old”? I have always tested erratically, btw; and “learn in spurts”. I was told way back that I may have “learning disabilities”, but it was never really defined. Was always several grades ahead, verbally; but couldn’t do math or gym. Clingy, temper tantrums as a child; never quite understanding what was going on– until I learned to read. Then, my world came into focus, but I was still deficient in social interaction. I still have problems with that, as well as with certain types of organization, forgetting faces; get lost easily, etc. Also, am easily overwhelmed with day- to-day living. I am an underachiever, and can often barely take care of myself. Yet at other times, I can do wonders, and even astound myself (and others). So my performance has always been quite uneven: exacerbated also by medical illnesses.Overall, I have no problems in verbalization, but have been deficient in most other areas– though I have also had some success with music and computers. I have had very truncated relationships, or else, the people involved died, moved, etc.

    BTW, I was always a “rocker”, too; also, an extreme introvert. So, sleep problems enter into all this… DPSD, for example? Or anything else physical, such as atypical migraines, or fibromyalgia?

    So how do I get help at the age of 64? Thanks! ☺

    • Hello Twilight Gold and thank-you for your message. I believe it is never too late for a diagnosis. I have personally assessed and diagnosed many adults, including up to the age of 70. You certainly sound as though you do have traits. It is difficult for me to advise you of where to get help, as I do not know what country you are from. I would advise you contact your nearest Autism Society or Centre? Or a specialist who works with Aspergers and adults? All the best:-)

  66. Thank you, Tania, for your research and for sharing it. I just read the story of my life in your article. In spite of many difficulties throughout my 54 years on earth, I view my Asperger’s dx as a gift. I am glad and grateful to be whom I am. Again, thank you for such an affirmative list of, I won’t call them symptoms…rather, strengths!

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  68. Really Really amazing. I dated a woman for two years who never told me she had this disorder. The challenges were more than I could ever explain. I can relate to each and every one of your sections. How did it end? I came home one day and she was gone. I haven’t heard from her since. Hope you’re ok Roxanne.

  69. HI Tania, I found your site while researching about asperger because I suspect my 5 yrs old is might be “aspie”. Thanks for sharing your awesome work.

    After reading your research, the descriptions listed described my girl close to 70%. And what is more interesting is that it describes me about 85%-90%. Your work is focused on females, I am not sure do these also describe men? I am not sure am i also a aspie? If I am a aspie, then i might be a high functioning one that had learnt skills to cope socially in early years of my career, where i think i am ok till i read your research to realise that I may have coped well all these years. In my profession, I deliver countless of management and leadership training, and also provide one to one coaching in the area of management and leadership. I agree with your research that when it comes to social interaction with my participants, I am not very good.

    I like to hear your perspective and also do you think AS is hereditary?

    Thanks again for sharing your work. :) Well done.

    • Hi Fabian, thank-you for your message and your kind words. I am aware that some males identify with some of these traits. We are becoming more aware of a distinct female profile and this is my focus, as females have been left out of the research. Aspies have varying degrees of functioning across domains (for e.g., emotional, social, sensory, cognitive, etc) and females cope by ‘masking’, ‘çamouflaging’ and mimicking. One superpower of Aspergers is the ability to work one-on-one or present to a group, rather than work within a group. Yes, there appears to be a large genetic component to Aspergers and many families that I support are able to trace Aspergers back one or more generations. Take care:-)

  70. Thank you. Do let me know once you have published your book or maybe you had already. I would like get a copy to understand more about Asperger from your research and practice perspective. Cheers!

  71. Hi there, reading your list of traits has been an enlightening experience for me. I am 42 and I’ve always been rather socially awkward until I discovered drama – I have found being able to act has helped me cope in all sorts of situations – almost convincing myself ! I am socially awkward and often find myself shut into my head when in groups. I dislike noisy pubs because I can’t filter out the background noise to be able to hear what is being said. I have a 5 year old boy who has just been diagnosed as an Aspie, leading me to question my own traits. I have done a few on line tests, but always come out as neuro typical, but this list has so many ticks for me. It’s the first time I have realised that there is an explanation for how I am. I have extreme difficulty making and maintaining friendships and relationships. I have an eating disorder and drink way too much when I am out even though I have low tolerance to alcohol. I have been promiscuous in the past because sex was the only way I could connect. I seem to have gotten past that now, but I do still have some pretty bad habits when it comes to coping strategies. Other people’s opinions have often influenced my view of myself and I have always tried to fit in by mirroring those about me. I live in Ireland and I know it is not going to be worth trying for a formal diagnosis – especially when most people have absolutely no idea about what goes on in my head ! This is very reassuring and I would like to say thank you.

    Kind regards
    Liz

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  73. Hi Tania, Thank you for this. I am 48 years old, have never fit in. I relate to so many of the traits you have listed. I have always taken things literally and often over think things when someone is telling a joke. Had to leave study a couple of times, just overwhelmed. Colours have to match in my home. When watching a tv show or movie, I am always looking at the detail in the background. Feel the most at peace at home alone. If I am forced into a social situation, as in a family wedding, for a week or two, I actually become depressed. Drank alcohol to fit in when younger, but came to realise my nervous system over reacts to alcohol and many medications. If an ad comes on tv involving babies or small children, I will be in tears within seconds. Can’t even watch someone having an injection on tv. If I see or walk into a certain house or nature setting, can actually feel it ( maybe that is just normal?) Was a very picky eater as a child, could not tolerate a lot of tastes. Have regular migraines where noise, even someone talking makes my head hurt. I could go on and on. Is it worth it at my age to get diagnosed? Where would I go in WA?

    • Hello Jewels and thank-you for your message. Currently, there are a couple of generations of adults (all over the world) who have undiagnosed Asperger Sydnrome or Autism and may or may not know they have it. There are a few different diagnostic pathways to a diagnosis, either through a child or family member, self-diagnosing, through seeking help for a presenting issue (anxiety, social anxiety, depression, and so on). I believe it is worth it at any age to obtain a diagnosis. I believe this for many reasons which I discuss in another blog and am going to write more about in the future. As for professionals who specialize in the area of female Aspergers/Autism, there are few of us at this point in time. I will be starting a lsit of specialists on my website in the future. I will email you as well. All the best.

  74. Hi. Thank you for making this list. I identify with the majority of traits mentioned. It is really comforting to know that other women experience the same difficulties as me. I really feel that I want to get some kind of help for this, but I feel that if I tell someone, they may not believe me. I can come across confident, but as this article has mentioned, it is always a performance. Frankly, I don’t want to have to convince someone that I am ‘not normal’ to get help. Or maybe I don’t have AS and instead I am just socially awkward, even though I identify with about 95% of these traits. I don’t really know what to do…

    • Hello Cc, you make a really great point when you say “Ï don’t want to have to convince someone that I am ‘not normal’ to get help”. Often Aspergers in females is misdiagnosed as the presenting condition, i.e. depression, anxiety, nervous breakdown. Technically, a diagnosis is prvoded so one can access funding, services or support. However I know of many adults who are functioning well but want a formalized diagnosis more as an explanation of their experiences to date, for self-knowledge and self-understanding and for their families. I think it’s important for individuals to be clear on waht they want the daignosis for and how it would benefit them. More about this in upcoming blogs.

      • Thank you for your advise Tania, you are right about needing a diagnosis for self-understanding, I will be checking your blogs regularly, thanks again.

      • Hello cc and you are welcome. There are many reasons, with an important one after an “explanation”, that of having an “identity”. All the best.

  75. you’ve pretty much described me. thank you :) i never knew why i was so different until i met my current partner, an adult-diagnosed Aspie. he’s a mirror of me, and this helps us support each other.

  76. I’m a 17 yr girl who has always been bothered by mood swings, emotional oversensitiveness and many-many things. So I started searching about my conditions. At first I thought I had BPD since I found my condition somewhat similar to it’s symptoms. But then I came across this page and found that Asperger syndrome’s symptoms are more closer to my condition. I don’t know I’m confused. I’ve never met a psychologist/psychiatrist for my condition. No one in my family knows about it, since I’ve been a hosteler since I was 6 yr old. I’m not close to anyone not even my family. I’ve always kept a distance with everyone and pushed them away if they get too close. What should I do? :| thinking about all this makes me feel much more lonely and moodier…

    • Hello Emeraldsapphire, thank-you for your message, I receive many from young women such as yourself. One of the biggest challenges for individuals with Aspergers is managing stress, anxiety and anger (mood swings and/or intense emotions). The second difficulty for them is usually in communication, interpreting others and relationships. Read all you can and I wonder is there an Autism or Aspergers Centre where you live?

  77. I’m a 17 yr girl who has always been bothered by mood swings, emotional oversensitiveness and many-many things. So I started searching about my conditions. At first I thought I had BPD since I found my condition somewhat similar to it’s symptoms. But then I came across this page and found that Asperger syndrome’s symptoms are more closer to my condition. I don’t know I’m confused. I’ve never met a psychologist/psychiatrist for my condition. No one in my family knows about it, since I’ve been a hosteler since I was 6 yr old. I’m not close to anyone not even my family. I’ve always kept a distance with everyone and pushed them away if they get too close. What should I do? :| thinking about all this makes me feel much more lonely and moodier… Please help me. Give some suggestions.

    • Hello Emeraldsapphire, thank-you for your message, I receive many from young women such as yourself. Is it possible that one of your carers or an adult that you trust would read some of the information regarding female Aspergers that you identify with? In addition, in another post I also mentioned how I feel that self-knowledge, understanding and strengths are most important, even if it’s not possible to find a professional where you live, that specialized in this area. The Internet has greatly helped many to find out more information about female Aspergers. All the best.

      1. Self-Knowledge and Understanding
      The best intervention for Asperger syndrome is knowledge, understanding and approach. Knowledge and understanding: researching Asperger syndrome in terms of learning and understanding the condition and how it relates to the individual.
      Approach: means using a strengths-based approach in understanding her unique profile of abilities. Focusing on her abilities, gifts and talents is critical. The willingness of adults to make accommodations to the individual’s home and school is very important. Accommodations will help the person adapt appropriately and function the best she can within a variety of settings.

      2. Find out your strengths, gifts and talents and focus on those.

  78. Hey Tania,
    I’m so glad that I found your website. I’m from Germany and heard shortly about Asperger and could identify with it. It was hard to find the “real symptoms”, especially in Germany Asperger is not well known and you find different symptoms and people dont understand what its all about.
    When I read your list I could identify with 95 % as well and I started thinking about what that means to me. With 16/17 I started to copy other people in my age, just to be not the “strange”. My mam always worried about me beeing most of the time on my own because she couldnt understand why. Friends of her sending their children to play with me, to get the “lonely” girl out of her room. That was very embarrissing and made us emotionally a kind of separating. I bet when I would tell her that I think I have Asperger, she wouldnt really belief and think its just an excuse. It’s hard to understand or belief that yourself has a kind of autism/disability and that its me who is different and not the others.

    • Hello Anja,

      Thank-you for your message and I appreciate hearing from you in Germany. I see Asperger Syndrome as a different operating system, a different set of priorities and a different way of seeing or viewing the world. I would hope that your mother would be willing to read some of the information out that on female Aspergers that you identify with. All the best.

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  80. Gosh I really relate to a heck of a lot of this, I was late diagnosed at the age of 34 following my 2 year old sons diagnosis of ASD, I am currently trying to get my 4 year old daughter investigated for aspergers, she is just like me and I am absolutely sure that she has AS, the authorities don’t agree, they see a quiet, well behaved, academically sound little girl, I see AS, and treat her as such with amazing results (we have completed the EarlyBird and the Healthy Minds courses with the NAS), I have insisted that the school allow my child to use symbols to ask for help and to show her feelings, and they are surprised at how much she uses them, and that this quiet little girl needs a lot of help! The sooner they have a specific diagnosis tool for females, the better.

  81. Thank you for sharing this insightful post. I have FINALLY figured out what is wrong with me for the past 46 years. I guess now it’s just a matter of what to do now?

    • Lisa, thank-you for your message. I do not believe there is anything “wrong” with you. You have a unique profile of characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. I often recommend starting with the following:’

      1. Self-Knowledge and Understanding
      The best intervention for Asperger syndrome is knowledge, understanding and approach. Knowledge and understanding: researching Asperger syndrome in terms of learning and understanding the condition and how it relates to females.
      Approach: means using a strengths-based approach in understanding the individual and her unique profile of abilities. Focusing on her abilities, gifts and talents is critical. The willingness of others to make accommodations for the individual, is very important. A variety of accommodations based on the individuals needs, support level, and level of functioning will greatly help the individual to adapt appropriately and function the best she can within a variety of settings, i.e. work, school/education, home, community, relationships.

      2. Find out what your strengths, gifts, talents are, if you don’t already know and focus on them

      I wish you all the best and hope this is helpful.

  82. I’m so glad I just found this. I had never even thought about it, I thought I had AADD. My daughter is 2 and almost certainly autistic. I cry when I read this, because it describes me so well. And my feeling of being lost and different is described just here.

  83. I don’t know what to say. This has been me all of my life and a ton of autoimmune syndromes on top of this. I have been grossly misdiagnosed for 20 years, and I’ve known it. Here in Washington State, I will be hard pressed to get a doctor to diagnose me correctly. I had to push the “specialists” here to diagnose me correctly for Lupus. Mental health is the least important in our state…it should be a crime against humanity.

    I feel like now I’ve found my self on your page…why have I not heard of this before? I need to find a starting place and see someone. Now I feel like I’m back to square one. Ty for the info. We all appreciate it.

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  86. Hi Tania,
    I am currently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, but I have two younger brothers on the autism spectrum and I have always known it was more than Bipolar. Can you give me any links to resources or specialists for women with Asperger’s in Canada? Thank you so much!

  87. Thank you so much. I am a 60 year old African American Woman and have been in a state of depression since 8 years old. I have been diagnose as manic depressive and bipolar, but I knew that there was another reason for my personality. Can you assist me with other resources in Mississippi?

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  89. Thank you so much for this. I haven’t had anything fit so well. I also have Ehlers -Danlos and never even considered it related until now…it gives me a sense of peace knowing I am not a hypochondriac.

  90. I…. Am floored. I am 35, and most of this is dead on for me. I’ve often suspected my brothers may be on the spectrum… But it never occurred to me to look at myself. Wow.

  91. Reblogged this on Tentacled Monotony and commented:
    I…. Am freaking out a little. But this would explain SO MUCH. I’ve always suspected this of my brothers… But never looked at myself. I just assumed I was weird. Well, I AM, but it’s nice to put a little more shape to my weird.

  92. Thank you for this, Tania. I am 23 and have just recently begun suspecting that I may have Aspergers; this was an excellent tool in beginning to understand how my mind works. I have been professionally diagnosed with ADHD, and have struggled with social anxiety my entire life. I have been accused of being mean, rude, and disinterested, when in fact I feel quite the opposite. I also have an uncontrollable urge to please and be liked by everyone around me, and become highly distressed when I believe someone doesn’t. People often misjudge my age, assuming I am very young if they haven’t spoken to much much, or assuming I am older if they’ve had a conversation with me. I have been told quite often that my voice sounds like that of a child.
    I will soon seek a professional diagnosis, but I do believe it will only confirm my suspicions. This list has helped curb some of my skepticism, and I thank you for posting it and making women aware of the traits that are specific to them that may not be diagnostically recognized.

  93. Wow that truely makes sense, at least for me. I have research a lot ( I guess) and haven’t found any detailed and exact traits like these. Thank you for this useful information. It helped me to understand a little bit more about AS.

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  95. It was downright horrifying to read this list and see so much of myself. At 61 learning that I am on the spectrum is a perplexing and frightening situation to be in.

    • Hi Amy, it can be overwhelming to identify with being on the Spectrum. Autism and Asperger Syndrome have been around for a very long time and there is a high genetic rate. I have assessed and diagnosed many adults in their sixties and seventies and all felt a sense of relief and were able to answer the questions that they had had for many years, in addition to learning and becoming more knowledgeable about themselves. There is information coming out all the time.

  96. I was originally diagnosed seven years ago with having low self esteem and a difficulty with processing emotions. I finally got diagnosed, after four years of a career black hole, with high functioning autism, within this past year. There is so much out there for males, and sometimes I felt like I could not associate with the disorder. But I read through your list, and saw so much that is me or was me as a kid (ex. Making the decision to wear my track suit to my first communion party because I hated the feel of the dress, and my overalls with very stuffed pockets). I am so thankful for my diagnosis, with my only regret that it had not happened years ago (even my friends at the time saw my nonverbal challenges!)

  97. Thanks for putting htis together, I have 3 sons 2 of which are on the autistic spectrum. When my first son was diagnosed and i began to learn about autism and aspergers i knew straight away this was me. I fit in to so many of your listed criterias above and after many struggles in education and early adulthood i finally found a profession and career in my late 20s and finally managed a degree in my 30s. I was referred last year through our mental health team to our community adult aspergers services and was given a formal diagnosis of aspergers syndrome. It is only recently i have been able to disclose this to people I know as for quite some time after my dianosis I was very angry and went into another depression. Basically I felt that I had been let down all these yeas and it is so obious now what was wrong with me and my past could have been so different if my aspergers had been picked up in my younger years. Now I have come to terms with it and now understand myself more I have tried to spread understanding and awareness to others and your work here is particularly helpful in doing so. Thanks

  98. Greate post. Keep posting such kind of info on your
    site. Im really impressed by your blog.
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  99. Hi Tania, I have enjoyed reading your working document on women with Asperger’s. It was because of websites like yours that I was able to finally realize at 61 years old what my “deal” was. I fit very many of the characteristics listed above. I mulled over all the information I had learned in the last couple of years and finally worked up the nerve to phone my local medical association to get information regarding who I should see for a diagnosis. Well to make a long story short I most certainly have Asperger Syndrome. I am actually OK with the diagnosis, as it sure does explain so much about myself I had always wondered about. For as long as I can remember I knew somewhere within that I really was just a little different. So many things I couldn’t figure out. Why I dreaded social events, trips, etc. Why chit chat seemed so hard at times. Why I frequently missed understanding a joke. And so on. Thank you so much again, because I really feel without sites like yours I would still be wondering. Now I have some work to do understanding everything, but I will :)

    • Dear Gail, thank-you so much for you message. I am so proud of your for going to the doctors and having this done. I receive so many messages from elderly women who wonder what’s the point om getting a diagnosis? Now, you have reasons, explanations, answers, knowledge, education, and more! Read, learn about your sensory profile. You will be just fine and Congratulations. You are a superhero!

  100. Wow Tania this is amazing, so many females identifying with this list of traits, as I do myself. It’s somehow reassuring to know that there are others, quite a lot of others, who are feeling the same way. I have to say though I am finding diagnosis very very difficult. I’m getting, no you have empathy, what about your childhood, delayed speech? Repetitive behaviour? All the traits I identify with in your list are disregarded, and this is from psychologists recommended by the state association. It is heartening to know that you are doing so much research in the area but at the moment I feel like I have found an answer for what makes me, me but that somehow I don’t really qualify.

    • Hello LaynieMae, thank-you for your message and for your kind words. There are many many others who feel just like you do. I assess and diagnose quite a few adult women on a weekly basis now via Skype, from all over the world.. I am glad that you have found an “answer”. It appears to be a common theme across all the women I talk to, is that they have spent their whole lives looking for an answer that explains and makes sense to them as to why they feel the way they do. There are a few specialists who assess and diagnose female adults and I hope to add them to my website soon. All the best.

  101. it’s funny to me that “no empathy” is supposedly an AS trait when i’ve been reading for 30 or 35 years how widely it’s suspected that the problem is that AS individuals react the way they do to (social and other) stimulus because they can’t screen ANYTHING out. which is exactly how being overly empathic feels to me (along with sound and light).

    also any diagnostician worth his or her salt knows that NO diagnostic criteria are perfect, which is why there is usually if not always a category “NOS” for people who don’t fit neatly into one or the other but still clearly have spectrum issues (with any mental “disorder”). which is yet another reason why the DSM is constantly being revised.

  102. I am 37. Single mother. Returned to college 2 years ago and just transferred to a university. I have several learning disabilities (and physical). I’ve been a business owner, a great leader, and independent; however, I do not play well with others. I speak from the heart and mean to be soft but the tone of my voice is harsh and comes out sarcastic sounding. I recently googled, “How to change your personality,” and have been trying strategies to do so. I have social anxiety really bad. I have been on medication for years for depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. I have no desire to be social. I have very few friends. Most of them have taken advantage of me. I cut them off for a few years then find it easier to rebuild their friendship than to go out and meet new people. I am a total perfectionist, but horrible speller. I could not continue to read the entire blog because of all of the grammar errors. I am a Buddhist and I am studying a dual-major: Elementary Education and Special Education. I excel at everything I LIKE. I can be arrogant. I can also be affected by negative people really easy and I take everything personally. If somebody is REALLY upset with me and it is not just my imagination, I disconnect and pretend it is not happening or I pretend to be somebody else. I suffer from PTSD. I believe my symptoms have worsened since the onset of PTSD in 2006. I often think, “I really can’t stand my own personality. I have to change NOW!”

    I am really interested in more of what you have to say and would like to speak to you regarding my symptoms and possibly try to find the right person to help me treat this or learn some healthy coping skills. Please contact me asap and thank you for writing this blog. I have no idea how I came across it, but I did. Thank you, universe! Dana

  103. Wow…62yo sensitive female RN married for 4 years to an Aspie geek 16 years my junior. I have almost all the symptoms you mentioned. Lifelong “underachiever”, I think I only graduated from school due to my instinct to pair up with people who were able to keep track of the assignments then I would help them with the work. My 30yo undiagnosed (formally) daughter sent me here. She has it in spades also. “No light touch! Don’t hug me! You’re trailing sound! (when I left something on in the other room and didn’t immediately turn it off for her benefit.)” No clothing tags, shoes and clothes a size too big, myriad food dislikes, eats one food at time, socially withdraws, only wants to be with family and that not very much, married to an Aspie and asexual (they both like it that way.) I could go on and on. Life is interesting, isn’t it?

  104. I wonder if the female “Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism” profile you and others have come up with and the more studied male “Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism” profile are really two different conditions?

  105. Hello Tania,
    I stumbled onto your blog while looking for support for my nineteen-year-old son. He’s been “diagnosed” with a combination of psych labels from various therapists/docs since he was twelve: Attachment Disorder, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression/Anxiety, etc. I have never believed any of these labels was quite right. My husband and I knew his behavior was “different” from most other children since we adopted him before he was a year old. Our older son was a very different child than his younger brother. As a teacher, I knew something wasn’t right but it’s been so hard to figure out the puzzle. I suggested to him recently that I thought he was on the autism spectrum. At first he was very angry, but then he investigated on his own. He’s extremely smart, 150 IQ, but with the social sense of a young child. He later told me he agrees that he has autistic tendencies. I bring up my son, because the more I read about ASD, the more I see myself. I’m fifty years old and have always felt like an outsider looking in. I’m very introverted, often reclusive, obsessive about my interests, physically hypersensitive, intuitive, with a very keen sixth sense, more interested in reading/studying than socializing, and uncomfortable in many social situations… As a teacher it is uncomfortable for me to go beyond my classroom when at school. I enjoy talking to colleagues one on one about teaching practices and such but avoid the staff lounge, hate the meetings, and become almost physically ill when required to participate in loud, rancorous staff meetings. If I do speak up about something I feel strongly about, others may misconstrue my intentions, and look upon me as uncooperative. I “pay” for my behavior because people sometimes think I am arrogant. I don’t think I am. I have a few close friends, and my husband and I are somewhat similar in temperament (he is far more social), but I have always struggled to make friends. I have always felt out of sync with most other people, but can be an excellent mimic when I have the energy to do so. That’s how I get through the minutiae of life. So, I recognize myself here, and it gives me some understanding of who I may be. Thank you.

    • Hello Cam,

      thank-you for your message. Your description certainly reflects some distinguishing features or characteristics commonly seen in the expression of Asperger Syndrome in females. Many individuals have what I call a “cocktail” of diagnoses, and it may be only until the
      the late teen years or adulthood, that they receive the appropriate diagnosis.

  106. Thank you for this list. I am a 65 year old female and this describes me completely. I knew nothing about aspergers until about two weeks ago when I read that there may be a connection between anorexia and autism. That got me started and I ended up at your website. I had a very serious bout with anorexia 50 years ago and I have never read a satisfactory description of this disease. I don’t believe I was trying to be thin. Even though I got down to 88 pounds, I remember thinking that was not low enough. I believe I was punishing my body in some way. Have you done any research in this area? Thank you.

    • I know its a common enough name but you didn’t live in Acacia Avenue and ride horses as a child did you? I won’t give any more details as that should be sufficient if you are the person I used to play with. I only ask because it would be wonderful if you were the same Margaret. But, yes, I know it’s unlikely and Hanson is probably your married name anyway but I had to ask.

  107. I love the list you have put together. I am 35 and have gone through a massive nervous breakdown in the last two years. Medications did not help. As I look at your list it exemplifies me completely. I didn’t take stock of how many things I could check off since they all seem to apply.

    I was always seen as highly intelligent and creative but struggled deeply through highschool and college. My Son was diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disability. My kids are both being tested for autism.

    I was diagnosed as having PTSD and anxiety. NVLD comes from the mother’s side. My son’s diagnosis explained a lot of my struggles. I am pursuing a formal diagnosis so I will develop the coping skills to keep me out of the hospital.

    When I was in the hospital they simply noted that I was highly intelligent with too much stress. I brought up the question of female aspergers and they tossed me off since I was really aware of myself. It was all attributed to stress.

    Again, I could check off everything on your list. My little girl would be checking each item off as well. If you are able to do skype assessments I would be interested. Please email me as to how to make that happen.

    Thank you

  108. I stumbled onto this blog by accident. I think it was meant to be! I am 64 years old and always thought I had some mental issue that I inherited from my mother and gave to some of my children and grandchildren. I have such a difficult time meeting and being around people. I always say the wrong thing…and ask myself “did I just say that?” Every few months I have to take a day or two to stay in bed and be alone. I long for quiet and solitude. If two or more people are talking at the same time I want to run away. I have a hard time expressing myself vocally, but have no problem writing. I am very good at public speaking as long as I write my words down beforehand. I start projects with a passion but lose interest right away. Consequently I never finish anything. I now know what is wrong with me. Doesn’t change anything, but it’s good to know. Maybe I can help my children and grandchildren

    • WOW! I am feeling the same thing but am 34 I am sorry for you to have been so alone and unsure of why. I think I understand you. I hope you find comfort.

  109. Warning this post has adult content
    Thanks for such an exhaustive list.
    My few cents based on my life experiences as a “high functioning” autistic woman:
    The cocktail of missing social cues, desire to please, and sensory processing issues has lead to confusing, traumatizing, and non-consensual intimate situations in my life. Successful intimacy may require quite a bit of negotiation due to sensory issues. For example, my husband knows that holding my arm firmly feels better than light caresses.
    Have you noticed instances of aspienwomen participating in alternative sexualities where roles, sensations, and expectations are set in advance?
    How many of us vary in our functionality over our monthly cycles? Part of my PMS includes feeling “lower functioning.” (This has made me very curious about the role of hormone levels in how autism is expressed.)
    I also wonder how many of us have stumbled on using tighter clothing or shape-wear for compression therapy; looking back on high school I think that those tight jeans were really giving me a boost.

    • I’ll reiterate your warning; adult content here as well

      Your reference to non-consensual intimate encounters struck me. From about age 18 to 25 (when I married) I was concomitantly promiscuous and almost virginally innocent. I “caved in” to sexual encounters as though I had no will of my own. I hated it and loved it when guys came onto me. It was as though I had to take charge and become the aggressor. I had to control the situation and so I did. Soft touching made me anxious, so I wanted quick, fast, furious sex. For a long time I wondered what that was about. It wasn’t like I ever had an orgasm. It was more like “this is going to happen, so I will control it.” I didn’t know how to read guys; I didn’t know how to negotiate the male-female dance. I craved acceptance and didn’t understand that these men had no interest in me other than physical gratification. My heart would suffer – sometimes a great deal – but then I would shut myself off and move on. Looking back, I realize that most of my encounters really weren’t truly consensual. That sounds strange, I know. After all, I engaged in them willingly, on the outside. But inside? I actually thought my partners cared for me and that was why I was giving myself to them. When I married (to my absolute best friend) everything changed. I couldn’t “make love.” Soft caresses make me want to jump out of my skin. I can’t kiss – I haven’t kissed my husband in 35 years, other than pecks on the cheek. Whenever we had sex, I wanted to go right to the orgasm. We found our way (sometimes with great difficulty) and have had great raucous sex for most of our marriage ( although we have reached the age where it is infrequent now) so neither of us have any complaints. And I have to say that my husband has been amazing in accommodating my “differences.” But I know that he would like that kind of soft, touching intimacy that I just can’t provide. I’d like to see more discussion here about sexuality. I think it’s an especially hard are for us Aspien women and our mates.

  110. I have every single one of these traits other than Irlen Syndrome but don’t know what it is. I was diagnosed with ADHD and am 34 and having a hard time. I am with my dog and she is my only real contact. I fear becoming homeless again if I cant hold down my job working for a much older boyfriend. I am doing my best but am afraid for my future. What do u think I should do? I have very little.

  111. Hello,
    I feel like reading your list is a homecoming of sorts, I was a very shy and introverted growing up, which was only made worse because of my father’s constant transfers across the country. How I wished I knew others would also struggled with similar traits, I turned inward (of course) and kept books around me like lost friends, after all, a book never judged or rolled their eyes when I said or acted in some kind of socially-awkward way. I spent my teenage years completely obsessed with writing down song lyrics, compiling them in a notebook to refer and review later, often musing about what the author really meant with their choices of words or context. Truth be told, I still am obsessed with song lyrics as well as reading (on average I read five books at a time at any given moment) and writing poetry. My question is, can people self-diagnose? Even though I received counseling for mild depression the doctor and therapist didn’t seem to think I had any type of condition other than the slight depression, however, I am convinced after reading this that I fit neatly into many of the categories, especially the desperate need for isolation at times and the profound connection I feel to nature.
    Thank you for having this information available.
    I would love to know if there is any kind of online forum or support group.

    • I want you to know u r not alone I understand finally what I have and I will be 35 this month. I’m relieved and overwhelmed and amazed that finally I know, I knew, something was not “normal” and I was not stupid or crazy or JUST ADHD! I knew there was more going on with me now finally I know what!

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  113. It all fits with me. I asked for an assessment and was sent to a psychiatrist. I had more of an understanding than he did. He expected me to have gone to a special school be interested in trains and not lie. He assessed me on his limited knowledge of young boys. I’m female, in my 50’s, changed schools when I was eleven and any problems I had were put down to the move. I lead an isolated life through choice but at 45 met a wonderful person who has become my sole mate. I can not see a specialist based on his report. He caused me so much stress. I think it’s criminal to put people in that situation. My own Doctor after having read his report was speechless but it powerless to do any more for me.

  114. I have had problems for decades and been treated for depression for decades, even hospitalised for it, and was diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum 5 years ago but I didn’t realise because I had too many things to read, court documents over my son, who also has Asperger Syndrome. I have had a terrible time, because I have massive what I called panic attacks but I think other people call them meltdowns, but one horrible woman from the secret family courts wrote on a report about me that I am dishevelled and that I had a temper tantrum, but that was because she was trying to bully me to force me to have NLP councelling at her office which is near where I was abused in “care” as a child, and she said the councelling (which I didnt even want, not off her because she was a scary woman) had to be at that exact place and couldn’t be anywhere else at all, so I started crying and ended up in a big state on the kitchen floor and she wouldn’t let my partner comfort me because she said I was having a temper tantrum and it was giving in to it to comfort me, so my partner had to tell her to go away. And then I had to see another man (forced to by the family court) but he was nice, not scary like her. I have been asking for an assessment to see if I have Asperger Syndrome for about 4 years, not realising I have already been diagnosed, and just been messed around, made to feel like a waste of space and generally treated with contempt, but what happens then is I start to believe I am useless and that makes me even more depressed so its a vicious circle.

  115. I found your blogsite while researching a character. What a surprise to work out that I, myself, am on the spectrum! I would never have been diagnosed as I am an eternal optimist so being the way I am has never overly troubled me. I celebrate my unique characteristics and point of view and probably won’t seek or need an “official diagnosis”. But I understand how people who aren’t comfortable in society and who get depressed would need to have this and find it helpful.
    It has been ponderous to me, and to my family, that I cannot keep the house tidy and clean to the standards most other achieve- domestically challenged is my description for this. I have fallen in love with a man nearly a generation away and cannot understand why this is a problem for him. I’ve had 3 complete and successful career changes but that kind of professional upheaval does not accumulate wealth. And one long, unhappy prison sentence of a marriage now, thankfully, over. It’s only just now that I am reaching some level of emotional maturity. I think this is happening because I have finally learnt how to surround myself with people I actually like and who like me as I am, who graciously help me deal with people problems when they arise.
    So I am finally not trying to hide how I really am; what a waste of time and energy that was! I realise now too, since reading your checklist, Tania, that my mother is also on the spectrum. Her obsession has always been cleaning so we’ve never had much in common.
    It is liberating, empowering and shocking to know how I fit into the general human psychological framework. I am glad to know. It makes sense and will definitely keep me safer from being taken advantage of in future. I thought I had a number of big shortcomings but it is really just that my perceptions and outlook are based on the view from a different window.
    Thank you Tania :-)

  116. This explains so much about me, and lends more weight to my feeling that I may be an Aspergirl (well, woman, I am 40 now!). About 90% fits, although I never got as far as going to uni due to having a baby when I was 18 (had severe pnd after she was born, too), while in an abusive relationship, following basically abuse in my mid teens. Vulnerable? Oh and how. And still I cannot recognise these things in others, and am surprised time and again by the truth of other people that I have somehow missed. Then on the other hand I am very empathic, which caused me to doubt that I could be an Aspie – after all, Aspies can’t empathise, can they? But hyperempathic fits well, I will weep with someone who is sad, and jump for joy with someone who is happy. Etc, etc. All of this is so me, to a T. Will this ever be an accepted set of diagnostic criteria? (Not in its present form, too many repetitions, but you did say it is a draft). If I could find a diagnosis then maybe I wouldn’t feel so different and separate, I would know there are others like me out there (and would be content with the knowledge; being an Aspie, I wouldn’t necessarily want to go out and meet all those people like me, after all ;) )

  117. this is really amazing work. makes me feel not so alone. i’d say more than 75% of the traits describe me. i look forward to hearing about your future work in this area. i think my husband really needs to read this!

  118. Hi Taniaann, I have not seen a list like this before and it provides an accurate description of me. Identifying these characteristics as Asperger’s Syndrome in women gives me hope. I am a 54 year-old women who has, throughout my life, benefited from some of the listed characteristics but struggled, painfully, with others. The idea that a part of my confusion about people and relationships could result from AS, and not from my own stupidity or lack of insight, is a relief. I would be happy to contribute to your research.

  119. All I could do, whilst reading, was to stare with my jaw hanging open. I’ve been searching for almost 40 years for a “why”. I had viewed a TV show about Asperger’s Syndrome several months ago and began to wonder; thus, I Googled.

    Have been mis-diagnosed a few times – Bipolar, PTSD, Severe PMS (LOL). I have not been officially dx’d for Asperger’s but, wow, does your list look like my biography.

    The empathy section had me in tears. I cannot tell you how many years I have tried to explain this to others and how painful (and at times joyful) it can be to literally, somehow, “feel” what others are feeling and thinking.
    And, by the way, be very careful when trying to explain that to a doctor as their first inclination is to slap you with a Bipolar disorder DX and label empathy as ‘grandiose thoughts’….
    For instance:

    Doctor Makeyouwell : “Mmmhmmm, yes and you say you can read minds?”

    Patient: “No Sir, that is not what I said.”
    (frustration sets in as you try in vain to explain yourself, expecting this poor soul to ‘get it’ and ‘feel’ what you are saying). “I said, I can ‘feel’ what others are thinking and/or feeling.”

    Doctor Makeyouwell: “Mmmmhhhmm, and do you ever believe that you can fly or that you can save the world?”

    Patient: “facepalm”

    Can you relate? ;)
    XO
    atomicgypsy

  120. Hi Tania,

    Thank you so very, very much for your work in this field. Your list is amazing, and whilst reading it I felt like something has clicked into place.

    I have a long history of depression and self-harm, and have seen numerous counsellors/psychiatrists etc. As my childhood was abusive my therapists tend to want to use that to explain my social phobia/ depression etc, bit it just doesn’t seem right to me. If I take any AQ test I always score really high.

    I am very sensitive to others emotions, to the point where I cannot distinguish between theirs and mine. I can read peoples emotions very well, but this does little to assist in social interactions. I cannot, for the life of me, do small talk. I like intense, deep, conversations and I’m told i’m very serious. I can laugh and joke, but my sense of humour is not slapstick as i find it patronising, and i am rubbish at banter. I’ll avoid the staff room at lunch time, and I hate work social events. If I feel uncomfortable talking to someone I don’t know very well I tend to nod and smile a lot, and I exhibit echolalia quite a lot.

    I have very intense and short lived obsessions that take over my life so that other things get neglected, like housework and my husband. My interests are really geeky I.e star trek, alternative music, fantasy, history etc. I binge read a novel, or watch episodes of a series back to back, and I get resentful and defensive if anyone tries to stop me.

    I have found having my children really difficult. I have two boys, and my eldest cried all the time as a baby. I found it incredibly distressing and anxiety inducing, and I have not really learned how to deal with the typical shouting and screaming of small children. I hate noise and cannot even have the radio very loud as it makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed.

    I spend so much time on introspection and soul searching, and have always felt world weary and fatigued, as if life is just exhausting and I don’t really get anything done. I hate change and it takes a lot out of me.

    Sorry, this is getting very long. There are more boxes for me to tick, but I just wanted to know if you think I could be an asperwoman? I was referred to a psychiatrist by my gp 4 years ago in order to assess if I was aspie or not. I had read an article about ‘little philosophers’ and it really rung a bell, so I asked for the assessment. She said that she thought I had social phobia, but since I interacted ‘fine’ and lacked any ritualised behaviour that she thought I didn’t fit the aspie profile. I’m convinced that I would fit a female profile though, and since there wasn’t one for her to refer to at the time I wasn’t diagnosed.

    Do you think it’s worth approaching for another assessment?

  121. Wonderful , very comprehensive info. I am 53 yrs old, and believe I have Aspergers, as well as my daughter. My son has Autism, my brother, mother, grandfather, I suspect all have Aspergers. There are so many puzzle pieces which totally make sense in my family. Everyone however, expresses these traits differently. Thank you for the information!

  122. Tania…. you have just described me to an absolute tee…. my fourth child at nearly 4 is just going through the diagnosis process of autism which has made me realise I have aspergers syndrome… I am a psychic and have a metaphysical Ph.D. Life has been such a struggle for me.. But I believe autism is humanities evolution as we are balancing up the male female sides of our brains and engaging our higher senses… Thanks for your awesome work Love and blessings Melanie

  123. I am 19 years old. I have always felt like I was different, I got diagnosed with acute ADD as a child. Recently I read a blog entry of a woman with asperger’s and It was like looking at myself in the mirror, I feel like this explains so many things that I feel and that have happened to me. I lead a more or less “normal” life, however I am very unhappy, I am not close to my family, and I would not feel comfortable talking about this with any of my friends. When I was younger I was bullied a lot, I have no self esteem and I feel like I can only be social when I’m drunk and it’s becoming a problem, I get extremely anxious by social situations, or some days even leaving my house is really difficult
    My doubt is what should I do now? I have access to a free psychologist, would that be a good idea? I am really scared of going to therapy and I don’t know how to go about talking to a psychologist about this, any tips? If anyone can help me I would really appreciate it

  124. As a recently diagnosed female (22) after being misdiagnosed my entire life it’s nice to read this and get some sort of understanding as to why I am like I am instead of constantly wondering what is wrong with me or thinking I’m going mad. So thank you.

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  126. Hello Tania,

    I must say that reading this list has lifted an incredibly heavy weight off my shoulders.

    I am 18 years old, I dropped out of high school at 15 and am currently trying to figure out what to do with my life.

    I was formally diagnosed with OCD, generalized anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities, giftedness and I suffer from bouts of depression and social anxiety. I am currently taking Concerta and Citalopram. I always knew there was something different about me. I am incredibly in tune with children and animals. I don’t have any friends, nor do I have an interest in making any. I love computers, non fiction, photography and film. I can feel peoples emotions and it overwhelms me. I have trouble being out because the smell of cigarette smoke is completely debilitating for me.

    I would love to receive a formal diagnosis as it would aid me in my understanding of myself and aid me in succeeding in whatever I choose to do.

    I reside in Canada. If you can recommend someone or even do it yourself that would be wonderful. (money is of no object)

    Thank you!

    Enya

  127. Hey Tania! I see you have written that duplication is forbidden but can I translate this for a forum because I want to help women in my country who don’t speak English? I think people will benefit from it, I am not going to use it for any profit -, it will just be a forum post, I will give you the link. Is this ok for you? There are no resources about autistic women available in my language and that’s why I kind of volunteer to spread awareness online. I find your list one of the best, I want more females to benefit from it. Thank you!

    • Hello and thank-you for your message and for asking for permission. My blog has been translated into several languages now. Yes, please go ahead and translate my writings for the forum. I do have a book series coming out soon. May I ask what your language is?

      • Thank-you I was just curious. My blog has been translated into a few different languages now. Can you please send me the link of where it is, as I have people wanting to know the links for other translations. Thank-you.

      • I will send you the link as soon as it is ready, I am now a bit busy with other things to do and executive functioning is a struggle for me. But I will try to finish it ASAP.

    • Hello, it is quite common all over the world for woman to be MIS-diagnosed, MIS-medicated, MIS-managed and MIS-understood. There are a select few of us (researchers, professionals) working hard to change this. I am aware of 5 other PhD students working in this area, in addition to myself. All the best.

      • I’m one of the people who was misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but the psych who did it (one in Qld actually Tania) was an abusive creep who later admitted he knew it was a misdiagnosis and did not care. But then again, that was the least of the abuse he put me and my exhusband through. I’ve seen countless psychs and not one picked up the aspergers. I do have Bipolar II which has been picked up by most (before the incorrect BPD diagnosis and anyone after who didn’t allow the incorrect BPD diagnosis to influence their thinking), but they all noticed I have social phobia and emotionally hypersensitive, affect that wasn’t quite “normal” (such as half smiling when I was crying my eyes out and suicidal) and so on. They could tell I was “different” but all that did was get me labelled as attention seeking and weird. even the pretty good psych I saw for 7 years missed it – even after my daughter was diagnosed with aspergers, not one of the many psychs I saw considered it. Nor did any of the other doctors I saw consider it until recently. They knew of my sensory issues but just dismissed it as being part of my fibromyalgia and arthritis, same with my problem with remembering/distinguishing faces etc. I’ve had all sorts of labels like OCD, possible ADHD etc when all symptoms simply meet the list above for aspergers.

        There is no doubt sadly I have bipolar II and I may actually have ADHD (my daughter has both, and my sister definitely has ADHD and I believe she has aspergers too), but the more I research female aspergers, there is no doubt I have it. I never would have considered it until my hubby started bugging me about it. I think for him though it’s more about wanting to feel better about himself – he has aspergers and it would make him feel better if I was diagnosed officially too. Looking into it, but it’s so ridiculously expensive when we can’t even afford the therapy my daughter desperately needs.

  128. I feel like I’ve been walking through the woods and have suddenly met myself on a path I didn’t know I was on. I’m standing there looking at this woman and feel a sense of relief, compassion, and urgency. Can this really be the answer to my life-long struggles? Can I finally accept myself and not feel like there is something inherently “wrong” with me? I don’t know where to go from here… Can you recommend any resources in Canada? Thank you so much for your work and for helping so many women meet themselves in the woods.

    • Hello LittleRedFox, thank-you for your message. Yes, you can feel a sense of relief, compassion, and urgency. Yes, it can can be the answer to your life-long struggles. Yes, you can finally accept yourself and not feel like there is something inherently “wrong” with you.
      In Canada, I know of Dr. Isabelle Henault in Montreal I will also e-mail you and you are welcome. Thank-you for your kind words.

  129. This was so interesting to read! I’m an SLP working in the schools so of course I’m prone to looking for symptoms everywhere. My daughter just started college this week and was hit by major anxiety the first time she tried to do her homework. She was already in a depressive mood just missing home and was overwhelmed. She sought counseling and dropped a class and is now moving forward step by step even though 3 days ago we thought we would have to bring her home. She commented to me the other day that she misses talking to adults and that she is around peers 24/7. I think back to my little girl who showed little facial expression in her early pictures, who panicked at her ballet performances and cried because “people are looking at me and smiling at me”, who screamed at the sound of the garage door or the vacuum, who always enjoyed conversations with her teachers and aunts and uncles, who said to me last week that the thing keeping her at her college was “not wanting to feel like a failure or disappoint everyone who believes in me”, who adores the little boy with autism she babysits and the little girl with autism who lives next door, and who wants to be a special education teacher…and I wonder. I would love to know more when there are assessments specifically geared toward women.

    • Hi Kerry, thank-you for your message. Your daughter sounds like she has some of the features consistent with Aspergers in a female. However, a formal assessment would be necessary for an accurate diagnosis. I will email you regarding assessments specifically geared toward women. All the best.

  130. Frightening stuff! For a few years I thought the hard part was being married to an Aspergers husband for over 30yrs and have been carrying way more than my share of our joint responsibilities. I manage my own business (which is very challenging and difficult for me and I frequently feel overwhelmed but having to be the breadwinner leaves me no other option), I run our home and keep contact with our two adult children and I frequently have to withdraw for days at a time to cope and recover. I very carefully read your overview of Aspergers Syndrome symptoms in women and realize with dismay that my disproportionate level of inward turmoil and suffering can probably be attributed to having Aspergers Syndrome myself while trying to comprehend and deal with a dysfunctional husband at the same time. It’s a crushing blow but at the same time I can better understand why life has been such a monumental struggle at times. It gets a little easier now that I’m older and have simplified my life (I socialize to a minimum and I’ve abandoned religion, don’t go on holidays and mostly spend free time with my pets in my garden and am careful not to commit my time to unimportant issues). I sincerely hope I can learn to function better myself and have more wisdom in coping with my sometimes very difficult partner. I sometimes feel like a single parent with a rebellious teenager that never grows up. Thank you all the same for the insight. It is much appreciated.

  131. OMG! This hit me like a ton of bricks!! I have about 95 percent of these traits!! I’m literally crying right now. Thank you, Tania! You don’t know how much of an impact you have on me right now.

  132. Fits me 99% perfectly (and lots of other aspie women I know) except none of us are willing to change our core identity to make people like us, and none of us asexual – rather we are hypersexual with the only issue being easily distracted by sensory issues.

  133. I am empowered by your list. I want/need living support so I do need a diagnosis. Can you write about the fact that officially there is no “Aspergers” anymore? What can I show my psychiatrist who has very outdated thinking about aspergers? He’s convinced I just have ADHD and depression.
    Help!

    • Kashi I can relate. All my life I have been sent to psychiatrists and psychologists for depression. At 45 years old I finally am beginning to understand who I am..

  134. After reading your article, I know for a fact that this is what I have been struggling with for the past thirty years of my life if not longer…. I felt like I was reading an article about myself. My son has symptoms of Asperger’s and now he is 15 years old. I have spent the last 15 years trying to help him with his issues so that he can be a successful individual in society and not end up being like me with so many problems that I can hardly deal with my life on a daily basis. Thank you for your research…..it is needed and can be so beneficial for the future of the children within our societies that struggle on a daily basis living with the overwhelming thoughts, feelings and uncertainties of everyday life. I am now 46 years old and I have struggled with eating disorders, depression, suicidal thoughts, extreme low self esteem, obsessive compulsive tendencies, literal interpretation of thoughts and expressions, etc….. This has been going on as long as I can remember. As I said before, your article was an accurate description of myself…… yet you have never spoken with me. God Bless You for your Work…… In my eyes, you are an Angel that is speaking out for me due to the fact that I do not wish to bother others with my problems,. Everyone has problems and I would rather help others than have others help me….Because it is the right thing to do. God Bless you and I hope someday I will have the pleasure of meeting you in person. Sincerely yours, Jacqueline Lonier

    • Dear Jacqueline, thank-you so much for your message and kind words. As researchers in the field of female Autism/Asperger Syndrome, we are now just starting to understand that there is a distinct female profile of Autism/Asperger Syndrome. We are just now starting to understand this profile, along with the similarities and the differences between males and females. You certainly do sound like you have the kinds of characteristics that I observe in my clinical work. Take care and all the best/

  135. Thank you for this post.
    This list covers so many aspects of my personality that I had just convinced myself were just my ‘oddities’ and after all these years have just recentely been diagnosed as having Aspergers Syndrome.

  136. Thanks Tania for this comprehensive list of female aspie traits. Like others here I have struggled my entire life, bulimia in my teens; feelings from a young age of never fitting in; easliy stressed; desperately needing time on my own frequently to name a few. I have seen various psycologists but never seem to have pinpointed my problem. This list is 90% me.
    I laughed at the reference to form filling – I am a terible form filler outer and seem to bomb out on the initial gender question lol.
    I strongly suspect my brother has aspergers and my mother strongly suspects my uncle had aspergers – in fact when I think about my vast family (50 first cousins on my mothers side alone) I can see aspie traits in quite a few of us!

  137. Hello Tanya, thank you very much for your description. I’m 56 years old and just self diagnosed that I’m having Asperger syndrome. I knew that one of my brothers has Asperger syndrome , but I didn’t know that women’s Asperger looks different. Now I got an explanation for many things in my life and it’s a relief. Your list is another confirmation. In Germany where I live this diagnosis didn’t exist when I was young. When I was 11 and my brother 9 my parents saw psychologists. They congratulated them for their high intelligent children, but this changed nothing. They didn’t understand us and for us this was a negative experience and no help at all. Maybe my education and training would have been easier having had this diagnosis. I’m a doctor. I don’t need a formal diagnosis now because nothing would change and I won’t see a psychotherapist now. It would have helped 45 years before. Thank you very much for your work

    • Hello Betty, thank-you for your message. There exist a couple of generations of adults in your situation, who may have been diagnosed as children, if we had known about the ‘Spectrum’ then. Understanding and knowledge Autism or Aspergers is crucial. A strengths-based approach is also important. You certainly have done well for yourself with your training as a Doctor. You are welcome and all the best.

  138. I’m 58 and suspect this is me … Thanks for putting such a comprehensive picture together! No wonder I get depressed! :P

  139. Hi, Today I finally got to see an “Autism Diagnostician” after an eternal wait who said I didn’t look autistic. I feel humiliated, devastated… After the journey that I have taken to get to the point of meeting him to be dismissed so trivially. Your list describes the misshapen road of my existence, and now I am lost, again

    • Hello Mary, I’m sorry to hear about your experience. Unfortunately, it is a common one that I hear about. I hope to provide some ways that may impact and change the way females are assessed, diagnosed, and most important of all, heard. Take care.

    • what does one have to “look” like??
      Interesting because even a clergy person told us that our daughter couldn’t be autistic because she “looks” normal.

      • “She doesnt look like it, she gives eye contact, she can carry on a conversation” are common descriptions heard for not giving a female a diagnosis of a Spectrum condition. The female profile of Autism is different to the male profile. In fact, it is most likely that females do give eye contact (and often too much), can carry on superficial conversations and can socialize for short periods of time.

  140. Thank you for this, I have struggled all my life with this and could never understand what was wrong with me until my grandson was diagnosed with AS ( I recognized it in him before he was 12 days old – a sort of Hi I know you, just like me and my son). He was diagnosed by Tony Attwood at 2 years and myself a few years later. But what you have writted seems to address me as a female, I can identify with almost all of it, the great at knowledge by dropping our of school and classes, very high IQ and then dropping down to 130 when another was take with language in it, very sensitive to peoples moods and what they are thinking, and this may sound strange but sounds and colours are almost like numbers and letters to me they seem to have a life of their own. Had terrible time with eye contact but now that I wear glasses have found that taking them off when talking to people helps. I hope they embrace this as the female AS, as having struggled everyday of my life this gives me a certain sense of vindication. SharonV

    • Hi Sharon, thank-you for your message. You are welcome. My work, blog, and book series are all based on addressing the female profile, females as “research orphans”, and devoted to a working definition of female Autism. The “sounds and colours are almost like numbers and letters” is known as Synesthesia. I am pleased you find a sense of vindication and/or relief and/or it now all makes sense. All the best Sharon.

  141. Tania,

    Thank you for creating this blog! I was researching for my son last night when one click led to another and somehow I landed in your website. I am fully astounded, and the things you have written here have rung so true again and again. I have sobbed many times over since last night, realizing who I really must be–a lost, misdiagnosed Aspien. I’m sorry my reply is long; it’s more for me than anyone else.

    The more I have researched my son’s Asperger’s / autism, the more I have pondered the idea that I am a highly compensated Aspie and that he got it from me. Over the last few years, I have read hours on hours of scientific literature regarding familial problems with amino acid metabolism and brain chemistry; I know scientists are slowly bridging the knowledge gap and proving that autism is less likely to be from environmental influences only and is more likely to be a manifestation of many things–including our genetics.

    I am a self-described “super chameleon” because my main goal in life is to have people love me and accept me for who and what I am. This desire to fit in has consumed me as a person and affected everything about me as a professional. I am hyperempathetic with a highly developed 6th sense as you describe; this makes me a very sensitive teacher because I can perceive a student’s discomfort with material within seconds of delivering it. Still, I am as potentially unemotional and detached from my loved ones as so many others on the autism spectrum. I have struggled for years with knowing who I really am and why I fight this world for an identity that rings true to me. I live with some modicum of suppressed depression.

    I am a veterinary radiologist and former educator of veterinary students. I practice medicine every day from a unique perspective that many of my peers do not possess–I use my gut feelings / intuition AS MUCH AS my extensive knowledge base. I have developed a keen sense of awareness for my patients that guides my diagnoses. I have no idea where this ability comes from, but I usually need to see my patients and may even place my hands on them to do my best work (being a radiologist is a hands-off but very artistic niche so my approach is quite unconventional).

    This blog gives me hope for a diagnosis for myself. I live in the United States and would love to get help. I am struggling to pass an oral exam for my career that I am more than qualified to pass, but my “verbal confidence” is lacking and is holding me back. I can explain the exam process much better to a therapist later, but most of my examiners were seated out of my line of sight. Thus, I could not gauge my progress by reading their faces as I normally would. Amazingly, after failing the first section, I figured out how to read the vibe in the room, and I did much better. I am terrified of the process, but after playing the game once, I know I can beat this with very structured advice / help. Can you help me possibly obtain a diagnosis, or can you recommend someone who can help me here in the US? I know how busy you must be.

    Again, thank you so much for making your life’s work available on this blog. You are changing lives everyday.

    • Erica, thank-you so much for your kind and positive words. I set up this blog directly from my professional qualifications, work, experience and professional development. I wanted to help females receive the correct diagnosis and contribute to the scant knowledge of the female profile of Aspergers and Autism. I am pleased that my blog is helpful to you.

      There is a sub-group of “super chameleons” whose desire to fit in is very strong. There is another group who couldn’t care less. It is a condition of extremes. Your hyperempathy is a gift, although many tell me they don’t like it. Your highly developed 6th sense
      makes you fantastic at what you do as a teacher. Many struggle with their identity and knowing who they are well into their forties or fifties. Using your “gut” feelings is quite useful adjunct to your practice. I know several females similar to you, in that they are born with this what I call an “asperpower” sixth sense, which gives you an advantage over your peers. Your comments about the oral exam and verbal challenges are common, as is reading the room. I will e-mail you. Take care.

  142. Thank you so much for this list. I’ve known that I was different – well forever – but I have recently begun to suspect that I may be an aspie because of my persistent difficulty with social situations. I’m a confident public speaker (these days) but at nearly 40 I still cannot approach strangers and talk to them and I struggle to do small talk even with people I know well. I’ve done Baron-Cohen’s tests – EQ=14, SQ=47, and AQ=42 The only thing that didn’t fit in the descriptions I was reading was the empathy part – I’m very good at reading other people’s emotions (28 on reading the mind with eyes test) and I hate watching the news and seeing suffering, especially animals! It is interesting what you say about ‘psychic’ abilities Yeah I’ve got those but I’ve learnt to keep that to myself – I’m certainly curious to hear more about that!

    I had a dysfunctional childhood which has had a significant impact on my self esteem, but I know that I was different and very very shy from when I was a toddler. When I was a child I really was in my own little fantasy world (which was far more interesting than the world that the other kids seemed to play in). I was bullied all the way through school because I didn’t (and still don’t) share the interests of other girls. I’ve never really felt that I particularly belong to either gender, I still tend to identify with male characters more than female. I was interested to see the comments here about sexuality – I find both people of both genders attractive but also consider myself to be essentially asexual.

    It has been a constant struggle to try and fit in, all the while I guess I’ve had some hope that maybe the world would change one day and make sense, or that I would change like a butterfly and ‘become normal’. I’ve been waiting for the day when I will be able to talk up to someone and strike up a conversation! I feel that I’ve lost much of my self identity trying to fit in (or had to hide it). I’m hoping that in understanding why I’m different perhaps I can get my identity back again. The confidence to be myself. Reality has tended to take me away from the things that I really enjoy doing but I’m recognising that I will be much happier doing the things I care about rather than wasting any more of my time trying to fit into the wrong shaped hole!

  143. Hi, I have a really important question which I’m hoping you will answer for me. I had to really fight to get an assessment by a UK Autism Team (they didn’t want to see me because they thought I was just depressed) and they wouldn’t finish the assessment. They said you’re too self-aware to be on the spectrum, you’ve just got autistic traits and the sensory problems you’ve got are caused by depression.
    I was not suffering from depression although I’ve had it many times in the past. And I’ve still got the sensory problems and social problems which make my life very difficult at times. I’ve tried to accept what they said and get on with my life. Recently I saw a psychiatrist to get access to some couselling and he said you’re obviously mildly autistic. He doesn’t agree with them. I don’t know what to do now. The Autism Team just went through a check list, a bunch of it didn’t seem women, or even mild autism, appropriate.
    I have never seen a list of traits that described me so accurately in all my life. It was almost a shock to read.
    The question is:
    Are adult women more aware of their autistic nature than men? Even if they don’t know what it is? As I said they said I was too aware of it to be on the spectrum. Most of that awareness happened recently. I’m 38 and only started to question myself at about 35. I was aware of problems now and then but didn’t link them together or see any pattern.
    I would really appreiciate your opinion on this matter. Best wishes and thank you for the list.

  144. Almost brilliant in clarity. Thanks. I am 60 male married to child psychologist, and i finally agree that i share many AS traits. Actually almost all of them. I didn’t see bicycle riding. I have ridden through most of Northern Hemisphere, minus Asia. Why i think that may be related is from the nature of peddling; very soothing repetition. You can be out in nature, and usually not talking to a crowd of people. Also saw the psi ability referenced, and thought it should be connected, because i am good at it, but thinking whoops, just a sample of one.

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  146. I was diagnosed at 3 years ago at 41, but a couple of friends were struggling to see where I fit with the usual male symptoms lists, or in the literature describing children. With this list, one friend said it was as you had been studying me! So much of it fits me perfectly.

    If this type of information had been around 35-40 years ago, the assessments that were done on my would have been so much different. Autism was ruled out in favour of elective mutism, followed by adult diagnoses for Avoidant Personality disorder, depression, panic/anxiety disorder & agoraphobia.

    • Hello Carolyn and thank-you for your message. Many females write to me saying “it was as you had been studying me, so much of it fits me perfectly”. My list, writings and book series are all a natural profession of specializing in this particular area. This sort of thing really cannot be taught. In fact, the hundreds of individuals, of all ages, both genders, sub-types and variety of levels of functioning, has taught me, so I feel that I must give them a voice through my work. I am constantly learning via hearing my client’s and their families stories. You are correct when you talk of the diagnoses people may have received in the past. Unfortunately, today individuals may receive the diagnoses you mentioned in addition to diagnoses of social communication disorder, borderline personality disorder, selective mutism (as you mentioned), bi-polar disorder. I have also seen the opposite in some adults who believe they have a Spectrum condition, and they do, but they also have a co-existing personality disorder, which is a result of undiagnosed Autism and was a way of coping wit it. This combonation is very complex, but seen by specialists such as myself. All the best.

      • It’s a shame it can’t be taught, lots of professionals need to know about the female presentation of aspergers (or is it just mild autism now?). It’s annoying how much I was put down by my doctors and psychiatrists when I brought this up with them. And that’s probably how it is with a lot of women. It’s just not good enough.

        I’m still a bit startled as to how accurately that list described me. I’ve found a small company down in England that can assess autism in females so I’ve hope of being listened to now. And your amazing list is an excellent help in starting to explain some of the harder things. I’m not good at describing my feelings.

        I also was reading that autistic girls like to tidy and arrange their toys and doll houses. It’s something I did a lot rather than the traditional play of acting out social situations with them. That might be more of a female version of lining things up or building towers.

        Thanks once again for your work and speaking out for autistic women. :)

      • In my family, both bipolar and aspergers (and ADHD too) runs through it. One diagnosis doesn’t rule out another, but having been wrongly diagnosed with BPD (when a monkey could see it was bipolar not BPD) has shown me how easily so called professionals can mix up diagnoses.

  147. Hi Tania
    This may sound like a strange question but what are your thoughts on raising aspies, example in our family I was raised by an aspie and treated like a bad child in fact she would go out of her way to ensure that I behaved in a certain way and then punish me for it. My half siblings ( no they were not cut in half) were treated with absolute love and respect, this left me with a few problems. My grandson as an aspie is totally accepted by us in the family as we are all the same, we only make allowances to a degree as he is still expected to have a certain degree of behaviour. We have noticed at the aspie centre there are parents there that treat their children with kid gloves and their bad behaviour is only looked on as “well he is aspie you know” it seems to stop them from growing and developing into more rounded humans???
    Ivoryt

    • Hi Sharon,
      Thank-you for your message. This is also a common concern that myself and colleagues have. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Temple Grandin and we talked about a few things, one of which was this issue. As professionals, we are concerned about the number of teenagers and adults with Aspergers that are on social services and not working, addicted to video games, and/or excusing their bad behaviors by using ‘Aspergers’ as an excuse. I have observed what you are talking about and I believe that it is imperative that Aspies need life skills, social skills, need to start making computer games and apps instead of playing them for hours and hours, and learn how to manage their emotions in appropriate and healthy ways. Hope this helps. Temple talks often about how her mother “stretched” her and heavily emphasized manners. All the best.

      • Totally agree. It’s about finding middle ground – explaining to people what is genuine aspie behaviour and unavoidable, versus kids just being monsters because they can. It’s a fine line.

      • Hi Tania,
        Here I go! “This is also a common concern that I and colleagues have.” Please don’t hate me and banish me from the discussion – I can’t help myself. (Please note the appropriate use of a reflexive pronoun.) On the positive side, this is one of the few web forums (or should that be fora?) which does not have me constantly correcting the English. Most internet discussion is just too distressing to read.
        I used to blame it on my mother’s influence but now I think she and I have Aspergers in common. Best wishes, Susan.

  148. Yes, I think this is me, too. I just turned 35 and I look more like 20-22. Ever since I was in my late teens, people have commented that I look younger than I am, the chasm between my chronological age and the age I appear to be keeps getting wider. At 19, I looked 14. At 26, I looked 17. At 30, I looked 19. And so on. My voice is very high-pitched and girlish. I am tallish, but fine-boned/slight. I have always felt younger/more emotionally immature than my peers. Everyone I went to high school with is married and having children and I have no interest in doing those things. I have been bullied and taken advantage of. Almost everything on this list applies to me. Is there anything about difficulty learning to tie shoes, tell time, use a knife, etc? I struggled with all of those things when I was a child, and it’s still hard for me to do things like ride a bike. On the other hand, I have always been a good dancer. ;) I don’t know about Irlen syndrome. My eyesight is very poor, but I don’t know if I have that. I could go on. Almost everything on this list is me. I have been “faking” it for a long time. I haven’t been diagnosed, but have taken some tests that indicate I have some Aspie and some neurotypical traits, so I don’t know if I’d qualify for a diagnosis of Asperger’s under the current diagnostic criteria. Thanks for posting!

  149. Wow, I have been diagnosed with bpd ADD , depression an not until reading this that I feel some sense of it all… I tick almost every box an it has helped, more than I can explain

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  151. I feel like I’ve been under water and just came up for air. This is me. At age 60. Tired of struggling; tired of being misunderstood; tired of being labeled in so, so many inappropriate ways. I’ve been suspicious for awhile that I might fall into the Asperger’s spectrum, but this is the clearest explanation I’ve been able to find, especially pertaining to adult women. Autism runs in my family – 2 nephews with profound autism and a brother and nephew with Asperger’s. Now what do I do? How does one go about getting a competent diagnosis? It would be such a profound relief to be able to learn how to cope with this.

    • Jacqueline,

      I am in the same boat. Discovered that I have Aspergers last year at 60. It is a good news, bad news thing. Still working through it all, suppose I will be for some time. You’re not alone.

      Amy

      • Thank you Amy – thanks for letting me know I’m just not just lost out here in the weeds. This has been such a struggle. To be so ridiculously intelligent (and always admired for that) and incredibly creative, but always , always feeling like a failure; never measuring up to my own expectations. Socially awkward; the life of the party one moment, only to bore the hell out of everyone the next while I pontificate about quantum physics. Needing to be left alone, while feeling lonely at the same time. Etc, etc, etc. But this is a start in the right direction, I think. How to deal with it? I have no idea right now. It’s going to be a process. I’m so glad I’ve found this community.

      • Jacqueline,

        You took the words right out of my head. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say, ” that’s exactly how I feel”, before, without hyperbole. But what you describe is exactly how I feel.

        For me, 3 things have helped to keep the anxiety at bay; 1) my dogs, 2) an anti-depressant and 3) acceptance of my situation as a good thing, especially after 50+ years of trying so hard to fit in and failing, over and over. I can’t hope for others to be comfortable around me, until I am comfortable with myself.

        I hope that is helpful.

        Amy

    • Hi Jacqueline, As Amy pointed out, you are definitely not alone. Many adult women are self-diagnosing/looking at a formal diagnosis. I would recommend you search out professionals who have training and experience in this area. All the best.

      • Can you point me in the right direction? I have no idea how to proceed from here. Do you offer therapy over the phone? I shared this with my husband and we just looked at each other and cried – it just explains so much for both of us. Any advice would be so dearly appreciated.

  152. I am a grandmother with a grandson who was diagnosed as a child with Asperger’s. There are also severaI ADD/ADHD people and an autistic child in my extended family. I have always done better in non-traditional jobs, and am retired military. I happened across your site, and have been reading both main body and the comments and going “OMG! That’s me!” to a lot of it. It’s a relief just knowing that I’m not the only one, and there is a reason for a lot of things I do and the way I do them. I’m bookmarking this site, and I’m going to tell some of my family members about it.

    • Hello Mary,

      I am pleased that you have found my blog helpful. Many individuals experience a great sense of relief when they self-diagnose and/or get formally diagnosed. A couple of my blogs are going to be turned into books and a book series is on its way. Take care.

  153. Wow, I’m in my early 40s and recently self-diagnosed as having Asperger’s, and my mother after researching the topic thoroughly confirmed it for me from her observations of me as a very young child through adulthood (I’m adopted). This list is very thorough, and I check most of the boxes. It’s really astonishing. Thank you for researching and compiling. It’s helpful to have an understanding that one’s abnormal behaviors are in fact part of a structural framework. I was fortunate to have parents who turned out be exactly right for raising a kid with undiagnosed Aspergers. They helped me prepare for an independent life in the outside world. I’ve had reasonable career success. I’ve struggled all my life with social situations and relationships but have had reasonable success there also – many good friends and a happy late in life relationship/marriage going on its tenth year. While I’m not sad I was never diagnosed as a kid with this, it’s helpful to see for correcting the asocial and antisocial tendencies that are harmful. And I hope it helps other young girls and women. Thank you for posting. I’m sending this to my parents, my husband and other friends.

  154. Thank you so much for this information. All my life I was told I am off-the-wall, weird, or else people would look at me weird and shake their heads or actually laugh whenever I spoke. I never fit in, was often bullied or ignored, and got almost straight A’s even though I barely studied. Social situations still leave me exhausted and I don’t experience “fun” like others do. I’ve been dogged by anxiety and depression since I started school. I have a degree in art and still practice it although I am not “successful.” I’ve never been “successful” at anything, except I can paint a good picture! All the academic potential amounted to nothing and as I struggle on a very limited income, I wonder “What happened?” I never could get it together. I’m 67. Incidentally, I sound like I’m in my 20’s. What can I say except a big thank you for making me feel normal – or at least like it’s not my fault.

  155. Hi, I’m currently in a relationship with my partner for almost 2 years now. Some of the things I have seen and experienced. Would love more information as far as living with someone with this syndrome. I’m hoping it will help are relationship and change are way of thinking. Are there books out there for us..
    Thank you

  156. Wow–this is so enlightening! I’m 48 years old and have been trying to figure out who I am my whole life. It was back in college, when I was in my early 20s, that I came to the conclusion that I was “not a real person.” I had no idea what I was, mind you (didn’t read enough science fiction to come up with the “alien” idea, I guess), but I knew that I wasn’t like everyone else–my life, somehow, wasn’t real.

    I’ve had a variety of jobs over the years: church organist (started when I was in high school), radio DJ, news director/announcer at a radio station, feature writer for newspapers, private piano/organ teacher, musician (keyboardist and vocalist) in a party band (with my husband), college-level English teacher (freshman composition), music director at a church. When I was in college, I couldn’t decide on a major–it was a toss-up between music, art, and literature–but I ended up in communications/English, since, as everyone told me, music and art just were not PRACTICAL. So I end up with a musical career anyway (at the moment, that is). Oh, well.

    It was teaching full time at the local community college that finally did me in and led me to the idea that I might be “on the spectrum.” I had to quit my teaching job (about two years ago) because I was incredibly stressed out and both mentally and physically exhausted. Apparently, it is taking me a long time to “heal” from that experience (I taught part-time for quite a while, but was full-time for four years), since I cannot seem to get back on track.

    It was just a few months ago when things in my life sort of came to a head, and something led me to look into Aspergers. When I found this list of female traits, it was (for the most part) like reading a description of ME. It explains so much! And it gives me somewhat of a sense of relief to know that I’m not just a “crazy person” who can’t handle everyday life the way other people do (everyone seems so organized and “with it” compared to me!).

    My question is, what do I do now? I have not shared this with anyone but my husband (and it took me a long time to even share it with him), since I’m afraid no one will believe me. I suppose a professional diagnosis would be a good idea, but how do I find someone who is aware of these female traits? And, honestly, I think I’m a little bit afraid of being determined NOT to be Aspergers. It gave me such a sense of relief to think that I’ve finally figured out why I’ve been so different from other people all my life that I don’t want someone to tell me that it’s not true! But on the other hand, a professional diagnosis, I think, would give me the validation I need. What to do, what to do . . .

    • I’m feeling a lot of the things you are right now. I also suspected for awhile that my unexplainable and apparently untreatable traits (therapy, drugs, etc all had no positive outcomes) might be Asperger’s. When I found this site, it was overwhelming, frightening, and cleansing. It completely explained me to myself. It has changed the way I relate to what’s going on inside me. Not that it has changed the feelings and challenges, but it’s given me something to understand. I am not crazy. I am not hopeless. I have challenges. And I can learn how to cope with them. But it’s not easy.

      I am fortunate in that my long suffering husband (who isn’t exactly perfect himself ;) has gotten completely onboard this with me, and right now we are trying to deal with with how this affects me, most importantly (because there is a LOT of pain that goes along with being a female Aspien after 60 years) and how it has affected our relationship of 36 years. When I get into sensory overload, which sometimes doesn’t take much, I can be a nightmare. Otherwise, I am a sensitive, loving, giving (sometimes overly giving) person. But knowing what we know now has changed so much. I can “see” myself now. I can tell him when I’m feeling overwhelmed and he can make allowances for it and help me calm down or just give me the space to do that, since it’s really something I need to learn to do myself. And now I have the confidence that I CAN do that, given the time and space I need.

      I am learning every day how to “be me.”

      If it were just me and my husband who were affected by this, that would be one thing. But I’m afraid it’s not. On the easy side, I am a celiac – and my son and grandson are gluten sensitive, if not celiac as well.

      On the tougher side, my beautiful, extremely intelligent 3-year-old grandson is exhibiting signs of sensory overload at times, going from loving, calm, expressive to wacking and banging other kids in a moment. My brother and his son both have been diagnosed with Aspbergers, but nobody in the family is willing to believe it. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that my Dad was an an Aspien. I have 2 other nephews (both 25) who are on the PDD side of the spectrum and are severely disabled to the point of being unable to communicate effectively.

      So one one level, I’m relieved for myself to find that maybe I can finally understand myself and actually work toward coping strategies that will help me have a happier, more fulfilling life, and at the same time I am terrified.

      Part of me wants to pursue a professional diagnosis, although I already know what it will be. But at least I will have an official piece of paper to attest to that truth.

      And then what?

      Do I share this with my son and daughter-in-law? Do I plant seeds of doubt in them about their son? What if he’s just being a normal 3-year-old rambunctious boy? Do I want him to be labeled? But if he takes after me, do I want to deny him the help he needs?

      And how will they feel about me? How do you explain this to people? There is a very real stigma attached to this. Will I ever be taken seriously again by anyone? Will my son blame me for this? He has had his own struggles and has been diagnosed with ADHD and takes medication for it. But what if it’s not ADHD? What if he’s like me? I can see so many of my traits in him. Right now I honestly don’t know what to do. So you’re not alone in your confusion. This is Pandora’s box. Personally, I’m going to take some more time to think about it. Maybe try to find some resources. I am a health care professional with a somewhat high profile and have to be very careful about exposure. But this forum feels like a sanctuary for me. I probably asked more questions than I answered, but thanks for listening.

      • Those are a lot of good questions, though! It really IS a Pandora’s box, isn’t it? On one hand, it is a relief to think we’ve finally found an answer to why we are the way we are, but on the other hand, what do we do with that knowledge? If we tell people, how will it change their views of us? And what if they don’t believe it? Would it help to have that piece of paper that says it’s real? Or won’t they believe even that? What if they think we’re just attention-seekers, or that we’re coming up with excuses for things we’ve done? I, too, will be doing some more research and thinking about it for a while, I think.

        I am happy that your husband is being so good about it! My husband, too, has been “long-suffering,” having put up with me for over 23 years now! I’m not sure he’s quite on board with me, yet, though. This is still a pretty new thing in my life, and I’m not very good at presenting my case and explaining things like this, which is another reason I feel like I need to do more research. My husband is very practical, very skeptical, and often quite argumentative, so I really need to get my facts straight before I can discuss things like this with him. He certainly knows that I’m different, though! (He says I live in “Chrissy-Land,” a sort of alternative universe where time–and reality in general–are quite different than what one might find in the “real” world–i.e., HIS world.) Hopefully, we’ll be able to get to the point where you and your husband are someday soon. You are lucky!

    • Chris…when I saw your post I was in shock because I could have written this myself. I am stuck in the same boat. I am close 45 almost 46 and just like you I have finally made sense of myself but have not shared it with anyone even my husband of almost 9 yrs now and am also afraid of being wrong. Which is something I have dealt with all my life.

      • It was a scary thing, trying to decide whether or not to tell my husband. He is a very skeptical person, and can get quite argumentative. However, I mustered up the courage and finally did it, because I thought it would help him understand why I was–in his eyes–so strange, and why we were often at odds with each other about things. I have not gone into it with him much more than just that initial announcement, though. I need to do more research and really understand what I’m talking about before I do that (see my response to the comment above). I hope to be able to talk about this with him a lot more in the future. I hope you, too, can muster up that courage at some point–though it was scary, it also felt good to finally tell someone! Good luck!

      • I finally got the courage to start talking about it to my husband. While I have not said directly to him that I think I have Aspergers , I have started the dialogue.

      • I’m in a relationship. With asperger,and so some days its hard to handle. Any suggestions on how to not take it. To heart.

      • Just do it. It may not be pleasant but will clear the air. Your husband may have long-buried resentments about things you have done or said that made him think you didn’t care about his feelings.

  157. One thing I want to add about being an aspie is people constantly projecting. For instance i was in a yoga class and the teacher was noticing i was having difficulties and she was like, “This isn’t a competition.” as she was looking at me and i was like…What? I’m just trying to figure out how it feels and if it feels right, ie:perfectionism. Funny thing is i know when people are projecting and its hard to tell them otherwise. I guess you’d have to be an aspie to understand. Anyway, this article is pretty much my life to the tee. The greatest feeling is to know there is nothing wrong you can/should do because you can’t cure aspergers.

    • Reminds me of a yoga class I went to where the teacher asked people for a word which had come to mind during the final meditation. People came up with things like bliss, peace, rainbow etc. My turn came and I said, being quite honest; “tea” – Puzzled, the teacher asked me to explain. I said I was looking forward to getting home and having a cup of tea. There was a distinct shock, horror reaction. I subsequently did yoga for a few years with the Hare Krishnas where I never felt judged for admitting the only thing that kept me going through the hour and a half yoga class was looking forward to the lovely sit down meal afterwards.

  158. I looked up Aspergers syndrome because I was asked to consider signing a petition to help a teenager with Aspergers who was being prevented from taking part in a school trip. I have copied the http address.
    https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/brighton-secondary-college-stop-discriminating-against-students-with-aspergers-allow-isabelle-to-attend-the-world-challenge-in-africa?alert_id=gkHoJAZcoZ_iBUKnltQbR&utm_campaign=39139&utm_medium=email&utm_source=action_alert

    I wanted to check out what Aspergers is before signing the petition. I did the Aspergers quizz and scored 36 so this is clearly something which I may have myself to some degree though I have never been diagnosed. I am 66. It explains why making friends and sustaining relationships has always been a challenge, why I am mainly alone – trying to cope alone, why I was bullied as a child, why I felt I was the black sheep in the family, why I felt unappreciated at work, why I find the business of navigating life’s hurdles somewhat overwhelming, why I shy away from committees and meetings, why I have been taken advantage of, why I have been to numerous counselling sessions and feel a failure because no improvement seems evident. I have coined the expression “event cluster” to decribe periods when I perceive there are too many things to deal with and I succumb to anxiety, procrastination and inertia. I have difficulty asking for help or even insisting on a satisfactory outcome when I do pay for some necessary service. Hence: my new gutters leak, my expensive hearing aids don’t fit comfortably etc. because I am afraid to persist with my complaints. I am afraid of appearing pathetic, or conversely, arrogant or, in the face of extreme frustration – “flying off the handle” – basically afraid of being disliked

    I hope this young woman can go on her trip and that her peers and teachers can give her the unconditional support she needs to feel safe and accepted and enjoy the experience. I know what it is like to be held at arm’s length when you have done nothing actually wrong except give off the wrong social signals. At least I was not prevented from doing things in my youth: I just felt uncomfortable and was probably thought shy and ungregarious but I always hoped that I would grow out of it. It may be useful to have an insight into the reasons behind one’s social difficulties but labels can also serve to increase alienation when the world sees you as having a disorder rather than a variant of personality.

  159. Finding this blog has been a revelation and a relief as I have always suspected I had something more than extreme introversion and generalised anxiety and depression.
    I am nodding my head at many things people have said here, they resonate with my own life.
    Life has been a struggle but getting easier with acceptance that this is the way things are and take the positives from it. I love reading and learning. I have a huge apetite for information.
    I have found having children very difficult for me. I have two very energetic and noisy boys but I am relieved that neither show aspie traits as I know what a struggle it can be.Having children has also forced me to meet new people and sharpen my social skills such that they are. I am now almost semi confident with small talk and I am not obsessing that I am coming across too weird. Not easy and certainly not intuitive – completely self taught from observing how confident individuals conduct themselves. However, I certainy don’t put myself out there for fear of ridicule. I suppose I come across as extremely introverted and I am quite happy for people to believe this.
    Lonliness and isolation have plagued my life . There have been a few times in my life (high school and university) where I have made some friends and luckily for me some are still in my life but I am sure they marvel at how odd I am but seem to accept it. I have to remind myself to contact them though and organise catch ups otherwise I would be quite happy plod along in my own little world.
    Luckily I have a supportive partner who does not need a reason for the way I am, I’m not even sure if I will share this with him.
    One of the “upsides” of this is my incredible intuition which almost borders on psychic. This is something I never mention to anyone for obvious reasons. Tania, are you able to shed any light on this from your work? How is this explained?
    Also, I may in the future wish to have an official diagnosis, do you know of anyone in the Victoria area who specialises in female aspergers?
    Thanks for you work. Rachel

    • Rachel, which Victoria area? Victoria, Australia, Canada or? I am in Victoria, BC Canada. Your description of yourself so mirrored my own questions. I am waiting for my appointment with a Psychiatrist in a couple of weeks to explore getting an official Aspie diagnosis (although apparently, as of 5 weeks ago Asbergers has been delisted in the DSM.

      Anyway, my main other reason for making contact is with regard to the intuition bit. I think in part I find that I have to really understand things, so I do spend an incredible amount of energy deconstructing something and then reconstructing it so that it makes sense to me. At 45 I now recognize that that has given me incredible clarity into situations because I can “test” certain situations and behaviours and feel how they resonate: does what I am experiencing feel true?; what else should I be factoring in? when something does not ring true, I find it next to impossible to go along with it, even if that’s what the “authorities” are advocating etc. Although since I was little I remember others confiding in me and trusting me, – and even then I could empathize and help them make sense of the world – which speaks to the strong presence of intuition.

      As an adult, I have recently started to wonder about the concept of “prophet”. I never seek to draw attention to myself. I am not interested in creating a platform for myself – so if anyone had ever suggested the possibility of filling the role of prophet, I probably would have balked. But now that my own trepidation has settled I have been wondering about my role in society. My own self-confidence has been growing. I had a rotten time in school and because I could never figure out why I was so different from others (although I have always done a pretty good job at disguising that, to the point that most people that know me wonder what I mean if I ever bring it up), it is only now that I have started to believe in myself as having something valuable and significant to offer. I can see the big picture and things that others around me can’t see. What is crystal clear to me, is murky at best to others – it is like that consistently. I am not a great communicator, but working with the right people, I help them to understand where we need to be going, how to get to the next step. I know how much I am valued because I feel deeply trusted. I take that trust seriously. Its an exciting place to be in.

      This could become an essay, so I will stop there. Thank you for your sharing.
      Clare

      • Hi Clare
        I am in Victoria Australia.
        Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences on intuition.
        I guess I have always thought my intuition was a result of heavily analysing situations which perhaps other “normal” people don’t waste time doing.
        But the psychic aspect really freaks me out – having very specific psychic dreams which have later played out. Or having a “feeling” that something was about to happen and then it did. Like having a dream about a friend’s husband dying then next time I saw her she told me he was very ill. Just one example.
        I don’t know – maybe most other people have similar random experiences and don’t talk about them.

    • Hi Racheal
      I have recently been diagnosed as an aspie, or officially as per new DSM autistic level 1.
      I am of similar age and experience to you, and want to share my experience of diagnosis with you and whoever else might be interested.
      Finding the right practitioner is essential, this fact is mentioned here and on other sites, but I always wondered why and because I live in regional Victoria, (Australia)and its problematic for me to travel the extra distance (to Melbourne) i did my research and spoke to Autism Victoria and also Tony Attwoods clinic in Queensland in order to find a suitable psychologist who was local to me.
      This was a mistake.
      The first woman I saw was very nice but not suitable or helpful in diagnosing an adult woman although she would probably be good with young boys.
      After the first mishap I was careful to ensure the next psych had the necessary experience with female diagnosis. If she had, and I doubt it, it would have been in diagnosing young girls with severe traits. What I was most upset about was her guided and suggestive questioning toward a ‘poor upbringing’ causation and if that wasnt bad enough she refused to take account of my sensory problems by saying they were normal.
      So in the end I had to travel the extra distance, despite the sensory problems, but it was so very worth it. If you are in Australia I can recommend Danuta belhuk Paterson, who was brilliant all round. Interestingly she was able to find repetitive behaviours, which I wasn’t even aware of! She also explained how I was able to do so well in the facial expressions test, which was interesting because I wondered how this could be, but the test is really about how long it took! And yes it took me ages
      So I found Danuta’s experience really valuable, especially after the other 2 ‘professionals’ and can confirm that finding the right practitioner is absolutely essential
      Good Luck :)

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  161. Two things; Let me add ‘hypersexuality” to your list of potential aspie traits. as a teen and young adult I was rarely comfortable with emotional intimacy, but physical sexual contact fascinates me (still does) and I got huge amounts of satisfaction from it, especially from watching my partners’ s responses to sexual stimili.
    And I take exception to your assumption that Aspie trans men identify themselves that way because they are uncomfortable with female social roles. I know aspie women who utterly identify as female. I never ever did– it wasn’t the roles, either. As a trans man, I am considered femmy.

    • let me add too, that I am old enough that I never heard of asperger’s as a child– I thought that my difficulties were a moral failing, and that my physical clumsiness was me being lazy. Knowing that there is no *fault* has made a difference that I cannot express. being able to say “I need time alone to regroup” and not feel like an antisocial slob? Priceless gift.

      • Stella, thank-you for your valuable comments. I am often asked what the advantages of diagnosis, in particular, late diagnosis are. Knowing that it is not one’s fault, is number one for me. It is absolutely priceless, as you state.

    • Stella, thank-you for your comments. You make a valuable point and I have updated the list. I purposefully use the word “may” or “may not” due to the Spectrum being so wide and the amount of variability of characteristics or personality traits. In terms of transgender, I have met individuals who, like you, have never identified as female and I have met individuals have much gender/sexuality confusion throughout their lives. I am also aware of individuals who had undergone gender reassignment and then proceeded to have a gender reversal, back to female. This is such an interesting area and I wish there was more research and information available.

    • I hope so, too, but I fear it may be a long time coming. When I first realized I was Aspien, I felt relieved and hopeful. Finally, my life made sense. In the ensuing month, however, I have felt more and more isolated as I came to realize that this is something I can never share outside of a very restricted circle of trusted confidantes (my husband, my closest friend, and my sister.) There are enormous stigmata associated with a diagnosis of AS, at least in the US. Last year there was horrific attack on children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and the thing everyone remembers is that the assailant supposedly had AS. Before that, people with AS were seen as odd but somehow acceptable. Since then, they are seen as possibly dangerous. It’s a lot to assimilate on top of trying to wrap my head around my own reality and trying to develop coping skills. Your wife is fortunate to have your support and understanding.

      • Hi Jacqueline, I am not diagnosed with AS and have no intention of pursuing a diagnosis as at my stage in life it would not be helpful, but I do feel for you and others who have a similar experience to me of not fitting in. When to all intents and purposes one appears to be of above average intelligence, generally kind and considerate of others and fulfills one’s societal obligations to the best of one’s abilities, it is bewildering to encounter rejection on rejection from so many sources including subtle forms of rejection in one’s everyday encounters. It is as though I am unwittingly wearing a “kick me” label. My earliest memory of this realisation of being apart was when at age 5, on my first day at school, I was happily running around in the playground one minute and the next found myself all alone. In tears of distress and totally unaware of what had happened, I was retrieved by a kind “dinner lady” who explained about “playtime” and going back to the classroom when the bell was rung. I had not even noticed the other children go back into the building – in my perception they had simply vanished. From that point on interacting with my peers was an on-going, self-taught and painful learning process which even at my advanced age I have never fully mastered despite numerous periods of counselling – why does counselling always have to be in an office. I need someone to accompany me “in the field” to see where and how I struggle. On a good day I manage to act normally with a fair degree of aplomb but if something upsets me, the facade is inclined to crumble and the “ugly truth” of my flawed being is revealed for all to see. I am grateful to the few friends who do show me acceptance though I am always afraid to test the extent of its unconditionality so I avoid them on bad days. it would be life changing to have the daily support of an understanding partner but I recognise that this is an unlikely eventuality.

      • Thank you. Thank you for writing back to me. I have so many things I want to say and share about those painful early childhood experiences when I was exhilarated by being in the world only to find I was not in the same world as others and feeling shamed. And my world was so beautiful, so exciting and I wanted so much to share it, only to find that nobody else wanted to share it with me. You know I could go on for hours (and I will as time goes on) but for now let’s just realize this one simple thing. We. Have. Each. Other. This is a beginning. I am so grateful for finding this community and I cannot thank Tania enough for creating this forum and for her commitment to women with AS. I am a poet and a writer and I’ve been flailing around trying to understand the voice that is trying to express itself. Now I am beginning to understand. As much as I feel somewhat disoriented with this new perspective (but when have I never felt disoriented?) I am also becoming a bit excited, through my conversations with people like you, that I can come to appreciate this gift. That we all can. Maybe I don’t need to fit in with “all of that.” Maybe I can rejoice in my intellect, my art, and those who can actually “get me.” I don’t pretend that it will ever be easy, but perhaps I can learn to love myself again – just the way I am.

      • Jacqueline, I loved your Nov 20 post about putting on a work persona. I did it also as a Lab Technician and phlebotomist in an Urgent Care facility (lab unfortunately now closed) It was my little world, one that I understood and loved and therefore felt very confident in. The nurses and clerks often stated that they preferred having me on their shift as opposed to the other lab people available because I was fast, thorough, funny and polite, and though they joked with me about being “crazy”, I think any of them would be shocked to find I had ASD. And you’re right; telling people this causes the same inner recoil in them as confessing homosexuality or a socially awkward condition like colitis or hemorrhoids. I’ve only told my immediate family and the boss at another job, since my tendencies have caused some difficulty with certain office duties. I felt she was entitled to know.

    • I commend you Matthew. Your wife is lucky. My husband does not understand me all that well and I am afraid to tell him. Your wife is truly blessed.

    • Susan, I have been diagnosed at the grand age of 55 and it has done me the world of good. I have always had a sense of who I was ( even with the abuse ) and was well aware that this Round person “me”did not fit into their square holes. I have had a strange sense of my own self worth ( again even when suicidal in my mid teens – did not want to die, just didn’t want to live). I have always looked on us as being the next step in our evolution and in no way flawed, how would the norm live in our world, because with the growing number of us that is what THEY will have to do. Will they be called strange and odd, made to feel less than they are, please think of it as there is nothing wrong with us – just the world we live in. We are the colours of this black and white world and will make it a wonderful place.
      ivoryt

      • Hi Ivoryt and Jacqueline, I appreciate you taking the trouble to reply to me . I think I will follow my own intuition with regard to not seeking a diagnosis. I have had enough trouble over the last 30 years with the label of “personality disorder” (depression and anxiety.) There probably is no-one here where I live that specialises in AS. My last psychologist was focussing on Schema Therapy. I don’t really feel that it helped much to try to trace my personality shortcomings to events from my childhood which was not particularly out of the ordinary for the era and socio-economic circumstances. Most of the time I was happy but with hindsight I probably did exhibit some behaviours which were atypical; I did get very emotional a lot of the time and reportedly cried an awful lot as a baby and toddler. Until I met other people’s children in later life I thought this was normal. My mother, bless her, probably struggled with the same tendencies herself but did her best to help; “engineering” me a “best friend” after I failed to pal up when I started school or moved to a new primary school, taking insensitive teachers to task for unnecessary humiliation, discreetly removing me from situations where I was bullied. We had friends with a severely autistic daughter and of course there was no comparison between my behaviour and academic ability and hers so my parents could hardly be blamed for thinking I was just a difficult child at home and overly self-conscious when mixing with others. As a teenager I was constantly exhorted to “look at people and smile when they speak to you.” I still struggle with this social skill. It would be nice to be one of those people who have a special skill at least. Before I experienced the stress of secondary and tertiary education and having to support myself in the world, I did have creative pursuits; writing, poetry, drawing, painting and music. All that is left now is that I sing in a couple of choirs. It gets me out of the house and forces me to be social for a few hours and I do love to sing.

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  163. Thank you for this article. I am a 36 year old professional in the federal government. My little boy was just diagnosed as was I. I am struggling at work with a manager. I need some advise and guidance from other professional women. Please email me if there’s anyone available who is in my situation christine.ann.bronsema @ gmail.com

    • Hi Christine, I know little of your situation so this is retrospective advice to myself – I am now retired. Some of it may fit.

      No 1. Accept that you will probably never get the recognition you feel you deserve and that promotion will always be a struggle. This is because you don’t fit the mould not because you are not capable. Be grateful to have a well paying job even if it is not quite as good as you feel you deserve – many have no job.
      No 2. Do not discuss anything negative about your boss or colleagues either in the workplace or with anyone connected with your workplace – offload only to those in your private life who you are certain are not going to pass on your remarks. if you can see your boss’s shortcomings, do not let him/her know that you see them or discuss them with others at work. This means not showing it in subtle ways too like smirking at their meaningless “corporate” gobbledegook . Psychologists would call the latter passive aggression – a rather harsh way to describe being intolerant of other people’s narrow world view but it is a form of arrogance and best avoided.
      No 3. As far as you are able and without compromising your own ethical values, do what they want you to do, the way they want you to do it in the time they allow to do it. I know you want to do it perfectly your own way but they don’t want that – it doesn’t help their statistics or their big picture. (If you need to express yourself get a creative hobby.) If you have problems with achieving this, ask their advice and listen to it. Don’t “yes, but” them: thank them sincerely for their advice whether it was helpful or not.
      No 4. Never show them they are getting to you. They may threaten you with monitoring, counselling etc. Remember this is the Public Service’s, sanctioned form of bullying the misfit, disguised as employee assistance. Go along with it in apparent seriousness – laugh inwardly only if it all seems like a farce but don’t act humiliated either – they feed off this. Just be matter of fact about it as though it’s an everyday game. If they see it is not getting to you they will eventually tire of the exercise and it will most likely peter out. If things get heavy and you are in a union, engage their help – they don’t have much clout these days but may make management more wary of going too far.
      No 5. Your colleagues and bosses may not be like you, many of them may not like you, but some of them at least will be decent human beings with their own problems and anxieties. Learn to be a bit humble and take some interest in them and offer them support where you can without getting embroiled in office politics.
      No 6. To summarise – if you are the square peg amongst a bunch of round pegs who mostly fit neatly in their round holes, they are not going to change to accommodate you, so you have to try to act like a round peg to some extent or get whittled down to a splinter.

      • I think this is excellent advice.The workplace can be so stressful, with so many situations and personalities constantly bombarding us, especially when it requires a quick response to change. I own a business (an animal hospital) with my husband. We have no employees by choice, because that eliminates our (my) having to deal with others’ shifting moods and manipulations. I must, however, meet with clients frequently during the day, and sometimes the pace can be quite hectic. I have no choice but to deal with their many emotions. I also need to present a cheerful, compassionate face. Since I am an empath, I “feel” them deeply and have to maintain a calm interior self – not always an easy task! Over time, I’ve developed a “professional persona.” It’s still me, but almost a caricature of me. I know my rules and boundaries, what topics of conversation are safe and which are not, how to politely duck out into another room for a moment if I need to collect myself, how to monitor my voice, etc. I even have a little “transition” strategy to take me from the quiet of caring for patients in the treatment areas to greeting clients in the public area. I’ll smile to myself and say “It’s Showtime!” and my professional persona clicks in. The funny thing is that I am very well-liked, people always greet me with big smiles and ask how I am and I am considered socially adept – go figure! It’s taken years for me to put this together; without realizing I was Aspien, I somehow found my own coping strategy for dealing with my profession successfully. Now if I could figure out how to deal with social situations without coming away completely exhausted!

  164. Is it ok to print this and fill in examples relating to myself to take to my Dr? I am just figuring out in the past few days that I think this is what I have suffered with for years. I have a friend who is a social worker and after reading various posts, comments and replies to people on facebook, she messaged me that she though I should read more into Aspergers. She also has a step-son with it. In reading, I am amazed because finally, it describes so much about me. I scored a 42 on Simon Baron-Cohens’ AQ Test, (The) Aspergers quiz said a 76.2% chance, and my Aspie Quiz score is: Aspie score:182 of 200, Neurotypical Score 21 of 200, and it says I am very likely an Aspie. I am making an appointment with my doctor but am trying to get together some things to take because I know when I get there, I won’t know what to say to him. So is printing it ok? I don’t want to infringe on and copyrights.
    Thank you

  165. wow that is totally me… my daughter is a confirmed aspie n my son is getting assessed for autism :/ maybe i really do have aspergers and i pass it on to my kids…there was only about 5 things on that list that didn’t fit me.

  166. Hello, Tania,
    Thank you for your informative guide. I got diagnosed last summer – kind of a 50th birthday present. Since childhood, ADHD was the call, but did not adequately explain all of the symptoms. A call-out to those my age and up: it is NEVER too late to find out! Knowledge is the best tool in dealing with any problem.

  167. At nearly 53 years of age I have finally been diagnosed as having Aspergers Syndrome. After a lifetime of just about everything you describe, it has been a relief to find out that I am not alone. However, since being diagnosed, I have looked back on my life and can’t help but wonder how my life might have turned out had I been diagnosed decades ago. Had I known, I could have avoided jobs and life situations that actively aggravated my situation. Over the years I have spiralled further and deeper into despair and bitterness – to the point where I had recently resigned from yet another job and found I no longer possessed the inner strength to put myself “out there” again or retrain again for a different career because I knew it would only end the same way AGAIN. I feel like my life has been squandered – which is another slap in the face as I typically have a genius IQ and I wonder what achievements could have been realised had I known I had AS and found a career that capitalised upon my skills.

    • But, Mandy, you know now. And you’re only 53. All of us carry pain from living our lives not knowing why things just didn’t “work out”, why we were treated poorly or differently, etc. Like you, I look back at my life, at so many “mistakes” I thought I made, so many “opportunities lost”, at so many people who treated me badly. But now I understand why that all happened. And I feel liberated. Now I get to choose how to live the rest of my life. I don’t need to conform to anyone else’s expectations. I am 61 and feel like I am starting all over and this time I am in control. I know what and who I am and I can decide where to go from here. I am no longer a victim; I am a victor. The past is irrelevant. It only matters if you allow it to matter. Your life has not been squandered. It has led you to understanding who you are today. You have a genius IQ – embrace that gift and move forward with it. Find your passion and follow it. Give up on regrets; they’ll only pull you down. Believe in yourself. Nothing else matters.

  168. I actually found reading this list a quite unnerving. So much of it fits!

    It seems obvious now that it affects a lot more than just my social relations, as my neurologist assumed. Thank you for this long and comprehensive guide.

  169. Hi Mandy and Jacqueline and all you other Aspie women, How I wish you lived in my city so we could share our experiences over a bottle of wine, but you are probably on the otherside of the world. I am not diagnosed and I have done my dough on counselllors and psychologists and none of these has ever suggested I might be Aspergic except for one GP I saw years ago who suggested the reason I thought all men were difficult to get along with was probably because I always picked men who were on the autism spectrum because I was probably “a bit that way” myself. I didn’t fully understand the implications at the time and had no internet then. So now I think I’ll just assume that I am on the spectrum to some extent and that that explains a lot of the difficulties I have had throughout my life with work, family and life in general. It also helps me to understand my ex-partners and why our relationships were probably always doomed to fail as these partners were probably higher on the spectrum than me, and to realise at last that I am not a defective person – just different. I wouldn’t describe myself as a genius though I did always come top of my class at school but then it wasn’t the most prestigious of schools – most of my classmates have probably had more successful careers and lives – I have no idea of my IQ but it always seemed that once I left school, where my teachers had great expectations for me, that I lost my way without the tight structure and support (albeit not ideal for me) of school and family. I did not make the most of my higher education as I was too busy helping my (presumably, with benefit of hindsight) Aspergic boyfriend. Overwhelmed by woefully unstructured courses and a perception that I was not liked by my lecturers I began to exhibit avoidance behaviour. I had some troubles fitting in with some flatmates and just generally surviving away from home. At the eleventh hour I made a superhuman effort and received an undeserved upper II diploma. (My boyfriend had received 1st class honours the year before) Focussing on someone else’s welfare and achievement has always helped to give meaning and direction to my life and I am pretty lost now I am single and no-longer have that. Why can’t I motivate and encourage myself I wonder? Best wishes.

  170. Hi Tania,this is a wonderful thing you have done. I have an aspie daughter diagnosed along with ADHD attributes in 1999 at the age of 6. I have 3 other children and it has always been difficult remembering to communicate with her in a different way than the others. She is now 21 and my life is still filled with misunderstandings, walls and withdrawl’s. She now has OCD elements that we often laugh together about, but I am the centre of her bubble and parenting has become more complicated with the addition of chronic pain, diabetes, alcohol, boyfriends, cars, employment or lack thereof. She has survived 2 violent relationships and I am constantly torn between wanting to wrap her up and hold her close and trying to teach her to be independant of me, this is after all, what parenting is supposed to be about, preparing them for life outside the safety of home. Your article and the responses have helped me refocus. Our society is still not ready for her, nor her them.
    I also want to add, that my mother recently read a book on adult aspergers and proclaimed with some wonder, that after all these years of knowing there was something different (she used the word ‘wrong’) that she believed she had Aspergers. She is 86 years old and a weight was lifted from her shoulders with this revelation. I have a nephew who is an Aspie and also a diabetic, but his challenges are vastly different from my daughters.

  171. I looked for an email address for you, but did not find.

    I feel compelled to write about a woman I have known for two years. I have been struggling with a relationship with her and I think I finally may have an understanding of why. I think she may be an Aspie. In reading your blog I think that she seems to fit many of the characteristics. I will detail some of the history and background. BTW, I was a Psychology major and have an interest in it and as I was struggling yesterday with the relationship, something told me to look up Aspergers.

    First I must say that I met her at work. She is an Engineer by profession, a mother of two young girls, is married (not to me and I know this can be a problem for some but I lay it out) and is an only child. Her father was 60 and her mother was about 45 when she was born to them. She is now 34 years young.

    I was taken with her when I first met her and one day I had to talk to her about work related things and she was sitting in her cubicle crying and looked as if she had not slept for a while. It turns out her father (95 years old) had fallen and was injured and in the hospital. She was very upset. Keep in mind that she is the only child so the caregiving for her parents falls to her by default. I am empathetic and also being attracted to her we talked. It turned out she also had marriage issues. Surprise surprise. A woman with Aspergers could have that issue.

    I know her quite well by now. We had a quick intimate fling in the beginning but the relationship has held. We are very close friends and her husband knows about this and I suppose there is some kind of working arrangement. We mostly chat and go to lunch now and then at this point. I have for some reason committed myself to her. This is not that smart, and a therapist told me to get out of this for several reasons. I figure I am a big boy so I am dealing.

    Which brings me to your site; and it seems a revelation that I looked up the characteristics of Aspergers. I did send her a link yesterday and tried to be very tactful about it. She seems to have taken it OK. Frankly, if she does have some of the traits, then it helps me in understanding this relationship.

    • David, You make this lady sound more like a case than a woman whose happiness you care about. The only information you give about her which might indicate her being Aspergic is her profession – anyone would be upset at the prospect of losing their father, even if at 95 he has had “a good innings”: at 34 you are not emotionally prepared for this. Perhaps her husband is not a very empathic or demonstrative type and you provided a shoulder to cry on when it was needed. She probably now feels guilt about the affair and may be torn between her loyalty to him and her girls and the need for the kind of understanding and support which you may have been able to provide when she was at a low ebb. Have you asked her how she is feeling about the situation? Perhaps I am old fashioned, but carrying on an affair with the belief that it is OK because her husband knows about it and is behaving in a civilised manner about it, is a recipe for unhappiness for all concerned. Either she wants a divorce to be with you or she needs to end the affair and reconcile with her husband or if her marriage really is untenable to separate amicably from him, be on her own for a while and share parenting. Reading between the lines, you seem to me to be a somewhat self-absorbed person and I suspect you should take your therapist’s advice – your ladyfriend will probably be relieved in the long term as she is probably suffering emotionally and doesn’t know how to extricate herself from the situation which has developed. She and her husband may need some counselling to get through this. I am not a professional in this area – this is just my personal thoughts on the matter.

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  173. Thanks for the positive comments. While I can fully relate to this diagnosis being a “glass-half-full” situation that finally illuminates a light at the end of the tunnel – I hope others can also appreciate that I am not Pollyanna.
    The blinkers are off and I am now fully aware that approx 48 years of my memory/interpretation of my life experiences (the first five years are a blank) ARE CERTAINLY NOT a realistic interpretation of what has actually happened.
    I need to temporarily wallow in the “what-if’ scenarios that are playing in my mind at the moment and face the fact that I have probably been the butt of jokes or the epitome of gullibility by my work mates and acquaintances for most of my life. This is the reality of finally discovering that nearly EACH AND EVERY ONE of my life experiences has been mis-interpreted through “Asperger goggles”.
    There is no limit to what I have unknowingly accepted as “normal” behaviour when actually I have been “played”, indulged, or had the mickey taken at my expense.
    Having said that, I DO realise that I can now move forward by avoiding situations that lead to this behaviour.
    BUT, at the moment that doesn’t relieve my immediate pain as I reflect on a life of banging my head against a brick wall; continually training or gaining new qualifications for new careers as previous careers have ended in angst; having short-lived personal relationships because I misinterpreted what was going on; and being one step away from suicide in recent months as I could see no point in retraining – yet again – for a job/career that would end up the same way.
    Surely I can’t be alone in being despondent about having my life finally being CONFIRMED as a work of fiction?
    I guess what I am looking for is the kind of unconditional support here that I haven’t found in any life situation. I can’t count the number of times I was told to pick myself up and get over what had happened in life. And with that non-understanding attitude – from people I really counted on – meant that not even my closest friends and family members understood what I had gone through, confirming that I must be weird and was being overly ‘precious’.
    This is a HUGE revelation for me. I find it hard to believe that everyone else on this site has easily transitioned from a lifetime of there being “double the glass required” to gracefully accepting that the “glass is half full”.

    • I can relate to a lot of what you say Mandy. I haven’t taken on this diagnosis in a big way, although it fits. And I don’t feel my life is a work of fiction. But it does make sense of a lot of things throughout my life – particularly re relationships and also career – and it is hard to realise that now, at age 58, I may not ever have either of those things, having struggled so long and so hard for both.
      I suppose I feel not so much the butt of jokes etc, but that people have always seen me as “intense”, “sensitive” (read “over-sensitive”) and difficult. And that started at a very young age – those descriptors have always been used for me – so I’m used to that!
      It feels to me that discovering I am probably Aspie doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to anything.
      But, I do understand your pain and shock. I am probably buffered to some extent because of having been involved in therapy a lot of my life – on both sides. I totally agree that when we are dealt such blows, grieving is a very natural response … and you can’t just cover it up with a whole lot of positive affirmations and expect that it’ll go away!
      I hope you can take the time to grieve and maybe even find someone close to you to share your experience with. I can hear your pain. Sending understanding waves! Take care of you!

    • You are not alone. Rest assured many of us who can look down the list and honestly acknowledge who we are now can take solace knowing that a lot of our behaviors are due to our hardwiring. From this I have learned to recognize when I go into “Aspie” mode, so that I recognize it and can adapt my more instinctive behaviors to more socially appropriate ones. It is a struggle, daily even, but I would never take life for granted. You were designed this way for a reason and just hearing how some of your issues mirror my own should give you some consolation that you are not only okay, but are unique and special, and your insights are a gift to the world. I have my good days and my not so good days, relish the good ones and with the bad ones, know that those feelings and thoughts, too shall also come to pass.
      Take care of yourself…you deserve it!!!

    • Hi Mandy, I can very much relate to how you’re feeling. The diagnosis initially felt like a huge relief to me, it explained so much about my life so far, all the difficulties and I was pleased that there was a reason or a cause for all my failings. Now I can look at the world with a new understanding and it should help but I am now acutely aware of having to adapt my behaviour and not say or do the wrong thing. It’s excruciating. I can see the effect I have on others and I try so hard to bluff my way through but it just doesn’t work, I feel like such a fraud, and others can see that. I feel like a ship with a faulty rudder, unable to steer a course through life. My ‘default’ steerage it faulty, that core centre of my being that allowed me to plot a course through life, based on truth honesty and logic has ultimately been a complete failure. It feels like being cast adrift in the middle of the ocean, in a world where all the rules have been changed. Where do we go from here?
      Being told you’re ‘unique’ and ‘special’ really does not help. We have gone through life wondering what was wrong and now we know but somehow it feels very hollow.

  174. Could you speak to me about the need to find others making mistakes and as long as it’s a safe person to “attack” go for the gusto in grinding it in when someone makes a mistake and they catch it. Could this be related to the black and white thinking and with feelings of inferiority have a need to catch someone else “screw up” as they feel like mess ups all the time? Trying to understand. My husband and daughter both have Aspergers. Love you blog.

    Amelia

    • Dear Amelia,

      One of the defining characteristics of Asperger Syndrome is what I call “rule patrol” and involves pointing out other people’s mistakes. Enmeshed with this is a high sense of justice and fighting for the underdog, even if the person on the Spectrum is in the wrong. Mix that in with difficulties with theory of mind, perspective taking and context blindness. I have interviewed many families where the parent has asked for support for their child who is a “dobber” and often goes too far in seeking what they see as “justice”. Some individuals on the Spectrum put others on pedestals, thinking they can do no wrong and as soon as the person make a mistake (as they invariably will do as the are human), the individual will tell on them, dob, report or even go as far as to publicly defame or bully them. Individuals on the Spectrum are prone to misinterpreting others intentions, black and white thinking and some do take revenge for perceived slights. Some individuals on the Spectrum “obsess” over people whom they feel have wronged them and have been known to stalk and bully others. I hope this helps Amelia. Take care.

    • I can’t speak for others, but I do have the annoying trait of pointing out other people’s mistakes. It’s not out of a desire to play “gotcha” or hurt anyone – I just notice everything in my environment and have a strong sense of perfectionism and order. It’s usually out of my mouth before I realize it. Now that I’m more aware of this tendency, I try to catch myself before saying anything and keep it to myself.

      • Hi Tania
        I was going to comment about my compulsive correcting tendency but I got distracted scrolling down and re-reading the blog and found myself doing it anyway though I only actually gave in to the compulsion to correct once. When I got to the bottom I couldn’t remember what comment I was intending to reply to and had to go back to my email to re-read it. There’s another few hours of my life gone!
        Susan

  175. I’m in my 50s, a computer programmer by profession. So much of this fits me, and explains a lot of the nightmares of not fitting in, during my childhood. Not sure how this can help me now, so many years later, but so much of this really fits me. I am married and have 2 children on the autism spectrum, both fairly high-functioning. Thanks for expressing a very interesting view

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  177. I am 59 and find comfort in Aspergers Syndrome. I would love to know for sure but there is no one in our area that deals with adults, much less women. Thank you for your findings. pdw

  178. I have many of the traits described in this article, but I am an adult child of an alcoholic. I read a book about adult daughters of alcoholics that also lists many of the same traits, Now I’m more confused as to who I really am and how to get help.

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  180. OMG WOW!!!

    Thank you. Thank you so much. I have never been diagnosed. Being involved in a legal case I had a psychiatrist rip me apart, and I thought what is wrong with me?

    I had suspected that it was on the autistic spectrum, but there was so much that I felt that I wasn’t. Then I read this, and just wow – so much, written in such beautiful words – is me.

    Thank you. I have sent to my email so that I can read through properly. I think I am finally moving on to explaining and finding me. Thank you so much. Nikki :)

  181. It is now the next day – and this post is still ringing in my head. Now I understand the outpouring that people send to me, about my blog. I cannot possibly express what this means to me. Every part of my life now makes sense.

    I have thought about little else. Reading this post is a major turning point in my life. Now that I know, I can hopefully begin to manage it, rather than feel bad about it.

    As a child, i never enjoyed role play, I would prefer books, and art. Although I was fairly popular as a child, and had a lot of friends. I never did the whole ‘mums and dads’ play role it seemed daft to me. As I grew older, I didn’t read fiction, only non fiction where I could learn.

    It took me 7 years to complete my degree. I did the second year 3 times as I dropped out before the end. This is despite that I was very intelligent, and found it easy to achieve academically, without thinking. I would find it hard to cope with my eldest daughter who would shout at me, sometimes for weeks on end. My ears would ring.

    I do find it easier to convey how i feel with the written word. My work was for decades with homeless people. Whilst I enjoyed the one on one client work, I struggled with combining this with work within the team. I preferred to work alone. I would can focus on one project and become lost in that project. Sometimes forgetting to eat.

    I couldn’t understand when things went wrong at work. I so wanted to please and to get it right. I would work hard, sometimes getting lost in my work (as I also do on my blog)

    I too suffer from social exhaustion. I can be sociable (I find this easier if I have had a drink, this has caused problems) – I didn’t know why? (I am not alcoholic) – I enjoy time on my own, I find that easier than being with a group of people. I can get tired, if I am around too many people for too long.

    I have a sixth sense, am intuitive, and can be psychic, I have had mediumistic things that I have seen, that have proven to be accurate and true.

    The list goes on and on…. I am not A sexual, I am hetrosexual, but it having sex isn’t the center of my world. If I am not in a relationship, it doesn’t bother me. I have been too naive in the past. To trusting and have been taken advantage of.

    Things became really bad for me, when I suffered a horrific trauma over 6 days (my daughter died) and I developed severe chronic PTSD. My brain froze (I lost over 3 years of my life) and my job… I just couldn’t cope…..

    I am now realising from your amazing post…. that I have always had aspergers. It is like you have described me. I want to write to thank you. I am hoping that from now on, I can not just manage. But to explain to people why I am like I am. I don’t mean to be rude or short… I often do not realise that I am. I also look young for my age, and can have a childlike innocence, despite having wisdom from a fairly difficult life.

    I really now know what those emails to me, thanking me for explaining the truth about their abusive relationship, must feel like to those people. This is a turning point in my life. Thank you!!

  182. Thank you PG for directing me here, wow! You sound just like me! This is the most informative write up about aspergers and related issues that I’ve ever read! So accurate. The EDS was news to me too, I have so many symptoms of it! My family too, mum, sister and daughter etc are displaying different presentations of it. I’ve actually booked in to see the doc after reading info about it. Thank you so much for the write up, it’s wonderful, I’ve already passed links on to others who ” don’t get me “, a life changer for me, thank you so much! :D
    Love and light your way.
    Jen.XXX

  183. You even say about the fear of birth. I did. In fact it was this that caused the trauma when my daughter died. They forced me into 3 days induction, despite this was my biggest fears. My brain, shut down. I was lost for more than 3 years.

    I am wondering, as I can relate to pretty much everything that you say here. (95%) – it is like someone has written my life history.

    What would be the impact of severe psychological trauma, in a birth situation, where someone was terrified of birth – and developed severe Chronic PTSD? Would this be worse for someone with Aspergers?

    My brain shut down. What you say about long term memory being good and short term bad (I lost my car the other day as I drove it to the shop, forgot and walked home – it was the next day I realised and it was towed away). I coped at work, as i was reliant on my long term memory (I had worked in my job with homeless people 7 years prior to the trauma) I was able to work on auto pilot (without thinking). 13 months after the trauma, I attended 2 day training course, for the first time in my life, I couldn’t retain information, or learn. I loved to learn, and found it easy – it was a white space. This was the first time that I realised that there was something seriously wrong. There was, I was left so traumatised my brain was frozen in shock. The cognitive processing in my brain stopped working. I couldn’t process new information. (and couldn’t for more than 3 years).

    Do you know if there is anywhere that I can find information about the impact of trauma with people with Aspergers? Why did it impact me so much? Being a person whose brain was always fast – this stop in my brain, was really frightening. I lost myself. I would really like to learn more about what happened. Why it had affected me so severely?

    For the first time, ever in my life. I am able to explain. I am able to understand me. It is so massive, and is going to make such a difference to my life. Thank you.

    • I was wondering the same PG, hence I mentioned it on your page, I’ve had ” brain freeze too, it’s awful, it first happened when I was in junior school and again in secondary school, I’ve had periodic bouts of it since. I wondered what impact multiple traumas had on the aspergic child and adult, especially when all you’ve had so far is your own self help and research to survive.

    • Sorry to hear about what you went through, I have had trauma in my life but never had the brain shut down, I would go inside myself and live there for a while until I could deal with things. I did have a complete brain loss a few years ago, my son ( also aspie) and I went to a hypnotist him for smoking and me for weight and when we walked out our brain was gone ( we both had the same reaction) – all the voices and pics in my head had disappeared and there was only silence for the first time in my life, (if this is how normals live my heart goes out to them – no wonder they need a society) it was like playing ping pong with only one lonely thought at a time and then emptiness, it drove me crazy and I only lasted about 2 weeks and had to go back and get him to somehow reverse it. It is still not as good as it used to be but getting back to how it was. He said in
      all his years he had never had anyone with this. Regards Ivoryt

  184. I happened to stumble across this site whenever I was doing some research on Asperger’s, and oh my God, nearly everything on here describes me to a T. I’m just nervous to speak to a psychologist about it. :/

    • I know how you feel, Elizabeth. I am afraid if I approach someone they will laugh and think I am being ridiculous. Especially my family.

      • Exactly. My mom tells me that I’m being ridiculous and to ‘get over it’. She doesn’t say it to be mean of course, but at 21….I don’t think this is just a simple ‘phase’ I’m going through. I just learned that a seven year old cousin of mine has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, and with ADHD and other disorders running in my family, couldn’t there be a possibility of me having something too?

      • This is a problem for me, as well. While my husband totally understands and supports me, I don’t feel as though I can share this with anyone else. I think my son would flip out, even though he deals with many of the same issues I have. I think he would try to deny what I have to say, especially since he is the father of 2 young boys. Part of me wants to tell him but part of me is terrified that he might reject me and I can’t take that risk. As far as sharing it with friends is concerned, I think this news would ricochet around my carefully controlled social world and I would forever be labeled as “weird” (they already think I’m eccentric but like me anyway.)

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  186. Hello.. I’m an Aspienwoman and I saw myself in almost every item, with some few exceptions. I’m from Brazil and we have very few material regarding the subject of Asperger Syndrome on Women… can I translate it to portuguese (with a link to this page and all the credits, of course)? I’m creating a blog just to translate those kind of texts and make it more accessible to people here.
    Thank you very much.

  187. I am not ASD and come up at the very opposite in assessments. I find some of these categories very much like myself and people “diagnosed” with other things such as ADHD, bi-polar, or just people who would be seen as artistic, sensitive, very compassionate. But I think it is helpful for women who identify as ASD very hard to find info that relates to women. have a daughter diagnosed with Autism and one who I have thought would be diagnosable especially if she was a youngster nowadays. She is in mid 20s and younger is mid teens. I think the benefit of this study is that it is fabulous for women who can see themselves mirrored in these descriptions. It has a lot of detail. I would be concerned if people picked out certain categories and found themselves or others in those categories without taking the entire picture into account (perhaps as some with ASD may?). Please do not take any of these comments in a way that would be offensive. I just wanted to give a perspective as someone who is not identifying with the whole picture of this developing study, but can look from the outside and also does identify a lot with the emotional and psychological categories. Great to see this work being developed. Thank you very much for sharing this information and doing this valuable research. Helen

  188. Hi; the profile on adult females with Asperger’s Syndrome fitted my Partner exactly; there is a 33 year age difference between us. I am seventy five. I realised within the last few days that she has the “syndrome”.

    The profile has answered so many questions and provided great relief in just knowing what it is.

    The question I have for you please is: how do you cope with horrendous and quite horrible anger both verbal and physical with anything to hand coming my way. The tenor of the anger is the same every time. I almost know it now word for word and it’s scary and another concern is that we have a six year old, given I won’t last forever to protect her, what will happen to her.

    Thanks for the profile; lots of answers however some questions still remain.

    As a career, my Partner is a passionate Director of Nursing in Aged Care with a very strong management style according to many!

    C.

  189. OMGosh… this sounds a lot like me and I’m 41. I was just diagnosed with MTHFR. If you have Asperger’s look up MTHFR gene mutation. 90% of Autism people have MTHFR. Thx for this list. My husband and I just moved to a newly built house right before Thanksgiving and have been so overwhelmed with buying a new house, sick cats and now the holidays and my health has been getting in the way with auto-immune etc. We have NOT spent time with family and even missed several invites the past couple yrs due to all of this. My dad just told us this week, he wants to “Disown” us and take us out of the family trust. Really??? all because HE doesn’t feel like we care enough to go to HIS parties and family gatherings. Who cares about $$, but “Disown”? I guess it makes HIM look bad if we dont’ show up and who cares how we feel. Jeesh. I will share this list above with my methylation specialist and see what she thinks. I’ve been a slow learner all my life, but once I learn I’m a big detailed person enough to bore someone….lol As you see with my post.

  190. What’s most helpful here for me is the description of my social troubles. In helping to clarify just what these are I can get a better sense of why so many of my friendships have ended and why I have had trouble at work. ….so much actually comes down to being able to be within a group. I can do this, quite well even, ecxept when it has to go on for days or there is pressure to be accepted. One thing it has helped me realise is that I need to avoid socializing within a group. That any new friend can only be made one on one; otherwise I run the risk of losing out on a heavy investment of energy, because any friend made via a group interaction will basically not last (this may have been easier when younger and I had more practise). …it is a significant drawback, but I am handicapped so very much more if I feel ashamed of this limitation and get pushed and conned into thinking I shoukd have to be extroverted. I simply cannot last – certainky not if or when any new added pressure, like starting a new job, gets thrown into the mix.

    I have too much experience with all these everyday heartaches and rejection. I was also sexually harassed in my first year of working. (with all men on my own) and sufferred a kind of nervous breakdown which was followed by aquiring a full blown anxiety disorder and avoidance of work – then panic attacks and further bullying because of it when I returned. After climbing my way back out of those holes, its to now find that I am discriminated agaeinst because of my work history. Even taking the category of disabled, due to my anxiety problems, has yet to see me get a job three months on.

    I feel quite angry and bitter. I seem to repeatedly just fall short of getting acceptance in various arenas. I’m intelligent, talented, mature and kind.I do a lot of volunteer work.

    Over and over I feel like I am passed over – all my good traits ignored. I feel like the average person is selfish spoilt and ruthless. It’s all about the individual getting ahead. Only with my apparrent great weakness, comes a lot of strength and it’s as if I am garbage, the way that the work force utterly and entirely ignores me.

    How does a person deal with such prejudice? …even four years of positive references from recent work roles still sees me dealing with discrimination: I cannot get a job in science because I abandoned that due to harassment and bad association; I cannot get a job in admin because I am not experienced enough; even a job cleaning proves difficult because I have a university degree.

    I am truly in limbo. Neithrr here nor there. Nowhere.

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  192. Hi, Tania.
    CONTEXT — I am diagnosed AS – initially “residual” and “sub-clinical” (exact words used), as you so rightly feature as typical assumptions for mature women who have acquired some masking skills – but I protested as there are continuing very real negative IRL effects. Even this female-AS-specialist diagnostician was misled by my apparent interactive social skill, as displayed in the clinical setting over a finite period. As a result of my protest and elaboration, this word was withdrawn from the formal DX document. I felt and continue to feel this to be very important, as I think it very likely in future life I will need to seek accommodations which I surmise would not be made available with such an equivocal DX.
    REQUEST — This page was such a good read that I wonder if you have a version with tick boxes. I am trying to explain to a friend what it means to be AS and I reckon you’ve utterly, utterly nailed it for me. Reckon I tick 90-95% of your list. Very impressive work, the best I have seen so far.

  193. I was finally diagnosed at the age of 50 (I am 60 now). I’ve been married for 35 years, and I am getting more and more autistic, and more asexual. Which is the cause of great distress, because my husband is the opposite and demands sex, saying that the bible says it is my duty as a good wife.
    Going down your list, it nearly all fits me (the specialist who diagnosed me told me I was a ‘textbook case’).
    If I would have known what I know now (and how awful my marriage would be) I’d never have married at all. People say, “But how can you say that, you wouldn’t have your five wonderful children and 17 grandchildren then!” BUT that is a moot point, as nobody would have known they could potentially exist.

    • Does it really say that in the Bible? To be expected I suppose, since there is no Gospel according to Mary or Mary Magdalene or anyone at all of the female gender. I only ever read it at state school in RE and we didn’t cover that bit for obvious reasons! Maybe I got the wrong impression, but I thought Christianity was about showing unconditional love for one’s fellow man (and woman of course), not about a set of arbitrary rules and obligations, designed to give men the upper hand.
      I really don’t think your marital difficulties are entirely due to Aspergers. I suspect it is one of the myths of our age that post menopausal women (and women in general for that matter) are all having great sex lives. Sure, HRT may help and a good emotionally intimate relationship with one’s partner and continuity of sexual intimacy from a time when you were both actually hot for each other (assuming there was ever such a time) would surely help to keep it going as long as possible, but I think it is just a fact of nature that many post menopausal women are not all that interested in sex, especially if their partner doesn’t understand and makes no attempt to adapt his expectations and behaviour to her declining sex drive.
      I am single and lonely but the thought of starting up sex again with some old man I met on the net leaves me cold though I would love for someone to take me to the theatre or a drive. It is not for no reason that men in other cultures or eras took additional wives, kept mistresses, visited prostitutes etc. when their wives became middle-aged. In our society where divorce is now the norm, the usual remedy is for the man to leave his wife for a younger or more sexually willing woman, leaving his wife to get on with her life alone – a fate which is much easier to cope with in the West . Fortunately, most have children and grandchildren and are usually better at taking care of themselves than their deserting husbands. It is often the man who ends up the lonelier once his new amour loses interest after his potency declines and she has spent all his money, while the deserted wife often flourishes in her new-found independence in spite of her relatively impoverished circumstances.
      If you were otherwise happy in the marriage you would probably go along with the sex to please him but sounds to me as though you are not happy and that is why you hate the sex so much because it just heightens your awareness of your unhappiness – if it is physically uncomfortable – talk to your GP.
      I hope you and your husband can work this out.
      Best wishes,
      Susan

      • Oh my goodness. First, any biblical references to a wife’s “duty” sexually all refer to reproduction. Since that is off the table, even if you believed that @#$%^&* it wouldn’t apply to you anyway. But, beyond that, sexual intercourse for us post-menopausal ladies is frequently painful due to vaginal atrophy. That sure can put the damper on our interest. Sure, we can take hormones, but why risk our lives to please men who clearly don’t have our best interests at heart? Marital sexuality is mutual. There are many, many ways to please and pleasure each other that don’t involve doing things that are harmful; but if one partner bullies the other there can be no mutuality. As an Aspienwoman, I understand how others can overwhelm us with their demands and expectations; how we need to please, smooth the waters and crave acceptance, just to try to have some peace. But it doesn’t work. It’s not just our job – our “others” have to do their part as well, and if they can’t or won’t, then we need to rethink the relationship. You have a right to self-fulfillment and self-esteem. You have a right to be understood, appreciated and supported in your marriage. I am in a happy, fulfilling marriage and I realize every day how fortunate I am; but I’ve also fought for it and it hasn’t always been pretty. I only came to the realization that I’m Aspien in the past few months and, as I look at my past (I’m 61, BTW,) I can see how much pain both of us experienced because we didn’t understand what was really going on. We’ve faced it together and are working through it. It isn’t always easy, but one thing I do is communicate what I’m feeling and insist that my husband confronts my reality because it’s his reality as well. He has risen to the challenge. Communicate with your husband. Don’t back down. He has to confront this if he wants to go on with you and you with him. It’s his responsibility as much as it is yours.

      • I don’t think sex is anyone’s duty but it is a need in a relationship. It is awful to be forced to do something you don’t want to and you should know your boundaries. However, I am another Aspien woman (much younger than you) that is kind of hypersexual and I’ve been in relationships where the man was less sexual than me and I felt so hurt and rejected. It was one of the most humiliating experiences ever (well, many other things went wrong and I had no idea why, at least I now have an explanation). I have never had the opposite problem, however, I have done things I hate for someone I love (such as going to concerts where I just can’t stand the music) and it was terrible. But what I mean is – try to understand your husband, don’t make him “wrong” for having these desires. I’m telling you – it hurts incredibly to be sexually rejected by someone you love and desire. It makes you unwanted and unloved and even ashamed. We all have different needs and sex is one of them for many people. I recommend you read the book “Five love languages” to get an idea just how different people are. It’s not the perfect book but it is worth reading. It helps you understand yourself and others better.
        I feel lonely now, I want to find love and it is really difficult to have a high sex drive and be single and also to be very picky about who you want to date. I hope I will find someone some day.

  194. This is me to a T. 42 yrs old, worked with Asperger individuals for 10 yrs. I could relate to them completely. Going for my Masters in Counseling and I am a medium/ channeler. I love the fact you picked up on the psychic component. I tried to communicate that in my work whenever I got the chance.

  195. Much of this describes my 14 year old daughter to perfection, she has no diagnosis and has been discharged by our local service as they say she can’t be an Aspie as she is able to hold a reciprocal conversation on a one to one and understands some sarcasm! Reading this has reassured me that we are doing the right thing seeking a 2nd opinion :-)

  196. I am awaiting investigation to identify whether I have autism/asperger’s and I can identify with many of the characteristics mentioned in this article. Your article is very informative. Thank you.

  197. I know I’m kind of late on this, but I’m 19 and I’ve always kind of suspected I’m not NT but last week my mother confided in me that she always suspected I had Asperger’s (never diagnosed due to a dislike of pathologizing behavior), and have kind of gone on a research/crying binge. I fit this profile perfectly (I’ve not shown signs of hypochondria before) and I’m not sure how to deal with it. On one hand it explains a lot of my behavior and the things I consistently have difficulty with and it makes me feel less awful and weird about it. On the other hand, given this diagnosis, I’m not sure at all how to deal with it and I’m really afraid of being clinically diagnosed or using it as something to hide behind. Thoughts?

  198. Very informative. I am just realizing that my sister, who is 53, might be an Aspie. She fits closely with most of the characteristics listed. The question I have now is: should I tell her? What about our parents? Would this knowledge be upsetting? How would she react? Not sure what to do. Any insight would be most appreciated. Thanks!

  199. Oh goodness. I actually feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. Being an ex-teacher, I’ve worked with a lot of autistic children and some with aspergers (although all of them have been boys) so I thought I had a good understanding of aspergers syndrome. I also thought that I was about as far away from having aspergers as one possibly could be. but reading this is like reading about myself. A few of the points don’t apply to me, but most do. I’ve googled further and – yes – the social awkwardness and teaching myself how to fit in and how to be with people and talk to them, the inability to hold down a job despite being intelligent and responsible, poor executive function, woeful lack of organisational skills, ridiculously precise long term memory, but awful short term memory and so on. I think this is me, and it explains such a lot. I’m scared to delve further though – I’d really hate anybody to think I was obsessed with getting a diagnosis (we’ve all met people like that – desperate for a label to excuse their failings. I don’t want to be one of them).

  200. Tania, excellent, well-researched article. Two young women in my life are Aspies, and one forwarded this to me.

    One was misdiagnosed as bipolar, mostly because it runs in her family. Although I am unhappy with the reclassification of Asperger’s as a form of Autism, leading to stigmatism of the disorder, blogs such as yours and Gretchen Leary’s (a young woman who is “out” with her diagnosis) are helping to shed a comprehensive light on a condition that gives our world so many interesting, creative people. I could go on, but let me thank you again. Peace, Amy Barlow Liberatore… PFLAG Mom and “out” bipolar and PTSD woman!

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  202. This article could have been written about me, this is how strongly I identify.
    I am yet to receive a formal diagnoses however, I have known since I was 6 that I was different (I’m 30 this year). My parents never pursued having me “checked out” as a child as my mother was quite ill and my father is very much a typical pom (everything is BS anyway). I think they just assumed that it was just how I was. Looking back now I struggle to not feel resentment, despite the fact that they are and were amazing parents. How could they not have noticed that I had an eating disorder for so many years and why did they accept my incredibly abnormal behavior as normal. They are also incredibly sensitive and I feel that they will take this as a personal failing on their part.

    I still sleep with a soft toy…

    I have struggled over the past 10 years with either putting myself in a abusive relationship (and constantly going back) to cutting ties with people when I feel they’re getting too close in a way I don’t like.

    My husband saw straight through my behavior and told me that it was not normal and that I’m incredibly narcissistic, sensitive and lacked the ability to have a conversation with anyone unless about a topic I was interested in however, I talk”at” people instead of with them and did not have the ability to recognise disinterest. Now I can see what he means, but it has taken me my entire life to realise that I lack the awareness at the time and that perhaps he is right.

    I’m happy that I can finally relate to other people but I’m also very worried that I’ll never change from this. :-/

  203. i found most of the traits mentioned fit my experiences in life . i also have found since having a massive stroke that damaged my pre-frontal cortex that my already poor coping skills are worse. life this way is challenging at best but i keep trying to find ways that permit me to hew a life i feel is rewarding and somewhat comfortable but dang it is hard.

  204. I want to say Thank you so much for this article.
    My son was diagnosed in 1998 and I researched a great many articles for him to help him cope while he was growing up. After a long absence from my brothers I was finally re united and immediately saw they too exhibited the same symptoms as my son. Of course I immediately informed them and their wives about the condition and received many thanks from them after I recommend books to read. I remember my oldest brother’s wife calling me after she read one of the books I recommended and saying “it described my brother to a tee”.
    I watched as my mother started to exhibit more and more traits of Asperger’s as she grew older. We all laughed and put it down to just her advancing years. Then recently I have noticed that I am exhibiting more and more traits of Asperger’s as I get older, ( picture me running screaming..” I am turning into my Mother.”). Please do not get me wrong I love my mother with all my heart even though she is no longer with us. She was the most fantastic person I have ever known along with my son.
    I have noticed over the past few years, things that never bothered me before are becoming obsessive in my thinking now.. small things such as being crowded by people, changes in my routine can throw me off for weeks on end and the list goes on and on. I am in dread fear of small-talk.. I just can’t do it.. I never could but it is so much worse now. I avoid people and prefer to stick strictly to my family. I basically have no female friends or no real friends. But I still hold out hope that I will make some, someday. I have my family and although some of them are not blood family they stick by me. There is no doubt in my mind that I am a Aspienwoman and so was my mother.
    Until recently I was ok knowing that I was different and I even recognized why I was different. I have a job I love, and my fondest wish is to be able to hang onto it until I can retire. But I live in fear that at my age if I lose it, no one will hire me as I am not in my 30’s, or 40’s. I watch as all these young people are being hired and they are able to answer and catch on to things so quickly it scares me. Anyway I am rambling.
    My real question is can you or anyone point me in the direction of a group or blog that I can join/talk to others like me? It would be so helpful.

  205. Tania, THANK YOU for your work. This is such a relief to read, particularly because it’s so difficult to find material on adult women with Aspergers. I was diagnosed in 2008 at the age of 37, and this list corresponds to my life very accurately (I’m now 42). It’s a great relief to read it and I will be following your work. I have never really told people ‘en masse’ about the diagnosis, but I long to talk about it more. Mostly, people don’t believe it because of the skills I’ve developed to deal socially. On the other hand my partner of 6 years very much believes it, although he didn’t at first. I’ve contrived to spend most of the last 5 years in solitude, really only seeing him for social contact, because of social exhaustion and social/workplace exhaustion. I think this list will help me talk about Aspergers to people I’d like to become friends with, if it’s necessary. So thank you again. I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post about the representation of people with Aspergers on popular tv shows – all men – and some of these characters are FANTASTIC and I get very attached to them – but we hardly ever see ‘eccentric’ women represented, or women with Aspergers characteristics.

    Chris

    • Dear Chris, thank-you for your message and you are welcome. I agreed that it is a challenge to find material on adult female Aspergers. One of the challenges for females is that they have often spend time, money and energy in searching for and finally getting their diagnosis. Then, after much courage to tell others about their diagnosis, their well-meaning (and sometimes not) friends, family members or work colleagues dismiss them. I agree with you that we need to see females with Aspergers represented accurately in TV shows. All the best!

  206. is there any kind of medication that can treat Aspergers disease? I’m struggling trying to go back to school and I’m having all these problems had It every since I was a kid

    • Dear Damie, Asperger Syndrome is a neurological condition, usually from birth and highly heritable. There are no medications to treat Aspergers perse. Having said that there are some medications that are quite useful in treating anxiety, depression or OCD, for example. School can be stressful due to having a different learning style, social confusion, executive function challenges, social skills challenges, and/or possible learning difficulties. Academic accommodations, social skills training, breaks of solitude, finding out one’s learning style and/or learning disabilities can all be helpful.

    • Dear Damie, there is no medication for aspergers because it’s not a disease! It is classed as a disorder but many people would even dispute that. It’s just a different way of thinking. The problem lies in the rotten way people who are “different” are treated by people who are “normal” and therefore people with aspergers often develop anxiety or depression which then need treating. Other things like attention problems are usually the result of other conditions (eg in my daughter’s case she has ADHD and aspergers, as does my sister) and whether a person has ADHD or not, only severe cases need medication. Mild cases just need understanding by caregivers and teachers.

  207. Hi~

    Interesting project — look forward to following your work! Just one thing — I think of it as the “gift of Aspergers” since the upside traits have really empowered me in my life, as has the need to develop sophisticated coping mechanisms. So, you use the word “symptoms”. I would like to suggest that you use “traits”, as symptoms indicates illness.

    Cheers,
    Pamela

    • Dear Pamela, thank-you for your message. I too view many of the traits of Aspergers in a strength-based way, as reflected in my book series (coming out soon). I definitely will fix this, in due time. I really like the way you think about Aspergers! Take care, Tania

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  210. wow this desribes me so well i have a milluon mental health diagnosis….ED addiction self harm borderline ptsd social anxiety depression but this seems to fit me better in general then any of them. something to look into i think.

  211. If there’s no official tool for assessing females then how do we get the official diagnosis to receive disability checks? I am going out of my mind — I no longer feel I can function in this world. I feel that, as I age, my symptoms worsen. I just want to sleep life away so I don’t have to deal with people and the perpetual misunderstanding.

    • Hi Erika, their are assessment tools I use, which are good, not great or perfect, but they do the job. We do need female-based ones and these are being developed by researchers presently. I understand how you feel. I have talked to women from many different countries who are finding it extremely challenging to find someone who understands the female profile and who will listen to them and provide them with the appropriate diagnosis. It is also quite the challenge to find and/or receive post-diagnosis support. I am currently working on a database of professionals and support groups for females on the Spectrum. Take care.

      • What tools do you use that you’re referring to? Will you be posting this list of professionals and groups for support that you’re working on?

        Thanks for your caring response.

  212. Thank you for having this report online. Every part is exactly me with only maybe 3 small exeptions. This has given me the most amazing feeling to know more about myself. The self awareness about myself is finally a completed puzzle.

  213. Sometimes it really feels like I’m chained to a boulder that I’m having to drag through each and every day. I’ve always felt like the subject of the song “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?” and that teachers and bosses were just sighing and rolling their eyes, wondering when my next screw-up would occur. Then there is the challenge of making and keeping friends. On one hand I am lonely and want to be like other women, to talk about fashion and men and church and go for girls’ night out. But in my heart I know I am usually uncomfortable or bored discussing those things, nor do I really feel much in common with “the girls”. Forget the lunchroom, I can’t face the chitchat, the gossip and the risk of being the butt of someone’s bitchiness. It’s easier not to have women friends. My husband and my immediate family are my BFFs. And it’s much more comfortable that way.
    I get tired of fluctuating between functioning all right for a while, then without warning, experience near-catatonia. I get tired of my “stimming” behaviors, yet I can’t seem to stop them. Above all, I want an explanation, a definitive diagnosis and effective treatment. “Yes, this is the problem, and here is what we can do to make it better.” My first psychiatrist stopped short of a dx because I scored high on the EQ. It’s true, I am so empathetic it’s ridiculous. Deanna Troi has nothing on me! The meds I am on help with the emotional meltdowns and cognition issues, but my teeth-clicking and rocking have increased fourfold.
    So, I’ve decided enough is enough. I have made an appointment to see a therapist next week. A female therapist who has been highly recommended. I hope she can help me sort through this mess. I’ve had enough of hiding out in my little house, and looking forward to getting back out into the world. It helps me to read the thoughts and experiences of other women like me and I hope maybe I can give support in return.

    • I should clarify that my primary dx is Bipolar I, Dysthymic Disorder, Depressive Personality Disorder with Schizoid Traits and Borderline and Antisocial Features. Whew! That was a mouthful. I never told doc about the stimming or talking to myself; maybe that’s a good thing, ha!

  214. I enjoy reading others’ stories and I have commented on some. But I can’t help but feel invisible, as no one here has ever responded to any of my comments. Am I intruding on a closed discussion? If so, I offer my apologies.

    • You are so NOT invisible. I read your 2/8 post and could relate to so much of it. This is by far not an insular discussion, believe me and I’m glad you spoke up. One thing I keyed on was the feeling of wanting to be “one of the girls” and never being able to breach that gap. I’ve always been uncomfortable around other girls/women. I want to be able to “blend in” to the discussions about fashion, etc, but I just can’t. For a long time, I thought I was just a dork. But, really, what most women talk about just bores me to tears. I don’t understand the context.I can tell that other women don’t “get me” when I start talking about something scientific or historical in great detail and I suddenly find myself marginalized. I don’t get gossip. Why would I care about so-and-so and so-and-so? I don’t like to shop because stores freak me out with sensory overload. I have no idea what fashions are current and I don’t really care but I wish I could. I dress nicely, but comfortably because seams, labels, etc bother me. Try explaining that to the spike heels and skinny jean crowd. I love playing tennis and it’s really good for me mentally and physically, but then I have to deal with all the social trips that are going on around me with competitive personalities that I just can’t stand the emotional noise. So let’s keep this discussion going. I need to talk about this stuff too.

      • Thank you so much, Jacqueline, for your kind reply. I was feeling a little self-pitying last night, sorry! Your experience really resonates with me. In “small-talk” situations, I used to rattle on about something without realizing how I was boring people. After awhile, they’d avoid me. When I finally realized the reason why, it was as if a spotlight had suddenly switched on. I’ve had a lot of insight about social cues. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make me any more comfortable around people. I can fake it, but I’ve been told it sometimes comes off as insincerity. But I keep working on it! :-) I’m having to say good night for now, but I hope we can stay in touch. Thanks again!

    • Hello Mockingbirdhillmom,

      I know how you feel. It is not often anyone responds to me either. On Facebook no-one ever does -I think it is because I don’t know how to gush, expose the trivial details of my life for public consumption or make lighthearted, guileless quips. I have barely been outside for days or even got dressed because I have lost all motivation – catatonic almost. I don’t know if it’s the (suspected) Aspergers, the meningioma or the medication (probably unnecessary) which I have to take to keep my driver’s licence, or if I am depressed because I feel I am of no interest to anyone anymore. I am determined to get myself out of the “wallow” of the last three days and get showered and dressed and get out and at least go to the shops – it is now 1.30pm. It is all too easy to distract myself on the computer for hours on end. I must make an effort to be the one to make contact instead of hoping someone (other than from an Indian call centre) will bother to contact me. I too live in fear of rebuff and rejection; of pushing myself in where I am not wanted, though I do know intellectually that this is a selfish fear and that those I am avoiding contacting probably feel equally neglected by me. It is such hard work when being sociable does not come naturally and yet I need the stimulation of (safe non-judgemental) contact with others. I so envy all those people on Facebook for their bright and happy social lives. It is probably to be expected that on a forum for Aspergers women, many are not going to engage readily in discourse but that is exactly what we need to do, so I look forward to hearing from you again – you are very welcome -(as the flowers…..) Btw what is “stimming” I’ve not heard the term before? I have started horseriding in my mid 60s -can’t afford every week but it is wonderful – makes me feel happy and normal for a while – all activity is good if I can only get started. Choir is good too though I tend to dread it until I get there and start singing. I hope your therapy will turn out to be helpful.

      Sending you loving and happy thoughts,

      Susan

      • Hello, Susan, and thank you for your kind words. I really understand what you are saying about the “catatonia”. It is awful to feel unfocused and unsure what to do next, so one ends up doing nothing. In spite of psychotropic medication helping, it’s still a challenge for me. “Stimming” (short for a self-soothing “stimulative” behavior) is a type of behavior that is repetitive, like rocking one’s body back and forth. In my case it’s clicking my teeth in a particular rhythm and rocking my head to and fro in time to it. It’s very subtle, and most people won’t know I’m doing it unless they’re staring and catch me off guard. So happy to hear about the horseback riding. It must be so nice to be outdoors and to feel the fresh air and feel the rhythm of the horse’s gait. And you sing, too! I love singing as well. These are things that bring us joy, and can alleviate loneliness I believe. I am heading off to bed, busy day tomorrow, but I hope we can stay in touch. You sound like a very nice person. Best wishes and we’ll talk again tomorrow if you like. By the way, I live in Wichita, KS, USA. Where are you from?

  215. Just wondering if anyone has had the experience of trying to sort out a difficult relationship situation, where the intention is that, if logic is used, a clear, logical solution can be found – however, in my situation, everyone turned on me to denounce my approach? I recently had to deal with my siblings regarding my elderly mothers finances. I wrote what seemed to me to be a thoughtful, logical, compassionate email. However the backlash that I have received is perplexing and confusing. I copied the email to my husband as well – even he said that I sounded angry even furious. I reread the email: Not only was I not angry when I wrote the email but I could not see how anyone could interpret what I had written as anything but compassionate and looking for support.

    I have had a similar response to written communication in the past. Is this typical for an aspie?

    • Oh, yes, I’ve had similar situations with written communication as well, I almost started a fight with my cousin when I had no intention to, fortunately she didn’t make me feel bad about it and I just apologised. What has helped me is reading about relationships and scientific research on what works. Your intentions may be the best but you need the right approach as well. I still make mistakes but at least now I catch them and know where I need to improve. I need a logical explanation for everything and psychology studies are the best solution for me. Try reading some quality books on relationships.
      The best thing I’ve learned is forgetting the words “should” or “must”. Nothing is worse than them when it comes to communication. The worst thing you can say to someone is that they should or should not be feeling a certain way. If you catch yourself saying something that could be paraphrased as “you should not feel this way” stop immediately. NTs do this as well but they are more subtle so they get a free pass. Since I started using these techniques my relationships have deepened and my friends even started complimenting me on my good advice. Well, I’m not perfect and I have a lot more to work on but this is good progress. Good luck!

    • I’ve actually had almost the identical experience. When my mother passed away, my four siblings and I had to sort out her estate. She had kindly left a comprehensive will, so it should not have been difficult. After one of my sisters physically attacked one of my brothers during our first family meeting, however, we decided to communicate via email rather than risk another incident. My approach to communicating via email was, to my way of thinking, straightforward, logical and businesslike. These, were, after all, merely practical matters, or so I thought. I thought I was being kind and compassionate; I had, after all, just lost my mother too. But some of my siblings didn’t take my approach well. I was accused of all manner of things, especially being cold and greedy for wanting to expedite the process. Apparently, I didn’t understand the emotional ways that my siblings were dealing with having to divide the estate. I missed my mother and mourned for her, but I saw settling the estate and dividing the proceeds as a necessary administrative process. Some of them saw it as tearing my mother’s life apart, as though she were still alive. They couldn’t bear to part with her house, her possessions, etc. I couldn’t relate to that, although I understood it, in a distant way. I just wanted to deal with it and put it in the past. It was a nightmare, resulting in my not speaking to my sisters for more than a year.

      I think electronic communication is especially fraught with danger for Aspiens. We are often almost clinical in our assessments of situations and usually use language that others find off-putting, since many of us have a command of language that others do not. We can come across as pompous, superior, lofty and unfeeling. I now refuse to use email or texting for anything other than simple questions and answers, preferring to speak in person or on the phone if I have something important to communicate; which can be difficult, as well, since I try to avoid conflict at all costs and sometimes “zone out” during conversations while I’m trying to process where the other person is coming from. I actually would prefer to use email because it gives the chance to think about what I have to say without being rushed, but it’s not a good option for me, since I seem to lack the facility for emotional eloquence.

      That lack of facility can be frustrating, but I find it funny sometimes. Trying to write a simple thank you or birthday card is an exercise is anxiety. Some people can write all sorts of sweet little sentiments and I wish I could do that. I admire that ability. All I can come up with is “Thank you for the watch” or Happy Birthday” and I feel like a dork. My husband threw me a huge 60th birthday party last year (which I hardly remember because I felt like a zombie all night) and it took me weeks to write half of the thank you cards. It was horrible. I finally ended up not sending any of them and then apologizing to all my friends.

      Hope this helps a bit to know you’re not the only one who struggles with written communication.

    • Pardon the short reply, I’ve had a tiring day what with school and still recovering from surgery. I agree with Jacqueline’s post. E-mails and texts are easily misinterpreted. Unless one sprinkles one’s text with emoticons, an e-mail can sound terse and unfriendly. “Please stop by my office sometime today.” “Your help would be very much appreciated.” “Please reply at your earliest convenience.” These statements can hold a threat for many of us, autistic or not. I can’t help but wonder, though, if your relatives were overreacting to a perfectly civil correspondence. Though we “aspies” tend to second-guess ourselves a lot, one mustn’t discount the possibility that you’re aren’t to blame. Maybe your family members are simply behaving like jerks. Best wishes, and feel free to “bend my ear” anytime!

      • Thank you. I am taking your suggestions seriously. It is such a relief to finally be part of a community where I am not so alone in my ‘take on the word’.

    • Dear Clare, the hallmark challenge for people on the Spectrum is the social domain and social differences. Without reading your email, I cannot comment on how it was perceived. However, It is quite common for misunderstandings to occur in social interactions. All the best.

  216. Wow, I am overwhelmed. Thank you both of you (mockingbirdhillmom & Jaqueline) for your responses – you were so spot on and described things so similarly to how I have experienced things, – I am blown away!! On a side tracked note, I have NEVER had someone else describe their experience of writing in greeting cards the way I experience it, until now. I don’t feel guilty about much, but the failure in the card department (especially the people that mean a lot to me), fills me with anxiety and dread. It’s not all the time, sometimes I master getting it all together – writing something meaningful in the card, selecting a good, thoughtfull card, mailing it in time. But there are enough “dropped balls” in that department, that I would say it is one of the most stressful things in my life. Even your description of the struggle of what to write, other than a banal “happy birthday” etc. was what I experience. It seems weird that writing in a card would cause so much stress – so thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing that. I am starting to have a much better understanding of myself since stumbling cross Tania’s blog over a year ago now and then seeking a diagnosis (which I received 2 weeks ago).

    I wonder if part of my problem is my desire/need to make sense of things? In so doing, I peel back the layers until I find the foundation pieces of truth, and then I work my way back, putting the pieces into a logical order. I try to share the logic with others, because once I have figured out some of the logic, everything starts to make sense. I try to stay open minded and not bombastic or intransigent, however, when someone tries to suggest something that is illogical, I will very patiently try to get them to understand why I think they need to view things from another perspective. There is no point in rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    I am 45 and am finally starting to feel a level of self confidence that I have never felt before. I have always had to make sense of things in order to feel peaceful or calm, so from a very young age I tended to be a bit of a maverick. Not because I was trying to be difficult, but because I had to figure it out, if what others told me as “truth” did not make sense. In my early 20’s at work, I was literally rocketed into positions of leadership because I was able to envision the way forward for new ways of thinking and organizing in my field (arts & cultural). I often felt like an imposter because while the way forward seemed so clear to me, most of my colleagues were smarter, more articulate, much older and had a better grasp on the corporate history and lingo of my field. Also I am not great at public speaking. I am much better in discussions one-on-one. In fact, it is during discussions that I can often think my way through problems most creatively. As a result of not being the most effective communicator of my ideas, and yet being valued by those around me enough, that I have always been trusted and deferred to for the “big picture” ideas – its taken me a long time to believe in myself as a leader capable of envisioning the future direction of an organization/ or field.

    I should probably sign off here as it is late. Thank you again for your really helpful responses.

  217. Tania, I found your blog last night and this description has changed my life. I had ‘investigated’ the possibility that i had aspergers before but it never really fit. When i read your description so much of it describes me. I shared the link with my husband and he says he now understands me. I am 50 and have never been diagnosed with any condition or syndrome. I feel reborn today. Thank you so much.

  218. I turned 27 in November, and… for a while my mother had been thinking that I have Asperger’s. However, I scoffed at that and so did a few others, including mental health professionals, because I am exceptionally good at one on one social interactions. This whole profile describes me so perfectly it’s scary. Ironically, almost, the field I thought I would find a career in two or three years ago was Occupational Therapy, I have a BA in Sociology, a minor in Spanish, and graduated in 2009. Occupational Therapy was not for me because programs will not accommodate or understand difficulties that students with Asperger’s will have because my public program which was an extremely competitive Master’s program had a one size fits all approach. Also, the field completely exhausted me and would likely be something I would have found myself stuck in. I am now looking for something more suitable, let’s hope I have a career when I hit 30!

  219. so I copied the article into word then highlight the stuff I related to and then posted the highlight stuff into this post, basically I can relate to a lot of this stuff it so me. Never been diagnosed but looking into it. It would explain a lot of stuff. Talk to my therapist and she mentioned getting a psychological assessment if this is true I cant believe Ive been in and out of psych programs for 8 years and no one picked this up. Got labelled with borderline personality disorder and I think that lead people to stigmatize me and not look at anything else.

    • Sadly that happens to a lot of women – falsely labelled with borderline personality disorder, then so called “professionals” just shoehorn all their behaviours to try and force them to fit the bpd label – even normal healthy behaviours get twisted to try and fit the label. And if you dare question the diagnosis? they try to twist that and say your “denial” just “proves” you have it.

  220. Hi, do you have an email, where people may write you privately? In addition, what tips do you have for females with this for work/career situations. Often in adult work situations there still exist the cliques, gossip and other things that one normally associates with grade school and successfully dealing with those issues can affect one’s career.

      • I would love to speak with you privately, as well, and pick your brain a little more. This list has come as such a shock to me, I’m not exactly sure what to do about pursing a diagnosis (or not) and moving forward with this new information. I am who I am and will always been, diagnosis or not but this new information is a bit of surprise (and a little freeing, I suppose).

  221. I have never officially been diagnosed with Aspergers but I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, etc. over the years. Reading this was amazing. My middle son was diagnosed with Aspergers last April and I’m pretty sure my father and brother are most-likely undiagnosed Aspies, as well. Occasionally, when I’m being quirky or oversensitive or unable to cope with change, etc., my husband will joke, “Are you sure YOU don’t have Aspergers?” So I decided to research it and this list was SOOO me! I look forward to reading your book and seeing if I can start to make sense of who I am.

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  223. Omg…im 27 this year…diagnosed with adhd in 1994. Was put on medications for it and I discontinued in 2003 as I was in high school and felt embarrassed about to other pupils. But I was in denial and conviced myself and my doctor I was ready to ween off and after a few last sessions I had him and including myself in a slight was…I was “normal” …worst thing ever…I started to fail at everything but turnt a blind eye and conviced myself its that I was ok and normal. .. ( knew I wasnt as near as focused when I was on my adhd meds) ….long story short…..I have been failing at everything till this day…I have nooo friends as I have kept cancelling due that I have anxiety and depression…oh and I think I was crazy and after reading this I know im a empath, sometimes psychic, see spirits and very intuitive! !! I can read people pretty will and know how they feeling…but this happens occasion ly as when im so stress I just wont me time…I could go bloody on but I have like 90% of every symptom and believe me or not I think my intuition psychic whatever finially brought me here…it was by accident and so the world that I never seen or heard of aspeianwomen and thought I need to click on the website…started bloody crying because most symptoms are bloody dead on…but once I saw that cant find herself a identity :( im stuck on what career path to go on…and I actually thought I had lost my mind with seeing spirits and freakishly right intuition and not know why…thought I was crazy! ….hiw the hell iam I going to explain this tomy doctor. ….im.not coping now and im scare that I wont get time to myself to figure me bloody out…:(

  224. Whew! So many symptoms and characteristics listed. I think one could take this list and diagnose almost anyone with a pulse as being Asperger. My confidence in the ability of psychologists to effectively deal with people who are different is zero at this point. My efforts as an Asberger female are focused on breaking down the wall of prejudice and myth imposed on individuals who have a type of brain processing that is literal and detailed – scientific. Intelligent females take a beating in our hyper social culture. Society imposes dire restrictions on asocial individuals.

  225. I’ve never heard anything like this! It’s 100% me!!!!! I’m headed for a major meltdown! As I see myself and my oddness too closely now. And have a hard time accepting the people around me that are showing there care and empathizing with me. It freaks
    Me out!
    I hurt to much and if they really see me as hurt as I really they will decide it’s too much and too long and they will leave me as everyone I have ever known has. I cannot take it again!!!!!
    The thought of people seeing this makes me sooo embarrassed. I’d rather not live that let anyone see how I feel. I want to kill myself but I believe it’s selfish and will hurt the people around me. I want to work and get out and have a normal life but I’m not sure I can. I’m too scared! I’m too hurt, I’m too afraid. I try yoga and breathing and positive thinking and message and the gym. My posture. But I can’t hold it in anymore. As much as I try. I can’t let it go because it’s too much. People just don’t get that!!!!!

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  227. thank you tania for all this effort. My self-assessment puts you 100% in line with these traits. It is actually rather scary that I went an entire lifetime (now 67) exhibiting a screaming need for but lack of qualified medical input and appropriate support — what about all those women around me having similar experiences? Keep up the good work and don’t give up now!

    I would like to add another dimension (work for another day Tania). I do not know whether this is a result or a cause effect, but I also had a traumatic birth brain injury, a life-changing electrocution at age 3, numerous high fevers, multiple TBI’s, and multiple toxic chemical exposures (which has now caught up with me in the form of cancers) and high-level systemic infections with mysterious bugs, super-bugs, and gram-negative bugs (same class as HIV, Lyme) which also meant too much exposure to too many “experimental” and harmful drugs. Of course, the label of PTSD was stuck on me long before it surfaced for the Vietnam generation. The co-existence of so many other neuro deficits and medical crises clouded the picture, and this diversion into psychiatry is no doubt a major reason why my AS was never recognized. Still, this leads me to my next point of information…..

    Many of us older people on the spectrum also have PTSD and TBI’s. I think the total number is way more than is realized by researchers like yourself, partly because by the time we are older, we have learned to live with it and perhaps never got diagnosed in the first place. Think about this: the recent awareness campaign going on about children’s sports alone, portends a large population of TBI sufferers down the road. No one ever considered childhood head-hitting as an example of my TBI’s, and there was spousal abuse, drunk drivers, and simply the number of years makes the incidences add up. People just do not like talking about this – not the sufferers or the perpetrators. My own son unknowingly damaged his own infant by rocking her to sleep with vigorous exercise ball bouncing. The problem of TBI has to figure in to the symptomology AS women exhibit and in my case, as I went down your list, I realized maybe 1/2 of those listed, had always been attributed to brain injury. I realize this is impossible to separate out, but at least it could help to calculate the reason why so many of the symptoms I experience are so extreme. I already know one of my TBI’s damaged my amygdala, who is to say where the line is? What does this mean to the formation and progression of AS symptoms when we also know dementia is accelerated in TBI victims as they age. This accelerated cognitive decline process going on in me right now could also contribute to the progression of cancer in my body. I am in the process of trying to get a pitifully inadequate Medicare system to help me nail it all down before the next round of cuts for the poorest Medicare-Medicaid recipients (me) kicks in later on this year.

    Well, this is really a long way around a sincere thank you for choosing this area of study for your academic research. I think you have a viable concept for what could be a meaningful lifetime ahead of you. Have you seen the latest report on the relationship between meaning and happiness? What us high functioning AS women already know is this: happiness is an outcropping of one’s ability to make meaning. All we have to do is focus on the realization that our “deficits” are actually our assets. My greatest asset has always been finding meaning in the most painful reality, and bringing that meaning to others produces happiness. It seems you have already realized this. Keep up the good work!

  228. Hello: Gina Rex again. Stopped by to read comments: such similar experiences of being lost for years but now feeling like refuges, escapees, boat people, space travelers, aliens washed up on the shore of a new continent called Asperger Land. I was diagnosed a few months ago after living most of my life diagnosed as bipolar. I’ve experienced the psychiatry – psychology wonderland of general incompetence for 46 years, and not to discourage anyone from getting help, but please don’t believe everything your are told just because someone with an office and diploma says it’s so. Be wary! There is a boatload of non-scientific speculation out there with “researchers” claiming to have definitively established what Aspergers is. A lot of self-promotion is going on, with studies being tested in the media for popularity rather than scientific merit.

    Hard scientists (physics, math, chemistry) have traditionally joked that psychology is not a science: after accessing hundreds of psychology papers and articles over the last few months, I wholeheartedly agree, and yet the general public tend to believe that it is science. NO.

  229. I know a guy with Asperger’s and he has a freshness and brilliance to his creativity which I love and which is very much in line with my own creative style. I likewise find socialising and small talk incredibly difficult if there is no visible productive end in sight, I tend to act out with anger when I sense hypocrisy, lies or creepiness. I did wonder about Aspergers a while ago but someone said I couldn’t possibly have it as I tended not to remember lists of things (although I did as a child). To be honest I hesitate to diagnose myself and tell myself I do not have a problem, since many others often feel the same way and it is probably a reaction to the intrusive over communication of modern society. I am nearly 40, I look at my middle-aged peers and they all seem weird and patronizing to me, so I have little inclination to socialize with any of them, I just don’t have time for it. Believe me I have been through years of wondering what was “wrong” with me and the answer is:nothing. That goes for a number of other people too, and is quite hard for them to accept, I think.

  230. I’m 39, lesbian, see myself as 50/50 boy/girl, I’m an artist (self-taught musician, arranger, singer), they say “you could be a star” and I say “I just can’t do what it takes to”, I’m a loner but a decent pretender when I’m in the right mood, socially I’m quite disfunctional, I was a “strange” child, with peculiar hobbies for my age and strange behaviours… I have many obsessions and things that I feel like I can’t do, what’s perfectly tolerable for others is intolerable for me, what others find amusing I find stupid/ boring, I hate noisy celebrations (New Year’s Eve, Carnaval…), I hate money and I never pay (my gf pays instead of me, she has access to my bank account, she’s actually in charge of all my financial needs), I can’t do paperworks and fill forms, I never understand where to go and what to do in public offices, airports, health centers etc., I don’t recognize places, cities and streets and I don’t drive because it’s too hard for me), I have rules for myself that I stick to rigidly, I am a vegan, work out hard, seek perfection in myself and always try to educate others, when I’m in public places I don’t touch anything, when I’m in crowded places I hate having people close to me and I think about their breath and germs, I always need fresh air, hate it when people close windows… I’m a leader, people tend to follow me, things must be done my way, I can’t accept authority, can’t take orders/advice, had trouble all my life in school and work, I’m a bridge burner in friendships, friendships tipically start like infatuations and end bitterly, I’m not afraid of changes because I always hope that they’ll make me a different person and that I will overcome my issues so I need frequent fresh starts (I’ll change city, country, work, look…).
    I’m starting to think that my twin brother and I are both Aspies, and that my father was one. I’m going to do what it takes to get a diagnosis for me. I’ve been different all my life, so gifted and yet so lacking, I was always the black ship and that’s why I always dress in black. When I came across this Asperger thing just two days ago, I cried… for the first time I find myself and everything makes sense, it’s hard to face it but that’s so me… okay, the journey has just started. I hope that where I live somebody will be able to diagnose me.

    • Your post really touched me. I won’t respond to everything you said because it is just so much and I can relate to it all. Finding this community has saved me. I finally can begin to understand myself after a lifetime of wandering and self doubt. For the first time in my life, I feel like I know who I am. Not sure where I’m going with that, but it’s a start. After the euphoria I felt when I finally understood, I’ve come to realize it’s a lonely path. But that’s nothing new, really. It’s always been a lonely path. At least I don’t feel like I’m crazy anymore.

  231. Hi Tania,
    Wow…your article has answered so many questions about me; my social difficulties, work problems, even my lifelong ‘tic’ of picking at my pinky finger. How do go about getting a formal diagnosis?

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  233. Thank you so very very much for writing this article. I’ve always felt that I didn’t fit in, didn’t feel drawn to the same interests as others, and didn’t “click” with other people. I had read the usual explanations of the symptoms of Asperger’s, and it didn’t seem to fit me at all. Then I read you list, and all but four of the items had me in tears of relief, because FINALLY someone understood. Finally things that had confused and frustrated me all my life made sense.

    I made an appointment with a psychiatrist a week after I read this article, and had my appointment today. It’s official: I’m a Aspie who’s learnt to compensate and mimic so well that I show very few signs outwardly anymore at all, even when I’m wilting on the inside. I finally know that it isn’t that I’m not trying hard enough. It’s that I’m different, and the only reason I’ve fitted in so well is because I’ve tried so goddamn hard all these years. I’m now so proud of everything I’ve managed to cope with and accomplish on my own, rather than being ashamed that I can’t or won’t do things others will.

    I’m so relieved to finally understand why I see and experience the world differently, and why I don’t want the same things the rest of my family do. I may be different, but I prefer to think of it as special. And now, if either of my nieces or nephews show the same signs I did, I’ll be able to understand them and help them the way I wish I was helped when I was a kid.

    Again, thank you so much. I’m not sure you realise how many people you’ve not only helped by doing this, but possibly saved.

  234. I read this post a few months ago and was really in tune with it. I know many girls who are so like the descriptions you posted. I wish science, the public, and big name autism charities would stop ignoring the females with autism. They think, feel, and look just like any other female, and I honestly do not believe there are four boys with autism for every girl. That notion is subsequent to the neglect of autistic females.

  235. Hi Tania,
    I’m just shy of my 49 birthday. I’ve always known I was sort of ‘wired’ differently while able to manage, cope, grow and develope a rather ‘normal’ appearing life. As a mother of 4, I recognized my children were also wired differently. About 5 years ago my oldest daughter’s father was diagnosed with Aspergers. I just found your article because I had suggested to my daughter the potential for her to also have these challenges in life due to aspergers. She took an online test which with her defended answers came up negative. She is 24 and today she goes to her first 12 step group for Meth addiction. Coincidences are interesting because in my own counseling the focus yesterday was about vulnerability. Coping skills seem to be about reducing those and I see from your list that I have learned to develop many! (this morning that seems like an understatement) I just didn’t expect to find this whole page to almost fit me to a tee. Thing is, taking on a persona which I present to the world has equaled mostly success in many areas in my life. I’ve no interest in groups still but did find a shared interest during raising my kids with other moms/parents. Thank you so much. I’m going to print this out for my daughter to consider. And also to take to my counselor as my main question is wether my true ‘me’ inside can ever grow up, so to speak. People sometimes see I have the demeanor of a 12 year old, or I go places with my daughter and they think I’m 24 like her. Once a store clerk thought my grown son was my boyfriend. My daughter is the most ‘chamelian’ personality I have ever met too. In exploring my smoking habbit, I’d never before considered that the self soothing could mainly be linked to overwhelm from visual/audio sensitivity which has only been an issue since my nervous system crashed with CFS/ME symptoms which at the root was just discovered to be MTHFR. I found I don’t ‘fit in’ even with spiritual groups where I’ve learned so much from a teacher with a Zen Buddhist background, although he doesn’t directly teach that. I try to connect with groups as humanly speaking its presented as healthy but when I find I don’t fit in I’m able to accept that but still explore my part in that to understand more rather than to blame others.

  236. Hello, I fit a lot of the things above, and have been told by a psychologist that it seems I have autism. I live in leeds, what is the easiest way I could go talk to someone, n maybe get a diagnosis if needed?
    Cheers ellie

    • Hello: There is much more to the abuse question than sexual harassment. Many of the so-called symptoms of Asperger’s, are nothing more than social judgments on the part of the social majority – trying to blame Asperger’s for any “general” behavior is unfair and ridiculous.

      Society is a pyramid – and all social people are fighting for status. It is assumed that males automatically have higher status than any female, and part of their social position is secured by abusing women. Words are more often used instead of physical abuse in “civilized” situations like work. When I began working as a young woman, in an office made up exclusively by men, I was utterly shocked: these were nice family guys who degraded their wives and women in general. Being Asperger’s actually was a plus: I simply did not put up with any of it, and they quickly backed off. I think the mistake women make is this: the social pyramid exists and equality is not a part of the social system – in fact, equality is a lie: you’re not going to change most males; you have to react quickly and emphatically. It’s still a male-controlled world and will remain for the foreseeable future. All the PC education, training men to be ‘sensitive,’ law suits, etc. will not work – these just reinforce the male view that women are weak and need someone to fight for them.

      The entire social environment went against my Asperger temperament and values, so I took a big financial loss and left the corporate nightmare and started working for myself. We all have choices to make – and that requires being realistic.

  237. When suffering from social phobia (the after effects of gender harassment in an all male work place) I joined an online forum for it. I was not the only person to notice just how many of us there had an unusual sexuality -everything from asexuality to potential transgenderism. I ‘knew’ someone there who confessed to being a cross dresser, and I suspect he is an early candidate for transexuality.

    Like me he admitted to being able to relate to the opposite gender within one self -I felt I could think and feel very much like a man. Yet I don’t identify as homosexual or as transgendered.

    One thing I wonder is whether certain American Indian tribes are more sophisticated and intelligent in their acceptance and understanding of both in between genders as well as potentially ‘aspergers’ or autism it self.

    I think I remember reading how they considered certain in between genders (sometimes called “two spirits”) as gifted. I think sometimes they may have been seen as shaman.

    Overall, I feel very world weary. …Bad luck has for sure wreaked havoc, since early sexual harassment in my working life (which happened for more than a few reasons) has impacted my working life for over a decade afterwards. I may have always had anxiety problems, but I find that these do tend to go away once I have gotten used to a set of people. I have never gotten a true foot hold -and much of the reason is because of early bullying. When a young person misses out on work experience it affects their income and working life significantly -but I was also bullied and developed social anxiety disorder/PTSD as a result (and I am just not adaptive enough to get over daily harassment -and yet most women would suffer a lot from this).

    I feel a lot of delayed anger because, whilst I had immaturity and was prejudiced, I did not behave in a way that warranted such viciousness -nor such callous, deliberate indifference from the manager -who, despite the clear laws, pretty much wanted me to be bullied. And, in keeping with it all, I showed more generosity and integrity than that manager or that harasser ever did. -But then I was the abused not the abuser.

    So, although I consider my self as likely having Aspergers, perhaps somewhat subclinical, I do not believe that the so called neurotypical person is necessarily more decent. Deceptive and better at hiding, yes. I also noticed that I was derisively labelled as “a lesbian” by this manager – again, based on a all too narrowminded appraisal of gender and inability to empathise with the feminine point of view. The harasser, I actually suspect of having asperger tendencies, including both a dire lack of empathy for a female opinion that did not fit his small framework for how women “should be” in relation to his excessively fragile and sensitive ego; as well as being less socially adept than most people and/or preferring fewer socializing- he also hung out with a Chinese person and I suspect that generally speaking, Asian people show more “asperger’s” like traits (or introversion) -just as Western American societies are unfairly biased towards extroversion. He also, tellingly, reminds me of my father -who I believe lacked empathy for a female opposing point of view.

    I guess what I am saying is is that I dislike how difference can be unfairly targeted -just as I was targeted for being seen to defy gender role stereotypes (it was perfectly acceptable for a man to have some prejudice, but as a female, I was not allowed to have any such imperfection and was targeted daily, culminating in a subtle threat of sexual assault).

    I also believe that some narrowminded social ineptitude is tolerated or acceptable, when the majority of neurotypical individuals relate well to that same narrowminded social ineptitude. …Or, that the world is based on small differences.
    The great unfairness of which is that some people fall through the cracks whilst others, no different or more deserving, are spared or humored.

    It is enough to make a person throw their hands up in bewilderment and shock at just how meaningless and random everything ultimately is. And how dumb and full of illusions or BS people are the majority of the time.

  238. This is like reading a list of my life. I’m 21, and I was diagnosed with Asperger’s almost two years ago, although I grew up knowing it was a definite possibility, as my father and brother also have Asperger’s. My brother presented with more of the classic symptoms, and tended to have outbursts rather than turning inward as I did, so he was diagnosed as a young child and I was left without the diagnosis that could have made a huge difference in my early development and education. It’s great to see a list like this that can help people find that diagnosis sooner.
    I still have difficulty describing how Asperger’s impacts my life to other people (especially clinicians who are treating me for mental illness and don’t have much knowledge of Asperger’s), so this list will be really helpful for me! I had also never heard of Irlen Syndrome before, but it perfectly describes the problems I have with vision and light sensitivity.
    Thank you so, so much for the work that you do, and for helping me to feel less alone. <3
    Kinnery

  239. Oh shit. I am 31 years old and I JUST TODAY figured out most of these symptoms describe me to a T. Huh. How about that.

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  241. Thank you so very much for your work in this field. I am 60 and a retired psychologist. It is only in the last month I am putting it together that I may have Asperger’s (which of course is no longer the correct diagnosis given the DSM-V, but for discussion sake I will use the word). Reading your article has me in tears as does the comments. I can relate to pretty much all the points you mention. I worked for the military and the fit was terrible for me, thus I ended up medically retiring because my body eventually crashed in that environment. I kept trying, trying until I nearly killed myself-I didn’t see quitting as an option. I read these characteristics and they make so much sense as to why things might have been difficult for me or I created difficulties for myself without necessarily being aware of the whole picture. The sad part is even if I had known I don’t think in that environment anything would have changed, but maybe I could have exited before I destroyed all my self-efficacy about so many areas of my life that I have been unable to regain even 7 years later. I so wish you practiced in the US. I live in Texas and have gone to a couple therapists here to talk about my concerns as of late about possibly having Asperger’s and they look very quizzically at me. And just want to say I’m depressed and move on. To me that hurts even more because it’s not getting at the deeper issue. I live alone with my 17 year old daughter who has been diagnosed with ADHD, but I think there must be more and we are having very intense relational difficulties. Breaks my heart. Well this forum is not a therapy session, so I’ll stop. Once again thank you for expanding the field. Maybe there is not help out there for me, but hopefully other women will find the help they need much sooner do they don’t feel so lost and alone in life wondering what they are doing so wrong when all they ever wanted to do was the right thing every time. Once we have the theory down about women and Asperger’s , I pray there will be some pioneers in treatment. And treatment that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I live on Social Security Disability. Mental HeLth treatment in the US costs way to much, so people quietly suffer and we (all people) miss out on some wonderful gifts of those who are suffering because they cannot get the help they need.

    • Dear Christina, thank-you for your comments. I am just now starting to write (along with my co-author Dr. Jennifer Imig Huffman, who lives and practices in Illinois) a book entitled,
      “Assessment of Autism Spectrum and Asperger’s in Females: Comprehensive diagnostics and treatment planning for girls and women with autism spectrum conditions across the lifespan”. Hopefully this will be the beginning of addressing the issues, life events and experiences you went through. I am also starting a directory of professionals and support groups around the world. I do know of specialists in New York, Illinois and some other areas. Maybe this would assist you? Kind Regards, Tania

      • Tania, thank you for your response. Your new book on assessment sounds wonderful. I live in Texas, quite far from NY and IL.

      • I am creating a worldwide directory, so hopefully someone in Texas May come forward soon! Or you could see if those people offer online services? It all depends on who the professional is and what their governing body allows them to do.

  242. Hello Tania and everyone else here. On reading your article this evening, I discovered that I may be an Aspienwoman. I had my slight suspicions which is what prompted me to read your article in the first place. I am 39, but look about 25, whilst feeling like a teenager. I seem to have gone down a similar path to several girls here.
    The fist ‘odd’ thing I can remember is that on my first day of school, I felt ‘superior’ the other children there. I felt like I was many years older than them and was trying to look after them as it was their first day and they were only little.
    The first obsession I can remember is with the colour red. I coloured in several Bumper Colouring Books with just red crayons. Once a teacher changed my collage from pure red to multicoloured before putting it on the wall. This lasted until I was about 7, until the ridicule from the other children and the telling off from the teachers made me stop. I was still obsessed with red though, having to be in the Red Team in PE and requesting red shoes up until about the age of 11.
    I remember my first ‘brain fog’ moment at 5, whilst sat at my table in school. I went into another world for a minute or so and found it mentally tiring to bring myself back. It was like this: all the noise merged into muffledness and was replaced by a high pitched sound. My eyes glazed over and I couldn’t stop staring at the world outside the window. I totally lost sense of what I was doing, almost like I had a sudden sense of realisation, but at a the same time, I felt a little anxious because everything felt unreal.
    Anyway, I will compact the rest as this seems a little self indulgent.
    All through school I was disruptive, ‘naughty’, stifled, I struggled with Maths greatly, but had a reading age of 14 when I was 7. I excelled in English, Dance, Music, Performing and was obsessed with maps. I won a scholarship to receive free violin lessons when I was 7 and I was the 2nd fastest girl in my county around the same age.
    I became what I thought was ‘depressed’ around the age of 10. I cried for no reason. I became incredibly self conscious, anxious and found interacting with peers awkward. HIgh School was a waste of time. I went from the top set in the first year to being moved down 4 bands by the second year. All previous school problems magnified and subsequently I ended up attending 3 high schools in all and having to repeat a year.
    I ignored my teachers advice to do A-levels and went to the local technical college to do Performing Arts, I loved everyone. I had some things in common with them, although obviously not everything. I left home at 17, experimented with drugs and became pregnant all in the space of a few months. Consequently, I quit college and ended up in ‘bedsit land’ with a man who wasn’t the child’s father.
    Anyway, resilience is one of my strong qualities and whilst I spent nearly every single night crying over my situation, I slowly managed to pull myself out of it. Two and a half degrees later and having taught for 13 years, I am now In a job similar to some others on here, whilst at the same time finding this ‘normal’ life extremely stressful for all the reasons everyone else has been describing. And now, having cried at your article (something I rarely do as it serves no purpose), I feel like although I have a great job which I am extremely grateful for, there is a part of me that just wants to do what I like.
    I love art, architecture, music, learning new things and am obsessed with keeping fit. I feel like when I do these things, I am so alive. My current life has zapped the life out of me. I feel like I have lost my personality and that because I have ‘played the game’ for so long, I don’t know whether I would have the energy to ever do anything about it. I don’t think a diagnosis would help me, but my self diagnosis has certainly explained my whole life to me. Apologies for the life story.
    Sarah X

    PS: HIstory is repeating itself. My daughter, studying Law in London struggles greatly with organisation – not great in Law – and is the Queen of mimicking to be accepted, to the extent where she has changed her Northern accent to a Southern one.

    • you know, all these stories I keep reading add more to my conviction that the networking and support function is so much more important and impactful than an official diagnosis. I hear myself in every rendition, cry for us all, and have to ask: why can’t society learn how to accept different people better? The same idea continues to come to me: I believe people on the spectrum are here as teachers; some are more ready than others to learn, and the hardest thing for people to do is to look at themselves as they are. This aspie’s focus on self-understanding, self-evaluating, self-correcting, and self-formation makes us better at acceptance than the population as a whole. The world needs all the Aspies it can get.

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  244. Hi Tania,
    Thank you for putting this information out there. I used to date an Aspie and knew some of this information, but not to this extent. This is extremely informative and useful information; my relationship would have benefited greatly from it.

  245. Wow. I had never thought I might be on the Autism spectrum until I read Jen Saunders’ recent blogpost and followed her link to this list. There are bits that don’t fit, but this sounds so much like me. I just always thought I was an introvert and a weirdo! Thank you so much for your work.

    I do have a question, which is in what ways can/does an Aspie diagnosis help women in adult life? Is it just about self-understanding, or are there specific healthy coping mechanisms and routes to letting our superpowers shine that can be learned?

    • Dear life can sparkle, there are many more reasons to seek a formal diagnosis than not and too many to list here. Briefly, knowledge and understanding, understanding your unique profile, learning to manage stress and anxiety, learning what gifts/superpowers one has and how to harness them, learning healthy coping mechanisms and strategies, learning how to manage sensory sensitivities, and much more! All the best! Tania

  246. Do you know of any one in the Halifax NS Canada area or the Boise ID area who does assessments/diagnosis of Asperger. Your article resounded so fully with me I just sat and cried and thought that maybe my 60 year plus years of being labeled unpleasant, awkward, difficult, antisocial etc weren’t true and that really I have Asperger. It would just be nice to know,

  247. Thanks for this list. My son was diagnosed with Asperger only this year. Due to many other problems in my life i attend psychotherapy, but never imagined i can be Aspie too. Yesterday being on phone with my love i was silently crying because of feelings i couldnt understand. I love him so much, but i just cant let out of me these feelings. Something in me just broke and i realised that this could be autistic traits. And section 5 gave the answer “Difficulties communicating her thoughts and feelings, in words, to others, especially if anxious, stressed or upset. Often can type or write her thoughts much better” 100% about me. And many other things too.. What will i do with that, i dont know, first of all i need to help to my son. I am coping quite well with this, i have child, love, friends, succesfull career in science, and so on. But many things that i was always suprised of myself is explained by Asperger syndrome.

  248. I have been left feeling a bit shattered for the last 3 weeks when i found out i was dancing on the autism spectrum with an IQ in the 99th percentile. I have gone in to seeking mode with a vengeance as i feel i have lost what makes me who i am on the inside.
    The info and lists above are great as they help me feel more normal and it explains a hell of a lot to be honest. At first all i saw was another label being attached to me and pushed it away as much as i could as it hurt as i don’t want to be different or stand out.
    I’ve been working with myself and now am starting to see it’s ok and this collection is what makes my story and me well me really (including the anxiety and depression parts)
    Wish i could have know this during my 38 years as it would have helped….however now i know i can go forward stronger and less chameleon like.

  249. I feel like I might be insulting my mental health doctor, but I printed this entire article and highlighted what was relevant to me (which was just about everything – eek) with notes about certain statements. She just isn’t understanding me or wanting to ask the right questions, so I’m hoping this will help a LOT.

    Fingers crossed.

    (I didn’t even know some of these things could be related to my Aspergers. I thought they were normal and everyone did them.)

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  252. My mum showed me this and I felt I really can relate to a lot of the traits however I am slightly worried about the section on university. I am in my late teens but I am confident in what career I would like to pursue. My question is: is dropping out of university and reapplying a common thing? Or are there cases of this not happening?