Writing, writing, writing… training and webinars and videos PART I


For those of you who have not heard from me in a while, I have been quite busy since becoming a paid Autism Ambassador.  Stepping into a more senior role of education involving writing articles, training, presenting and running webinars, seminars and courses is an important way of getting my strengths-based message out there. I am also an invited professional by the International Pediatric and Adolescent ROGD Working Group, working together on a new phenomenon within Autism, but not exclusive to it. As a part of my new roles, I am writing articles, books, doing webinars and courses and live coachings. I have written quite a few articles and delivered webinars as part of this new role.  I’m proud to be working with both of these large organizations and will be moving into a more senior role as an educator and author and reducing my clinical work.  As mental health changes move to a more online and app-friendly world, so will my work.

One-on-one consultations are still available via Skype or Zoom for an hourly rate. Please email Jo at tania@aspiengirl.com

My more recent work is as follows:

Summer 2019 International School Magazine: ‘Pupils with autism are twice as likely to be bullied – what can teachers do?’ I’ve included a link to the digital edition below. My article is on pgs 25-26:


SEN MAGAZINE May 3rd, 2019

Best practice in supporting the learning of girls on the autism spectrum




November 23rd, 2018




Autism in girls can lie hidden




Quantifying and exploring camouflaging in men and women with autism

References to I am AspienWoman


Meng-Chuan Lai 1,2,3, Michael V. Lombardo 2,4,5, Amber N. V. Ruigrok 2 , Bhismadev Chakrabarti 2,5, Bonnie Auyeung 2,6, MRC AIMS Consortium # , Peter Szatmari 1 , Francesca Happé 7 , and Simon Baron-Cohen 2,8


13 April 2016

Autism in Australia: Tania Marshall


Autism in Australia: Tania Marshall


Part I

AspienGirl: Embracing the Strengths of Women with Autism, with Tania Marshall | EDB 51


Part II

Gender & Neurodiversity: Recognizing the Diversity Within the Autism Spectrum, with Tania Marshall | EDB 54


Discover Unique and Amazing Women on the Autism Spectrum


4th Wave Now

Guest post: For teen girls with autistic traits — a plea for watchful waiting





Jeckyll and Hyde or Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome?My Most Open And Vulnerable Blog Post Ever ~ My Journey To An Aspergers Diagnosis


Gender Dysphoria




About the author

Tania Marshall, a psychologist in private practice, is an Autism Ambassador for Education Placement Group, a specialist education recruitment business, and the author of I Am AspienGirl and I am AspienWoman.

globe taniamarshall.com

twitter @TaniaAMarshall


IG: @taniaamarshall

Tania’s YouTube Videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk_kFdaPkv4w0ieOgfR3IvA?view_as=subscriber

Tania’s Vimeo Videos:    https://vimeo.com/taniamarshall

Tania/s Vimeo On Demand

The AspienGIRL website can be found here www.aspiengirl.com

Tania’s website: http://www.taniamarshall.com

Tania’s Amazon Author page can be found here  www.amazon.com/author/taniamarshall

You can also follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AspienGIRL 

Twitter for AspienGirl: https://twitter.com/aspiengirl

Where to find Tania Marshall, Msc., books:








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Other Recommended Readings:

READINGS AND RESOURCES FEMALES WITH ASD Tania Marshall, M, Sc, MAAPI, Autism Ambassador, 2X best selling and Gold meal winning author © 2019

Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism, Diane M. Kennedy and Rebecca S. Banks, the authors of Bright Not Broken, and the contributor, Temple Grandin

• Entire Issue of the Research Journal Autism – 2017, Volume 21(6) o Special issue dedicated to ASD in females

• Kreiser, N.L., & White, S.W. (2014). ASD in females: Are we overstating the gender difference in diagnosis? Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 17, 67-84. o

Excellent theoretical article Books on Topics for Females with ASD

Temple Grandin • Girls With Autism Becoming Women – Heather Wodis

• Girls Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum: What Parents and Professionals Need to Know about the Pre-Teen and Teenage Years – Shana Nichols et al.

• A Guide to Mental Health Issues in Girls and Young Women on the Autism Spectrum: Diagnosis, Intervention and Family Support – Judy Eaton •

I Am Aspiengirl: The Unique Characteristics, Traits and Gifts of Females on the Autism Spectrum – Tania Marshall

• I am AspienWoman: The Unique Characteristics, Traits, and Gifts of Adult Females on the Autism Spectrum (AspienGirl) – Tania Marshall

• Life on the Autism Spectrum – A Guide for Girls and Women – Karen McKibbin

• Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Understanding Life Experiences from Early Childhood to Old Age – Sarah Hendrickx

• Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life – Liane Holliday Willey

• The Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe with Men: The Unwritten Safety Rules No-one is Telling You – Debi Brown

• The Independent Woman’s Handbook for Super Safe Living on the Autistic Spectrum – Robyn Steward First-Person Accounts

Pretending to Be Normal – Liane Holliday Willey

• Asperger’s on the Inside – Michelle Vines •

Everyday Aspergers – Samantha Craft © S. Nichols, 2018

• Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Autism – Jeannie Davide-Rivera

• Odd Girl Out: An Autistic Woman in a Neurotypical World – Laura James

• Working the Double Shift: A Young Woman’s Journey with Autism – Christine Motokane

• Aspies Alone Together: My Story and a Survival Guide for Women Living with Asperger Syndrome – Elaine Day

• Born on the Wrong Planet – Erika Hammerschmidt Books for Parents

• Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum: Overcoming the Challenges and Celebrating the Gifts – Eileen Riley-Hall

• What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew – Autism Women’s Network Inc. Books for Girls

• May I Be Excused, My Brain is Full: Olivia’s Asperger’s Story – Krista Preuss-Goudreault

• I am an Aspie Girl: A book for young girls with autism spectrum conditions – Danuta Bulhak-Paterson

• M is for Autism – The Students of Limpsfield Grange School and Vicky Martin • M in the Middle: Secret Crushes, Mega-Colossal Anxiety and the People’s Republic of Autism – The Students of Limpsfield Grange School and Vicky Martin

• Middle School – The Stuff Nobody Tells You About: A Teenage Girl with ASD Shares Her Experiences – Haley Moss

• Lisa and the Lacemaker: An Asperger Adventure (graphic novel) – Kathy Hoopman Books for Young Women and Women •

• Women From Another Planet?: Our Lives in the Universe of Autism – Jean Kearns Miller

• From Here to Maternity: Pregnancy and Motherhood on the Autism Spectrum – Lana Grant Puberty and Sexuality

• What’s Happening to Ellie?: A book about puberty for girls and young women with autism and related conditions – Kate Reynolds

• The Growing Up Guide for Girls: What Girls on the Autism Spectrum Need to Know! – Davida Hartman

• Taking Care of Myself: A Hygiene, Puberty and Personal Curriculum for Young People with Autism – Mary Wrobel *Taking Care of Myself 2: for Teenagers and Young Adults with ASD

• Sexuality and Research Education for Children and Adolescents with ASD – Davida Hartman


Copyright Tania Marshall, M.Sc. AspienGirl™ 2019

Where are all the females with Autism or Aspergers hiding? Life As a Chameleon Part I



In my two Gold medal award-winning books, I Am AspienGirl and I am AspienWoman, I discuss the female phenotype and how it presents differently from males. One of the areas I have been able to research and ask of my clients is, “how have you managed to hide your Autism all this time?” Other questions I ask them include:

I have worked with clients for over 20 years who have told me how they hide or not hide their Autism. Some autistic individuals can and some cannot or do not choose too. These behaviors are referred to as masking, camouflaging, assimilation, compensation, coping strategies, passing for normal, pretending to be normal or being a chameleon. In order to assist with females and males obtaining an assessment or diagnosis, I am pre-releasing a part of my book to assist professionals in recognizing Autistic females and males by asking the right questions.

The Compensatory mechanisms used by some Autistic people I have met and listened to are complex, even going so far as to use one behavior to cover up another. These questions and behaviors come directly from my professional experience as a psychologist working with individuals with Autism, Giftedness and Social Anxiety. Thank you to all my clients for sharing your stories with me.

The Compensatory Measures Checklist©, Marshall 2017, excerpt from my from my upcoming book. 

Do you feel different than your peers? When was the first time you ever felt different?

What exactly makes you feel different from your peers?

What is your experience of social interactions with your peers like?

Do you copy or mimic your peers (copy their voice or accent, words, and language or slang, hand and/or body gestures). Do you laugh when they laugh even when you don’t understand why you are laughing?

Do you take on a persona of always smiling and pleasing everybody?

Do you make better versions of yourself that based on peers in school, over time? How do you do that?

Have you ever read books on etiquette, social skills, facial expressions, microexpressions? Have you practiced them in front of a mirror? Have you practiced making more or less of a facial expression? In particular, have you purposefully changed you smile or facial expression to look “more normal”? Have you studied anatomy books, in particular, the facial muscle that matches with each facial expression (for example, knowing that a certain muscle is used in smiling and practicing using that muscle?

Have you ever used Botox or a similar cosmetic ingredient to make your face appear more natural, less angry or furrowed/worried?

Do you watch YouTube videos on social skills, self-improvement, and human etiquette in order to fit in?

Has a peer ever make a comment about your gait or other forms of behavior? If so, did you actively practice a behavior until you were able to make it look like your peers do when they behave that way? (for example, being told he/she had a ‘funny’ run and then purposefully practicing the running over and over again until it was perfect).

Have you watched movies to learn how to act with your peers? (for e.g, learn that you need to have a big smile and say hello to everyone because that is how people will like you).

Do you force yourself to make eye contact, look somewhere else on a persons face, look at their mouth or look at them for too long? Do you find yourself staring at people?

Do you hide some body language or facial expressions to fit in? (for e.g., sitting on your hands, twirling your hair instead of stimming or cracking your knuckles)

Do you spend the majority of your time thinking about what to say, how to act or behave, and/or analyzing social situations? Do you analyze what you could or should have said in a prior or past social situation?

Do you pretend to be shy and quiet and therefore avoid the “social drama” of having to navigate the social world of your peers?

Do you have a permanent smile on your face even though you are miserable inside?

Do others say you look angry when you feel happy or another emotion inside?

Have you or do you taken.take on the persona of a book, television, movie character or a celebrity?

Do you attend social situations, but don’t really want to (saying you will go to a party to get in with the “cool kids”). Do you do their homework for them to fit in? Do you do the groups work for the group to gaon social equity?

Do you write in your journal what you think you should say or do or not say or not do and practice them over and over, so you can use them in school? Do you have a list of sayings, slang, words from songs, movies or social media that you use to be “cool” or try to fit in?

Have you developed a special interest that is not yours but simply to “fit in” but you actually found that interest boring (for e.g, pretending to be in love with a certain pop star but you couldn’t care less about them)?

Do you participate in social events, parties, clubs that you do not want to in order to gain social currency? Do you use the skills you have learned from YouTube, social media, books, movies when you are at these social events? Do you find that you have to begrudgingly attend these events?

Do you use alcohol or drugs as a social lubricant? Does the use of drugs or alcohol allow you to be more social and/or have less anxiety?


Do you utilize social media (Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Reddit) to learn social nuances, how to interact socially, or how to hide your social awkwardness?

Do you act in varying ways depending on the social situation that you are in? Do others comment on or notice that you act differently depending on who you are with, the social context or environment?

Do you pretend to like the interests of whomever you are with at the time, however you know inwardly that you don’t like them? Do you make yourself look like you are interested in what your peers are saying, doing, how they are behaving, interested in their interests?

Have you ever had a girlfriend/boyfriend that you inwardly said to yourself, “Why am I with this person? I don’t even like them”.

Do you find yourself involved in friendships and/or relationships and wonder in your head why you are with them because you don’t really like them?

Do you feel there are times when you can be yourself? Do you feel you always have to be “someone else” to be in this world?

Is your headspace mostly filled with continual thoughts about what you should do next, do better, who to pretend to be like?

Do you have a habit of giving gifts to make and keep friends?

Has your family or another person supported you with social skills (enrolled you in drama, etiquette or social skills classes or a modeling school to learn deportment)?

How long can you socialize for before feeling tired?

Are there times where you actively find excuses not to attend events, parties, assembly at school, group activities? Do you often say “yes” to a social event and then make up a last-minute excuse as to why you cannot attend?

Do you purposefully go to the library, become a prefect, girl scout leader, homecoming queen, cheerleader, debate team leader (so you can give the directions or debate rather than socialize)?. Do you try to become the teacher’s helper at lunchtimes, hide in the bathroom, walk the hallways alone, join lunchtime clubs, wag school, so that you do not have to socialize with your peers?

Do you or are you reading or studying psychology, sociology, taking microexpressions and facial recognition training to learn to better yourself in terms of understanding people and socializing. Do you read social skills books, watch social skills training on YouTube or another social media platform?

Have you learned from your studies and them practiced how to ask people questions, listening skills and/or other social skills?

Are you overly aware of other people looking at you or pacing attention on you? Do you dislike attention? Do you feel like you spend the majority of your mental and physical energy on how you interact with others?

Do you feel like an ‘imposter’ in social situations?

To be continued in Part 2 and many more examples coming 

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I Am AspienGirl

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I Am AspienWoman

AspienWoman April Elit Award1Behind the Mask 3DCoverJune2015

The Compensatory Measures Checklist©, Marshall 2017, excerpt from my from my upcoming book. Thank you.

Copyright© Tania A. Marshall, www,aspiengirl.com, http://www.taniamarshall.com


Just in! Videos: FAQ style, Educational, Instructional, Interviews and more.


Just in! Videos, FAQ’s style and more

Tania has been requested multiple times to share her work over her lengthy career, give her opinion or support a person or organization. She is now sharing her work via Video FAQ’s or videos, from various individuals or organizations and conferences including the Secret Agent Society, Different Brains, Asperger Argentina’s first and second Symposium and conference on females on the Autism Spectrum, and Asperger Sevilla’s (Spain) recent Innagural Women on the Spectrum Conference and others. These videos can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk_kFdaPkv4w0ieOgfR3IvA

If you like a video or feel it would help someone, please share the video, like the video, subscribe to Tania’s channel and hit the bell to be notified when the next video is coming out. You can leave your FAQ in the comments section below and Tania will read and select a question to answer in the future. Tania will answer the video and it will be uploaded to YouTube. Click on a picture below and you will be taken to her YouTube page, where you can learn more from FAQ’s, conference, interviews and more.

Tania also has her videos on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/neurodiversityacademy













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More Videos coming here soon. Don’t forget if you have an FAQ, leave it in the comments section here or better yet on YouTube and you may see your question being answered by Tania in the future. And always remember to ‘Be Your Own Superhero’.

To contact Tania for in-person or Skype/Zoom fee-based impressions assessments, consultations, interviews, translations, problem-solving sessions and more, please email tania@aspiengirl.com


Professional Interview Series: Professor Uta Frith


This is the first in a series of interviewing professionals in the area of Autism, Aspergers and related conditions. It is with great honour that I was given the opportunity to interview Professor Uta Frith.


Tania: Welcome Professor Frith and thank-you for agreeing to an interview with me. I am honoured to be interviewing a world expert on autism spectrum conditions. What attracted you to make a career in cognitive neuroscience and Autism?

Professor Frith: In the 1960s, when I started out as a PhD student, autism was hardly known and cognitive neuroscience did not exist. I had now idea that my career would take me deep into these mysterious directions. I suppose it was the very mysteriousness of autistic children, which attracted me to study them.

I was interested in development because I had been very impressed by lectures on Piaget by Ernst Boesch, Professor of Psychology at my University, Saarbrücken. Also at that University I was able to attend amazing Ward Rounds where different psychiatric cases were presented. This experience made me very curious about the mind and what was normal and what abnormal. I naively hoped that studying children at young ages might bring me closer to origin of the mind.

I was very fortunate to train in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, a happening place in the 1960s, the place where Behaviour Therapy was pioneered. I intended to find a way to do research from the very beginning: It was very clear to me that we were distressingly ignorant about the mind, and that research was a necessity rather than a diversion from clinical work. Fortunately, I was able to get to get to know cases of autistic children at the Maudsley Hospital under the guidance of Michael Rutter, who was then already widely respected as an authority on autism. His PhD student, Lawrence Bartak, an Australian, and I were contemporaries and often worked side by side in the very first established special schools for autistic children. We felt that the teachers were doing a fantastic job. The children seemed remarkably similar to us, no matter what school they went to. But we often wondered what to make of those few autistic children who stood out from the others because they were not just clever but they had excellent verbal abilities. How did they fit into the picture?


My mentors were the experimental psychologists Neil O’Connor, an Australian, born in Kalgoorlie, and Beate Hermelin, born in Berlin. They were pioneers of the psychological study of mental retardation. They were among the first psychologists in the world to ask whether autistic children differed in their cognitive abilities from those of other children with intellectual disabilities and whether neurophysiological measures, such as EEG, would tell us about their brain function. They were way ahead of their time. Their work opened amazing possibilities to understand the nature of autism by teasing apart abilities and disabilities.

 By good fortune, Lorna Wing worked next door in the Social Psychiatry Unit. As the mother of an autistic girl, Susan, she had unique knowledge of autism and already at that time questioned Kanner’s rather narrow diagnostic criteria. She was convinced it was possible to distinguish in even the most intellectually disabled children those who had the ability for reciprocal social interaction and those who did not. I myself was not sure I could do this, and was more confident when the children had some language and showed some islets of ability. Here really was a form of autism that I could instantly recognise, a rare form as it turned out.

 The neuroscience of autism only started in the 1990s when it had just become feasible to use scanners to look at the signs of neural activity (as reflected in blood flow) in the living thinking brain. Here the collaboration with my husband, Chris Frith, was the vital link. Without his know-how and his expertise I would never have dared to enter this exciting field.

Tania: You received your PhD in 1968. Since then, can you please comment on the changes and the explosion of knowledge and research in the field of Autism?

Professor Frith: Knowledge about autism has accumulated steadily. A number of TV programmes were shown that portrayed a rather bleak view of autism, but they increased awareness. When the film “Rainman” came out in 1988, it was probably the first time that autism had been presented in an adult, and also presented as not all-bleak. It also made people aware of some very positive qualities. I don’t mean the savant skills here, although they do create permanent sense of wonder, but I am thinking of the lovely emotional naivety of Rainman that contrasted with the devious machinations of his non-autistic brother.

One of the unstoppable changes in the conception of autism was the recognition of atypical cases and cases that were not learning disabled. The term autism spectrum and the term Asperger syndrome had been introduced by Lorna Wing, who long wanted to push apart the narrow categories of autism. At the same time, Michael Rutter and Susan Folstein pushed apart these categories as a result of their famous twin studies. In these studies it became clear that when a narrow definition applied to one identical twin, the other twin very likely had a milder form of autism too. In fact they found that there was a 90% concordance in identical twins, if the criteria of autism were broadened. This was ground-breaking work not only because it broadened the category of autism, but even more importantly, it established that there was a genetic origin. Only then could a psychogenic origin be ruled out decisively – i.e. the idea that autism was a withdrawal resulting from profound rejection. This pernicious myth was at last eroded.  

 One of the biggest changes in the awareness of autism, in professionals and the general public alike, was the rise of Asperger Syndrome. I edited a book in 1991, which contained my annotated translation of Hans Asperger’s original paper. It was surprising to me how eagerly it was received. One of the unanticipated consequences was that the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome became fashionable, so that a number of people with successful lives began to diagnose themselves and even famous figures from history. But being a geek and being socially inept are not sufficient. I think there is a big difference between having an autism spectrum condition and being a shy, unconventional and obsessive.

 The new DSM-V has abolished the diagnosis Asperger syndrome. It still needs to be seen what the consequences will be, but I tend to think this is the right move. The label served its purpose in raising awareness of the autism spectrum. There is after all general agreement that it is a variant of autism and part of a very heterogeneous collection of autistic conditions. The difficult task ahead now is to see whether it is possible to identify subgroups hopefully, in terms of neuro-cognitive phenotypes.



Tania: Please tell us about Theory of Mind, the theory that you developed along with Alan Leslie and Simon Baron-Cohen, in the 1980’s. How do the brains of people with Autism and people without Autism differ in terms of Theory of Mind?

Professor Frith: I think the history of Theory of Mind research needs a historian. I feel rather too involved and will not be able to give an unbiased account. In my view, the first part of the story is to do with two Austrian psychologists, Josef Perner and Heinz Wimmer, who devised an ingenious test. This test could show whether a child attributed a belief to another person, i.e. an invisible mental state, and whether the child predicted what another person would do next on the basis of the belief. It had to be a false belief rather than a true belief. In the case of a true belief you can’t tell whether the other person acts on the basis of a real physical state of affairs or an invisible mental state of affairs, because there is no difference. But in the case of false belief there is.

The next part of the story brings in Simon Baron-Cohen who had started his PhD at the time and who did the first critical experiments. Alan Leslie acted as co-supervisor and had already been thinking about the importance of invisible mental states, such as ‘pretense’ in the make-believe play of very young children. This was very exciting to me as I knew from a study by Lorna Wing and Judy Gould that autistic children showed very poor pretend play compared to non-autistic but intellectually disabled children.

 Now I must mention Tony Attwood, who did his PhD at the same time, but quite independently, and conducted a different and most interesting study. He asked how well – if at all – intellectually disabled autistic and non-autistic adolescents use nonverbal gestures. The results were very surprising, since at the time most people expected that autistic children would not use gestures in any meaningful way. But they fitted in beautifully with the Theory of Mind hypothesis: The intellectually disabled autistic children were well able to use gestures instrumentally, i.e. to get something, but much less able to use gestures expressively, i.e. to communicate an inner feeling state.

 The story heated up as we did the first PET studies, with trepidation, and with a number of eminent collaborators.  Obviously only very able and very brave adult volunteers took part. One of them was Heinz Wimmer. The autistic adults came from the clinic of Christopher Gillberg and Stefan Ehlers in Gothenburg and were scanned at the Hammersmith Hospital in London. Here we compared what happened in the brain when people were reading Theory of mind stories compared to Physical stories, invented by another of my now famous PhD students, Francesca Happé. When PET was replaced by MRI scanners, many more studies were carried out, and many different tests were used, frequently invented by Francesca Happé. For example, cartoons that either depicted jokes that required a mental state attribution compared to jokes that did not. Perhaps most successfully, we contrasted short movies where animated triangles interacted with each other. In some of the movies the viewer can’t help attributing mental states to the triangles, but in others, where the triangles move randomly, such ‘mentalising’ is not spontaneously evoked.

 Many labs all over the world have used neuroscience methods to study Theory of mind in the brain, in autistic and non-autistic people. It is still very surprising to me that one particular network of brain regions comes out again and again as being primarily involved. This network reliably encompasses regions of the anterior medial prefrontal cortex and the superior temporal sulcus at the temporo-parietal region; but there are also other but seemingly more variable regions involved.

Tania: Please tell us about your current ideas and theories on Autism today, in 2013?

Professor Frith: I continue to be fascinated by autism and by theories that try to explain the core features. I believe that the Theory of Mind hypothesis has had to be updated, in such a way that we distinguish between unconscious and conscious mentalising. I now believe that it is the unconscious type of mentalizing that is somehow failing in autism, but not the conscious type.

 Here is the problem: Why do able autistic adults who have learned to mentalize and pass all known Theory of Mind tasks, nevertheless still show the sort of interaction and communication problems in everyday life, the very problems that are supposed to be due to poor mentalizing ability. Do they not have real mentalizing ability, or is the theory wrong?

 A study that I did with Sarah White (my last PhD student), Atsushi Senju and Victoria Southgate, a few years ago, tried to answer this question. In this study we used anticipatory eye gaze to assess unconscious mentalizing, and this  distinguished autistic from non-autistic participants. Neurotypical individuals anticipated in their eye gaze where a character would look for a hidden object on the basis of the character’s mental state. But there was no such anticipation in the autistic adults. So we can reason as follows: in everyday life fast interactions are the norm, and here the unconscious form of mentalizing matters more than the conscious form. However, there clearly are advantages to having conscious metalizing – what precisely are these advantages? New research is needed.  

 Perhaps the most surprising part of the story of Theory of Mind is that such a complex and high-level cognitive ability as mentalizing, i.e. “attributing hypothetical mental states to others and predicting what they are going to do next”, is actually quite basic and has a signature in the brain.

Tania: I am very interested in the female phenotype of Autism. Could you please tell us your thoughts on the gender differences between males and females with Autism? Clinical anecdotal evidence suggests that females are not being diagnosed until much later in life or misdiagnosed with other disorders. Could you comment on this please?

Professor Frith: I believe this question has at last attracted enough attention so that interesting papers are now appearing that are trying to provide some answers.

 The gender difference in autism has fascinated me for a long time, but I never got a chance to study it. My favourite hypothesis for long has been that there is a special protective factor in being female and a risk factor in being male. This goes with the finding that in most neurodevelopmental disorders there is an excess of males. There are a greater number of boys who have dyslexia, or conduct disorder, or attention deficits.

I wish there was more evidence as to the way autism is expressed in the behaviour of females. There is an idea that girls are more likely to conform and more likely to be compliant. I don’t know whether this is the case, or simply an expectation that is part of the stereotype of being female. In either case, affected girls would less often be considered in need of clinical help. They can ‘pass for normal’ as we know from the gifted women who lucidly write about their autism.

Tania: Please share with us what work you are currently involved in?

Professor Frith: I retired in 2006 and have no longer a research group or students. So what I am doing is not work.

At Aarhus University I am fostering a highly inclusive autism network. This is to provide a forum for discussion involving people with autism, parents, teachers, clinicians and researchers from neuroscience, epidemiology, psychiatry, brain pathology, anthropology and so on. I am hoping to facilitate research by bringing together people from these different backgrounds, who bring a refreshing perspective, and can offer new ways of answering persistent questions.

 I am still writing papers with colleagues, some based on work done some time ago, but fewer and more slowly, which gives me rather more pleasure. I have to confess that sometimes I am a ‘free rider’, that is a co-author who does far less work than the others. I am still very interested to read about new research and I am particularly happy if I see publications by my wonderful former students and colleagues, who are vigorously advancing the field.

Apart from this I have other interests too, for example, promoting women in science, thinking about how neuroscience might provide some tools and some insights to improve education.   

Tania: Could you please comment on the research related to brain imaging and Autism? What are your thoughts on Temple Grandin’s brain imaging results?

Professor Frith: I loved being involved in brain imaging studies. It was exciting, but we were still very much at the beginning of the development of the method, and we did all studies with rather small numbers of participants. Things have changed a lot: the techniques have improved and we can now trust them to be safe also for children.

 Still, brain imaging results are only as good as the experimental design that is used. More often than not, brain imaging studies are difficult to interpret because the statistical analyses of brain images is very complex and error prone.  The main misunderstanding is that the blobs you see on a brain are actual signs of nervous activity. This is not the case. The blobs are depictions of statistical differences and it is hard to get one’s head around this. Furthermore, the activity in nerve cells cannot be seen directly, all we see is increases in blood flow. The rationale is that the more active the nerves are the more oxygen they need, hence the more blood is flowing in their direction.

 Just like behavioural studies, brain imaging studies rely on pooling together data from many trials and from groups of people, basically to remove noise in the data and thus make them more reliable.

 This leads me to mention another misunderstanding: You can’t take one single person’s scan and tell from this whether they are autistic. This is true even when the scan is done in the manner of an X-ray, that is, they were just lying still in the scanner and you take beautiful photographs of the anatomy of the brain. With our present techniques you can discover if there are grossly deviant features, such as tumours or injuries. This is not the norm in the case of autistic brains. But there are subtle differences when you superimpose data from many brains on top of each other to compute reliable averages. Many such studies now exist, and they always report differences in lots of places, grey matter, white matter, cortical regions, subcortical regions and so on. But we don’t know what the differences mean. 

The Brain image of Temple Grandin’s brain does not look like that of other autistic people. It does not like the brain of a neurotypical person either. There are so many differences that it is difficult to name them all, but these differences are very difficult to interpret. Temple Grandin during her whole life has built up a number of important compensatory strategies, and these leave their imprint in her brain. If we had an image from her when she was younger it would likely look different from now.

 Incidentally, most images of autistic people look perfectly normal to the naked eye. Some brains are particularly large, but then some neurotypical brains can be large too.


Tania: I hear you have become Dame Uta Frith. Congratulations and a well deserved title for you. For those of us here in Australia, could you please comment on the process of gaining the title of Dame and how that came about?

Professor Frith: This was a most unexpected and amazing experience, something that never ever crossed my mind. I have no idea how it came about as the process is shrouded in secrecy. Amazingly, some kind people must have believed in me and proposed me and never claimed the credit. So I do not know to whom I should show my gratitude. I have retained my German citizenship since I would have had to give it up to obtain a British passport. This did not seem right to me as my accent immediately reveals that I am German, even after 50 years of living in London. This means that my DBE is honorary. I can put the letters after my name, and I am immensely proud to be able to do this, but I should not be called “Dame Uta”, you know, just as Bob Geldof should not be called “Sir Bob”.  I received the insignia from David Willetts, Minister of Science, in a special and very nice ceremony on 31st January, where I was able to invite some of my family and friends. This was also my mother’s birthday, which I thought was a wonderful coincidence. There are only few occasions when ‘decorations can be worn’, but I did wear mine recently at a special Guest Night at Newnham College in Cambridge where I am an Honorary Fellow.


Tania Marshall©. 2013. Interview Professional Series. All rights reserved. Duplication in whole or part is explicitly forbidden. Thank you.

The Autistic Female and Camouflaging/Masking: Constructing MY Face, Part I

Tania was one of the first psychologists in the world to explicitly detail the Autistic female profile. Her blog made international headlines in 2013. Her two award winning and best selling books are regularly in the Top 100 in the Autism and Parenting Children with Disabilities categories on Amazon.com

Tania has assessed, diagnosed and worked with thousands of Autistic/neurodivergent individuals of all genders, from 18 months to 80 years of age, over her lengthy career. This group come from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds and countries. She now trains professionals in her work, specifically in relation to assessment and diagnosis of NeuroDivergent individuals, sharing what she has learnt over her 30 year career. She works mainly with the twice-exceptional (2e) population, the ones that are most likely to be missed, including the ‘lost generations’ and individuals who are missed due to Camouflaging. These individuals usually typically have an IQ of 130 or above. Tania specialises in camouflaging and wrote about this in her 2013 blog here. Tania herself is neurodivergent, more specifically Twice-Exceptional.

Most professionals are not aware or trained in camouflaging. Training in camouflaging is helpful in understanding what to look for or observe in clinical practice. Many individuals attending therapy, assessment, other professional appointments or involved in the criminal justice system actively camouflage and often report not wanting their therapist/professional to see ‘underneath the mask’. Some are completely unaware that they are engaging in camouflaging while others believe they camouflage really well, however to the observer, they report that ‘something is not right’. Masking, assimilation and compensation are often used, regardless of whether or not the individual is aware of using them. Only a minority of trained observers are aware when individuals are using camouflaging, often misinterpreting or misunderstanding these strategies. To be clear, masking is one category of Camouflaging. social camouflaging is, in part, related to a late diagnosis. A late diagnosis is considered after the child starts school.

This is part 1 of an on-going series on camouflaging, in particular facial affect. We all camouflage with our faces, to some degree and for a variety of reasons. some masking is required to function in society and yes, all people mask.

However, it is to the extent and to the degree that one has to engage in this, that makes the difference. Some people have to learn to match their facial expression with the way they feel. It does not come naturally to them. Many people that I have worked with have reported repetitively studying and practicing facial expressions using the associated facial muscle(s), in order to fit in, to come across a certain way to others and/or blend in. Unfortunately, this can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Facial affect can be challenging for the observer to interpret, leading to confusion at best, and serious ramifications or consequences, at its’ worst. This series aims to demystify camouflaging with the intent that this may assist observers (who may be in the educational, forensic, family unit, workplace, relationship areas) to understand what camouflaging is, who engages in camouflaging, why individuals engage in it, how individuals learn to do it, the circumstances in which individuals are most likely to engage in camouflaging, and how camouflaging is related to late diagnosis.

First off, we will start with facial affect. One reason I routinely request that photographs are included in my assessments is due to the multiple non-verbal clues that can be seen in historical infant, toddler, childhood, teenage and adult photos. One of those clues has to do with the topic of facial affect. One facial affect clue is “putting on my smile”. A professional can only discern this if they have studied and are familiar with the core universal facial expressions that individuals express, regardless of age, gender, culture, language and/or country. For more information on universal facial expressions, go to Dr Paul Ekman’s research. Once you have learnt the universal facial expressions (taken the trainings and studied the FACS manual), it becomes easier to see unnatural or compound/blended facial expressions, including the red flag micro-expression signs for deception, in real time.

The most common facial expressions I have seen over my career are what are known as blended and/or compounded facial expressions including the signs for deception. Compounded facial expression are ones that are constructed by combining basic component categories to create new facial expressions. For example, happily surprised and angrily surprised are two distinct compound emotion categories. A fear smile is commonly seen in individuals with a history of trauma. The fear can be seen in the eyes with the smile showing happiness or what appears to be happiness. If a fearful and/or anxious smile is seen in a photo, it is important to ask a question about the context of the photo. This is a clue to question about social anxiety or trauma.

One common example I see in childhood photos is the ‘smile’. There are eighteen different kinds of smiles, none of which are deceptive or falsified. The others conceal less than happy facial affect. In a blend, two or more emotions are experienced at once and registered within the same facial expression. Any emotion can blend with any other emotion. It is these blended facial expressions that can lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Any misinterpretation may have real-world consequences.


In the above photo, there are multiple early signs of Camouflaging visible. To the trained eye, these signs are obvious, however these signs are often missed by people and most professionals. These signs persist throughout a persons lifetime and can cause multiple painful social interactions and misinterpretations/misunderstandings, over the course of a persons lifetime. The slight ‘grimace’ causes confusion to the observer. What do you see? What does this face tell you? What does it not tell you? What do you think she is feeling? What do you think other observers might think she is feeling? How might this be interpreted or misinterpreted?

For obvious reasons, I am unable to supply photographs from my 30 year career, however there are a plethora of photographs on-line that give clues of camouflaging when it comes to compound or unnatural/blended facial affect or expressions. This is a future blog.

The eyes and the mouth reveal many clues as to what a person is really feeling. First of all, the eyes and the mouth MUST match for each type of emotion shown on the face. When they do match, the observer ‘feels’ a genuineness. Second, the smile engages certain muscles and in natural or genuine smiles, goes in an upward direction. A natural smile shows the upper teeth only, in most cases. The eyes are literally the window to the soul and tell explicitly how someone is feeling. You cannot lie about your emotions with your eyes. In a natural smile, the eyes ‘twinkle’ in a way that can be difficult for someone to explain, but you see and feel it when you see it. The eyes display the ‘Duchenne’ marker (DM). This is when the contraction of the orbicularis ocul (DM) lifts the cheeks, pushing the skin that surrounds the eye towards the eye socket which narrows the eye opening and wrinkles the skin around the eyes, causing ‘crows’ feet’. The left and right side of the smile should be symmetrical. For those confused by the many different types of blended smiles and micro-expressions, this is one of many examples that may help.

One example of a a natural genuine smile vs. a blended facial expression below (unrelated to the above image).

A commonly confusing facial expression is distinctly seen in individuals who enjoy being angry and/or are addicted to being angry. The enjoyable-anger blend will show a narrowing of the lips and at times also a raising of the upper lip as well as the felt smile (aka a sadistic smile, a cruel smile or an ‘evil’ smile.) It is known as ‘duping delight’ (check out OJ Simpson). In the enjoyable-contempt expression, the felt smile merges with the tightening of one or both lip corners. With contempt you will see the raising of the upper lip on one side. This will tell you how they truly feel about the person they are talking about. If you want to know how people are really feeling about you or other people, study micro-expressions. Studying both FACS and micro expressions is a social defence strategy for those where this area of social-communication is not be natural to them. Study in this area is useful for all humans and After study and practice you will begin to “see” what people are really thinking, feeling and trying to say. This strategy will help you to be less likely to be taken advantage of.

I have added another example below. What is going on here? How is this child feeling? What feeling is she showing on her face? Waht do you think her internal dialogue in? Do they match?Anything else going on?

For an in-depth understanding of how each emotion is expressed anatomically, Dr. Paul Ekman’s Facial Action Coding System (FACS) manual is an invaluable training resource for the professionals and the gold standard for learning how to interpret individual actions of the face. Tania completed both the advanced micro-expression trainings and FACS training and this is a core part of her assessment and profiling work.








2013-2021 copyright. All enquiries to aspiengirl@gmail.com Only serious/genuine enquiries will be answered

2019 Aspect Autism Australia nomination in the advancement category

Thank you #AutismSpectAust Autism Australia for my 4th #autism #nomination grateful to be #acknowledged for my books, videos, MasterClass, articles & blog. I have no idea who nominated me so I hope that you’re reading this as I want to say thank you #SENMAGAZINE #ukedchat #epg #teachin #gdmorewood #DGardnerLawyer #AspienEducation #Transgendertrd #LisaLittman1 #rivernight #LisaMarchiano #4th_WaveNow

Moving Towards a Profile 0f Borderline Personality Disorder and Autism

This is a psychological profile, much like my other profiles. It’s not meant as a post to explain why it happens or the trauma behind it, it is just focused solely on the profile, much like my moving towards a female profile of autism profile. Discussions of underlying trauma and the heterogeneity would be another completely different post.

This topic is a part of my MasterClass Train the trainer on the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism in females.

Part one

For years, I have been asked to comment on my work with individuals that have both Autism and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is one of my most frequently asked questions. These requests have come from parents, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, university professors, parents, family members and partners. Yes, there is an overlap between autistic spectrum conditions and BPD. It is important to note that I am not talking about children. BPD and autism can be mistaken for one or the other they can also be misdiagnosed as they have met any similar traits or someone can be diagnosed with autism and miss the borderline personality disorder which cannot be diagnosed until over 18.

It is not difficult to observe a person who is both Autistic and has Borderline to someone who has worked in the area for some time. that’s not to say that it’s a complex area to work in. There are distinguished elevated traits that define both disorders versus one or the other. They are very obvious traits in those with the profile of a person who has both Autism and BPD. Some people have been misdiagnosed, yes, however there is a profile emerging of individuals who have both Autistic traits and BPD traits. This profile is a complex one, but is noted by many professionals, colleagues and parents who work in this area.

The profile consists of traits from both Autism and BPD, and as such, can be challenging to manage, as reported by parents, professionals, doctors, social workers, the prison system, partners, family members and friends. This profile will be updated on a regular basis.

Differences noted are an elevation of the core areas that cause difficulty for individuals on the Autism Spectrum, including social communication, emotional immaturity and dysregulation, self-harm and suicidal ideation, impulsivity, and a dramatic personality type. A person with Autism is not as histrionic as someone with both Autism and BPD. A person who has both is often observed with the following typical traits:

Complete avoidance of communication as a means of problem solving. Utilizing immature social skills such as telling on others, reporting them to someone else is common.

The sudden Burning of bridges in a much more dramatic and impulsive way than an Autistic person. This has been interpreted by former partners and family members as ‘ghosting’, blocking or reporting the person on social media. It is the suddenness and lack of appropriate explanation that is reported to be very frustrating.

Misunderstanding someone’s good intentions for them in a malevolent way when that is not the intention.

Often impulsively report (or tell on) others for something that the person did not actually do.

Putting words in others people mouths causes the family member, partner or professional to repeatedly say, “I did not say that” or “stop putting words in my mouth” and is reported to be one of the most problematic frustrations by a family member.

Are extremely rigid about how others should behave, however they themselves do not behave in a similar fashion. If they believe someone is not behaving how they think the person should be, they will tell on them, report them or otherwise be self-righteous in policing other people behaviors.

Are often led by their intense emotions, to the extent that they cannot think properly, and act purely from their own emotions and point of view. This presents itself as disallowing a conversation to take place, jumping to conclusions, catastrophizing, putting words in other peoples mouth and ignoring boundaries or misinterpreting someone setting appropriate boundaries.

When someone initiates a boundary (for e.g., “Please dont have anything to do with that person, they are bad news”), the boundary, which was actually meant to help the person, is received and taken as a threat or harassment. The parent or professional has noticed that the person does not understand boundaries and lacks them, hence they try to teach them about boundaries and report finding it next to impossible to get the chance to speak about the importance of boundaries because the person immediately accuses the boundary initiator as harassing them, when that is actually the farthest from the truth. This can often get the Autistic Borderline into considerable trouble with law enforcement, once law enforcement find out the details of what really happened. Multiple parents have reported that when they impose a boundary, it is taken as harassment. In the mind of the Borderline Autistic, they do not understand boundaries and interpret them as harassment. Sometimes it has been reported that they are genuinely surprised when the Police show up at their door to arrest them. Parents have reported being in utter frustration that they “cannot even have a normal conversation about a topic”.

Are often emotionally and socially the emotional age of a child, despite being an adult chronologically. They will react as if they were a child.

They are often are serial complainers and at times may also stalk others or obsess over people, usually a celebrity and at times, act on that. This leads to them getting in trouble with the law for stalking or being an accomplice to stalking. Often their lack of insight and dramatic and dysfunctional social communication deficits, lead them into trouble, due to their use of childish complaints, threats, and inability to have a conversation or resolve a conflict. In other words, parents report that it is almost impossible to have a conversation with them. They report their adult child as behaving more like a child that their age, often not allowing the other person to speak, putting words in their parents mouths (often one of the most frustrating traits for a parent) and obsessing and stalking people. Some examples of this may be following a person, driving by their house, following them on the Internet or social media, loitering near their homes and/or assisting someone else to stalk that person on or off-line. Some have gotten into trouble for not adhering to boundaries between a teacher and a student, usually for sex with a minor.

A simple boundary request is met with a barrage of hostility, accusations and putting words in the person being stalked’ s mouth. This is highly disturbing to the person being stalked and loved ones who only want the best for the Borderline Autistic.

The use of defense mechanism are observed in a very dramatic and erratic fashion. Projection is often used. For e.g,., a person who is asking someone to stop stalking them is not met with any empathy, but rather excuses as to why their behaviors should continue. Zero degrees of empathy may be heard via remarks such as, “well you put yourself on social media and thats is what social media is for, so I am not doing anything wrong’. Or, “there are all kinds of pages on social media. How could I possible know it was your page”.

A Borderline Autistic see the world very differently than someone who is Autistic only. Rational conversations can take place, including the teaching of new skills. The reactions are far less dramatic and often there is little putting words in another’s mouth. There is a noticeable difference in terms of reactions or over-reactions to other people. Most commonly seen is ‘splitting’, either placing them on a pedestal or abuse and discard the person. They think in very black and white, all or nothing thinking, which caused tremendous difficulties in terms of maintaining friendships or relationships.

Sample comversations will be supplied to assist in understanding how a conversation gets derailed and just how difficult it can be to just talk to a Borderline Autistic individual.

Interpersonal reactivity was reported by most people to be the most challenging in terms of trying to maintain a relationship with the person. Reduced empathy was also noted as a difficult challenge for family members followed by reduced interpersonal trust.

Self-harm occurs in the context of BPD via interpersonal conflict and emotional dysregulation and reduced mentalizing, whereas in ASC, self-harm typically results from sensory dysregulation.

This means that different intervention approaches need to occur according to the profile or phenotype of the person.

It is not uncommon for Autistic individuals to have developed narcissistic traits as a mean of coping with their undiagnosed Autism. The earlier the intervention, the better the prognosis. Both people with ASC and BPD are significantly challenged in terms of understanding and responding to emotions and in interpersonal functioning.

BPD patients have elevated autistic traits and a strong drive to systemize, suggesting an overlap between BPD and ASC. However the BPD impairment in interpersonal functioning, poor empathy, problems with trust and intimacy and difficult personality traits, including disinhibition, antagonism, difficulty with altered social cognition and impulsivity is challenging to treat. Parents, family members, friends, partners and professionals agreed that it was these very traits that they found challenging to address (with the purpose of assisting them to have better relationships) with the person in question.

Higher suicidality is observed in patients with co-existing BPD. To many professionals the most obvious difference in BPD and autism is one person wants and craves attention. This attention is dysfunction as it is sought through negativity, being the victim a lack of boundaries and a lack of impulse control.
Any females with ASC don’t want or like attention and in trying to fit in may get into trouble via social naivety.


More traits

Intervention and treatment

The trauma behind borderline personality disorder

More research and References

Baron-Cohen, Simon, Dudas, Robert E. & Locejoy, Chris (Jan., 2001, 13(1) PLoS One. The overlap between autistic spectrum conditions and borderline personality disorder

Chabrol H, Raynal P., Compr Psychiatry. 2018 Apr, 82:141-143. The co-occurrence of autistic traits and borderline personality disorder.

Dell’Osso L, et al. Compr Psychiatry. 2018. May; 83:7-11. Correlates of autistic traits among patients with borderline personality disorder.

Celebrities and Autism/Asperger Syndrome: The unique needs of actors, models, singers, musicians, and high-profile celebrities

During my lengthy career I have had the opportunity to meet many many people. Some of these people that I have met or are currently working with are celebrities. Celebrities on the Spectrun have unique needs and support that are different than a typical person on the spectrum.

There are many themes that have come from working with celebrities who are on the Spectrum, undiagnosed or diagnosed.

Some of these themes, but not all, are as follows and are a sneak peak into my newest book, originally entitled Behind The Mask, and are therefore under copyright.

  1. Fame and Attention

Generally speaking, people on the spectrum do not like attention, do not seek it nor do they like to be looked at. Many supermodels and celebrities on the spectrum have been doing this since they were young children and have developed coping strategies and compensatory mechanisms to deal with the attention. However, when their role changes it may bring certain mental health issues forward. For example, being in a boyband is a lot different than being solo and touring. One can hide behind musical instruments or being a part of a group is very different from being a solo star.

Freedom and privacy is a sacrifice that has been made and often disrupts the celebrity from going outside into the real world. Many become hermits, reporting they dread red carpet events (panic attacks), photo calls, movie promotions and the amount of yelling and noise directed at them, when they have to make appearances. Many reported dreading interviews, taking selfies and using props to hide behind or insist upon structured interviews, needing to know the questions before the interviews take place. Many also stated that they feel an incongruence, and rapidly doing back and forth between allowing their fans to get close to them to wanting to have absolutely nothing to do with them the next day.

  1. The red carpet and movie premieres

Many celebrities report that the red carpet events movie premiers and the after parties are a ‘nightmare’ for them but they understand that they needed to attend. Most has social exhaustion and/or had to drink or do drugs to have a good time. Most of them have reported that they prefer to go home read a book play with their animal or be in solitude. Many celebrities report using alcohol and drugs to help them get through Red carpet events, movie premiers, after parties, award shows and even being on stage singing or acting.

  1. The Paparazzi

The paparazzi is a special kind of animal that celebrities have to deal with. Not only do they have no privacy because of their security and bodyguards, they also have no privacy due to the paparazzi and their long lens cameras. They find this very distressing, especially when a photograph of them ends up on a tabloid or in the news with a fake story.

  1. Privacy

Privacy is something that is taken for granted by people on the spectrum who are not celebrities. For those on the spectrum, celebrities report that they gave up their right to privacy and this is one of the most challenging aspects of their career. They often do not see this as fair and believe it to be an injustice, vehemently protecting their privacy while others see this as a necessary, although very much disliked part of their career. A common thread is the feeling of belonging to everybody else when out in the public due to the attention, fans, media and paparazzi. Some reported that they have been involved with the paparazzi, in terms of taking their camera’s and not wanting the photos published.

  1. Social naivety and being taken advantage of

Many models, celebrities, musicians, dancers, actors and other celebrities on the spectrum have reported been taken advantage of in a variety of ways. Models and supermodels report photographers and agents taking advantage of them sexually. Actresses have reported being taken advantage of to get a role in a film. Sometimes they got that role and sometimes they didn’t, despite being taken advantage of sexually. Female musicians are particularly used and abused by the companies that own them and their producers. Females have reported that produces have sexually abuse them or text them and have had them signed contract without knowing what they were signing. They also reported that their managers ‘stole’ their music.

  1. Perfect Pitch

Many celebrities on the spectrum that I have worked with have Perfect pitch or near relative perfect pitch, which is a rare talent to find. These musicians sometimes have problems with the audition process due to their inability to keep quiet in terms of what they view as injustice. Many times musicians that I’ve worked with have been dropped by their labels or talent shows due to the director saying that they are “too difficult to work with”. Many singers did not believe that the audition process or how a shoe of event words, was unfair. Some of them have lost great opportunities due to having difficulty understanding how the music industry, for example, works.

  1. Dealing with trolls

Celebrities and those with perceived social status are prone to being targeted by Trolls and stalkers. This is particularly difficult for a person on the spectrum due to their high sensitivity, extreme emotions and some of them believing what the trolls say about them. If you have been trolled or you are being trolled, please read this research paper: “Who do you troll and why? And investigation into the relationship between the dark Triad personality is an online trolling behaviours Towards popular and less popular Facebook profiles.”


People that are or have been stalked need to take immediate action. Many celebrities reported experiencing unwanted contact and that despite the stalker being given the message to stop their behaviors, were fixated and obsessive persons. This can cause some people to become paranoid, and rightly so. In is imperative that stalkers are nipped in the bud.

A good support team around you at all times is imperative and this is also difficult and challenging for people on the spectrum because they want solitude and they don’t want people around them. However for safety concerns, it is an unfortunate necessity or it will get much worse. There are a number of ways to go about gaining that solitude via tricking the paparazzi.

Some people on the spectrum have got in trouble due to assaulting the paparazzi, taking their cameras physically or verbally abusing them. This can be understandable, however their behaviors can lead, at times, to celebrities getting in trouble with the law.

  1. Dealing with mental health issues, depression, anxiety and suicide

Many celebrities have reported that break ups, events, movie premiers and the paparazzi have caused them anxiety attacks, panic attacks and mental health issues. Some celebrities have resorted to the use of alcohol and drugs to manage their mental health issues.

  1. Dealing with the “rag mags”.

Celebrities have reported that one of the biggest problems for them is seeing themselves in the rag mags and reading stories about their lives that are untrue. Their enlarged sense of justice then goes off and this will inducing them a meltdown, unable to cope with the accepted attention that is a normal part of celebrities lives. There is little they can do about it but sue the magazine, if they choose to. They also reported finding it difficult and distressful due to not knowing what the outcome will be in the future. They also reported that they worry about what others will think of them due to the story about them being in the magazine and the lack of truth to it.

  1. Hiding their Autism/Aspergers

Many people on the spectrum have to hide there autism or Asperger’s syndrome label, if they are diagnosed. To some degree, eccentricity is valued in places like Hollywood but ‘autistic’ traits are not, according to the celebrities I have interviewed.

  1. Misinterpretation of non verbal body language, communication and vice versa.

Many celebrities spoke about having a support person to assist them with the more challenging aspects of their career.

  1. Impostor syndrome.

Typically celebrities report that they have a hard time being their complete self in castings or auditions due to stress and worry about the result and whether they get the job or not. More often than not, they spoke to me about feeling like an ‘imposter’.

  1. Alcohol and drugs

Alcohol and drugs are a common problem for high profile Asperger/Autistic individuals. This is usually as a way of regulating emotions, alleviating social anxiety, and coping with living life as a celebrity. Drugs are readily available and often free for celebrities. Some celebrities reported that they were routinely given drugs by their managers.

  1. Control

The companies that own and control them are a major stressor for individuals on the Spectrum. Many have reported being gagged, abused and/or intimidated. Many reported that they were told what to do or not what to do, what to wear or not to wear, right down to their hair, facial hair, tattoos and who to date or not date, as these factors influence their image to their fans. Inequality in terms of being paid less, being given less opportunities than their male cohorts, not being listened to, not being allowed to speak and/or being taken advantage of sexually.

  1. Body Image

Suggestions and expectations for plastic surgery and weight are rife including nose reconstruction, breast implants, butt implants, cheek implants, different coloured contact lenses, hair extensions and/or make up. Anorexia and other eating disorders were also discussed. Some people on the Spectrum found the makeup and costume dressing stressful, as it involves many people touching and being around them.

Support for Celebrities

Celebrities on the Spectrum need a support group and understanding. It is their Autism that enables them to be that amazing singer or actor, a fantastic model or artist, costume designer, screenwriter, director or comedian.

Having a number of supportive and trustworthy people in an celebrity Autistic persons life is paramount.

Having questions to interviews beforehand is very helpful.

Having a support person on the red carpet decreases the anxiety attacks that come as a result of being surrounded by large groups of people screaming at them.

Having a body double to confuse the paparazzi was reported to be very helpful.

Having a support person to assist them with contracts, paperwork, legalities is a must.

Developing a number of strategies and coping mechanisms specific to a celebrity are quite helpful. Those strategies depend on the celebrity, what kind of work they do, how famous they are, what coping strategies they are currently using and defining what hasn’t or does not work.

A positive healthy advocate for the celebrity is imperative. Many celebrities spoke about negative family members and/or managers and/or support persons. They felt that their interests were not protected. It was reported that a major breakdown would ensue after some years of having toxic people in their Iives.

copyright by Tania Marshall 2019


The Dark triad, as spoken about in my Dark Triad Vimeo series, are very dangerous people. There are those that have narcissistic traits and then there are those who have full blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Many of them are in very high places pertaining to work and some have been caught for stalking, sexual abuse or worse.

The trait of smearing is often used by people with Narcissistic traits. If you have ever been mobbed, had your reputation smeared, been gossiped about, online or offline, you are dealing with someone on the Dark Triad. This can include those with Asperger Syndrome and a personality disorder, due to their perceived high sense of justice and a lack of understanding that the situation is none of their business, a lack of understanding of the situation and becoming engaged in smear campaigns against other people. In particular, the love of control is always present.
Narcissist use smear campaigns often. The function of a smear campaign is to give the Narcissist power and control over you. Narcissists keep groups, harems or a group of people who are all unknown to each other out of the need to have their egos stroked, constant validation from the outside world, and for the admiration that the group will give them. This serves to confirm their grandiose sense of self-importance and fulfills their egos. They are often clever chameleons who are also people-pleasers, and use their powers of ‘morphing’ into any personality type that will get their needs met. They morph into a variety of different people to get what they want.

RED FLAG AND TIP: Be wary of people who appear to morph or shape-shift suddenly before your eyes into different personas. Why is this a problem? Because this person is not being authentic in their interactions with you and others. If you witness them smearing them, you bet that they will smear you at some point in the future. They usually do this in the ‘discard’ phase. They do it to ensure that other people see you how they want them to se you, to control the situation and to ensure that you look like the ‘unstable’ person, with them lookin like they are the calm and in control person. The narcissist is very good at getting empaths, highly sensitive people people-pleasers and socially naive people to believe there stories and lies about you. With you and several other on their side, they have more power and support in making you look bad. While you are now viewed as the unstable one, with a huge following of socially naive, people-pleasing, dependent highly sensitive empaths (who are being used), the smear campaign is them accomplished. Others unquestioningly believe the Narcissist.

First of all you were highly valued and put on a pedestal. Not long after be prepared to be devalued, gossiped about and/or mobbed online, stalked and a vicious smear campaign shall follow. The narcissist relied oh his or her groupie to help him/her in their smear campaign.

For the narcissist, the smear campaign is used to accomplish many things:

1) you are depicted as the abuser or unstable person, instead of him/her. The smear campaign is a deflection of your true and accurate accusations of narcissistic abuse;

2) smearing and gaslighting is an excellent tactic to get you to be provoked into a behavior, usually unproductive, and thus serves as proof of just how unstable or sick you are to others when the narcissist tries to argue his or her depiction of you;

3) keeps you from receiving any accolades, positive support or even recognition ot awards for your word, because the narcissist cannot stand any ‘competition’. They are the ‘expert’ and no-one else is allowed to write, talk, educate about a particular topic

4) they will intentionally leave you out and when you ask them what you did wrong, they will only answer the question by disagreeing with you. Make no mistake, they rarely cam answer your questions, often reverting to a ‘word salad’ of nonsense in their answers

5) Narcissists love to use the ‘hoovering’ technique, a strategy they use in order to pull you back into the trauma and dysfunctionality of the relationship as you (the normal person) struggle to reconcile the rumors, gossip or worse about you, with who you actually really are by speaking out against the Narcissists accusations.

6) Narcissists LOVE control and will do anything to get it and keep it. Some examples are making up fake Facebook pages in your name and tearing you down deliberately, controlling the group by supporting their work and not yours, calling and contacting your co-workers and gossiping about you (all made up), being unwilling to talk to you about why they have been discarded, whether that be in work, at home or within your family structure.

The only way to not get pulled into their dysfunctional tactics are by going full no contact with the Narcissist and his/her groups/cult or harem. Remember if you have a friend that gossips, one day you will be targeted next!

Boundaries are a clear RED FLAG!

Asperger Syndrome and Splitting

Splitting is a term used in psychology and describes the inability of s person to hold opposing thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. Splitting is most often seen when a person sees or views the world in terms of ‘black and white ‘all or nothing.

Splitting is known as a distorted way of thinking in which the person can only think in positive or negative attributes of a person or event and this Type of thinking is not measured, cohesive or rational. It is responsible for many social communication problems.

Splitting is One of many defense mechanisms that People utilise in social relationships. They may or may not have an additional diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Yes there are adults who have both autism and borderline personality disorder. Those who engage in splitting typically view people, events, or even themselves in all or nothing, Black or White terms or thinking. This Defence mechanism allows a person to readily discard things they have assigned as “bad” and to embrace things they consider “good”, even if those things are harmful or bad to them.

Nothing good can come from the defence mechanism of splitting and it significantly interferes with all kinds of relationships and lead to intense and self-destructive behaviors.

The self-destructive behaviours come from a person who ‘splits’ Because they typically frame people or events in terms that are absolute with no middle ground for discussion. They are either an angel or a devil and nothing in between. To put someone on a pedestal seeing them as only good or seeing them as all bad is unfair and illogical. Human beings are a combination of strengths and challenges and Are certainly not perfect.

Individuals who split Speak in terms of either “always” or “never”, view people as either “evil” and “bad” or as “angels” and “perfect”. They see opportunities as having “no risk” or as a “complete con”, When the facts are that it could be nothing further from the truth.

The black-and-white all nothing thinking can be seen in people who view science, history, or news is either a “complete fact” or a “complete lie”. There is no middle ground. this pervasive style of thinking is damaging to others and the person doing the splitting.

In Regards to relationships, when things go wrong the person who splits feels “cheated”, “ruined”, or “screwed”.

People who split can be very challenging to be around or work with because what makes splitting even more confusing is that the persons belief can sometimes be iron-clad or it can shift back-and-forth from one moment to the next, in a very erratic and unpredictable way. The person appears to be very unstable and confusing when they are splitting.

People who engage in splitting are reported to be observed as being overly dramatic or overwrought, especially when declaring things have either “completely fallen apart” or “completely turned around”. Remember they think in extremes. There is no grey or shades of grey.

People who split have also been described as having behaviours such as acting out, without consideration or consequences. Really good examples of this type of behaviour can be seen in relationships where one maybe taken advantage of Or become loyal to a person without knowing them and seeing them as an angel and putting them on that pedestal. When they are warned about The person they have put on a pedestal, they are unable to see the person in a different light given the new information they have received. Their rigid trust in the person being an ‘angel’ or a devil eventually hurts them. Presenting the person with alternate evidence and information does not appear to work presenting the person with alternate evidence and information does not appear to work. For example, presented them with evidence that proves otherwise they Are unable and or unwillingness to take a flexible point of you. They appear to be unable to take in the new information about the person or the relationship. This can cause quite problematic relationships. For example, Not being able to take on information that a person is in trouble with the police And continuing to believe the person is an angel can have serious ramifications for the person. Later They find out that their Angel has been charged with a criminal offence, they still have trouble seeing a different point of view about the person. When this happens the person has trouble with their thought processes in regards to the person they viewed as so angelic. The social naivete is almost always present. Many Individuals on the spectrum have found themselves in this unpleasant type of situation.

At times even when given the proof, they will deny and consciously ignore the facts of reality. Their mode of communication exists of passive-aggression and an indirect expression of hostility. They are well known for projection which is assigning an undesirable emotion to someone else that they themselves have or do. They are well known for using omnipotence, the belief that a certain person possesses superiority in intelligence or power. Another well-known characteristic is emotional hypochondriasis and consists of trying to get others to understand how severe their emotional pain is. Many family members describe the use of projective identification which is denying your own feelings, projecting them onto someone else, and then behaving toward that person in a way that forces them to respond to you with the feelings you projected onto them. This can sound very confusing to someone who hasn’t experienced it and astonishingly accurate for those who have experienced it or live with somebody who engages in splitting.

In terms of helping somebody who has the trait of splitting, modified CBT and DBT can be effective in changing rigid thought processes from Black or White to seeing the shades of grey and understanding that putting someone on a pedestal or down in ‘hell’ is unrealistic, as human beings are not perfect. Individuals who engage in these type of therapies report better social communication, better relationships with other people and better familial relationships.

Autism and personality disorders

caveatThese disorders are all on a Spectrum with mild to severe traits. Manipulation is a tool used by many people but when it’s used with purpose to hurt someone, in all it’s various ways and forms, it is known as a “feature of a personality disorder. Because these disorders are on the spectrum they can present differently in different people at different times and in different contexts.

A frequently asked question I receive from parents regarding their adult daughters or sons is, “Can my adult daughter or son have Autism and a personality disorder at the same time?”

Over the course of my career, I can confidently answer that question – yes. So, how do you know? Research and professionals who work with these individuals. There are some traits that are the same in both disorders, which adds to the confusion, however what I have observed in those that have both are a different presentation of combined traits.

Can those that think they are Autistic actually have a personality disorder too? Yes. Can they overlap? Yes they can.






Together, the presentation is quite complex. Parental descriptions coomonly include “extremely volatility , impulsiveness , irrationality, a lack of respect for their elders or those above them (the social hierarchy) and report the use of high use of manipulation(for e.g. publicly smearing them to other family members, or being highly argumentative with people they disagree, often when they don’t have all the facts. The family is often in disarray.

Living with Autism and a personality disorder


Behaviors indicative of a PD can include but I’m not limited to: only hearing one side of a story, over-reacting and then smearing someone publicly. Autistic individuals generally do not do this because they do not like conflict or confrontation. this is not to say that autistic people do not bully or engage in these behaviours.

However, autistic and personality disordered individuals are well known To the courts police there family members the previous jobs for behaving in inappropriate ways towards other people within those areas, online or in the workplace. Workplaces bosses please co-workers family member and friends report that the individual often does not listeto the other persons point of view.

A large number of clients I have worked with admit this is a problem for them and some appear have no insight into the effects of their actions on others, their co-workers, their bosses or those around them. Both groups have interpersonal issues, however it is the ability to manipulate and smear that separates them. Autistic people have a difficult time with social skills. Personality disordered individuals are also known for poor interpersonal skills. However the difference is “manipulation”.

Extreme demand Avoidance (a type of Autism) one which the person is very defined as intelligent, manipulative and avoids everyday demands. The core feature of their condition is anxiety and the tendency to make up excuses or lies to avoid every day demands.

So, we can see how complex it can be teasing out these disorders from each other. We will concentrate on Autism and personality disorders, not EDA/PDA.

There are a number of research studies that have investigated the prevalence of Autism and a personality disorder, finding them to co-exist.

Those that work or live with individuals that have both report a volatility and manipulativeness that is not seen in Autistic individuals. This is because most Autistic individuals have a social communication disorder as the core feature and find manipulating others very difficult. What about emotional abusers?


What is projection?

Projection is one of the most common defence Mechanisms. see the article below


Personality disorders often have manipulative features, including cruel intentions, depending on the personality disorder. Some clear features or examples include:

Trolling (see ‘Just who are the trolls?: An investigation into Facebook trolls and the dark Triad”, 2018) here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563217305034 and here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321218092_Judgments_of_the_Dark_Triad_based_on_Facebook_Profiles

Engaging in public smear campaigns on social media, blogs, or other platforms.

Publicly naming and smearing organisations or people with the intention of hurting them.

Contacting your friends, family, boss, whomever you are connected to and spread rumours, which in turn has that person also engaging in a smear campaign, without knowing of any of the facts beforehand.

Taking revenge. This can range from making false complaints about you, exaggerating, being a “drama queen” by creating and continuing drama, playing the ‘victim’, leaving out important details of the truth, outright lying, accusing you of being unprofessional, or going to your boss and lying about you, manipulating, and causing complete disruption to their families lives. They often are the ‘victim’ full of made up complaints and have a huge “chip on their shoulder”. Parents complain that they are always blaming others or that they are playing the victim.

Love bombing you. This is the idealisation phase. Paying you excessive amounts of attention, taking up all your time and putting you on a pedestal. You can do no wrong.

Some time late the devaluation stage takes place and the person will be taken off the pedestal and placed at the lowest position. You can do no right.

They report having to continually “put out fires” that their children have created or overdramatised. Largely since the invention of social media, this is where is it all played out now and this playground is fodder for a narcissist, borderline, sociopath or psychopath to troll, disrupt conversations, leave nasty comments on other people’s social media accounts or other platforms. Some can tmake up fake profiles for the purpose of trolling others, leaving fake negative reviews and/or stalking others online. This is because it’s a lot easier to just talk about them on a blog or make up a fake Facebook page about them and/or cyberbully them as keyboard warriors and get away with it.

A personality disordered person is often very unstable and sees in black and white. You are either an Angel or the Devil. Autistic thinking can be rigid too, however whilst they may engage in gossip and fighting online, they rarely engage in public smear campaigns or use a suitcase full of manipulative tactics, often accusing their parents or others of things they themselves are doing. Autistic people are largely socially naive and this leaves them very open to being taken advantage of.

Both groups are solidified that their version is right (usually without having the real facts or hearing the other side of their family members point of view) and this causes them problems in teenage and adult life in work organisations educational institutions and sometimes the place in court system.

Personality disordered people (in particular Male narcissists ) are well known by the court system and judges for repetitively taking their exes through the court system again and again and again. Unsurprisingly, they may end up on a vexatious litigant list.

For individuals involved with personality disordered people, there is a feeling of never knowing where you stand, a description by parents or friend as “walking on eggshells” and ‘splitting, at one time making you out to be higher than God and you can do no wrong and a while later you are then the devil and can do no right. Humans are neither and all of us make mistakes. Putting a human in either place is unfair to that person. No one is perfect.

Clients and parents describe simple facebook interactions that “turn into drama filled public smear campaigns” towards other family members and defriending them “leaving their head spinning”. Itis next to impossible to negotiate or problem solve with them as they have long gone off to tell someone about how they were wronged – yet again and garner and gather their crowd to call you or contact you to abuse you. Family members report they find themselves not knowing how to manage the situation. Work organisations, Human Resources and public relations spend a large majority of their time and resources to managing this type of employee. Typical conversations with a personality disordered person are reported to be circular, are combative and argumentative and I have often heard those all too familiar words, “they are just looking for a fight. I don’t know what to do?”. That is because they are recreating the drama from their formative childhood years and do not know how to act and resolve issues in adult ways. They also rarely understand how unprofessional they look to others.

Non personality disordered people usually are able to look at all sides of a story, do not publicly engage in smear campaigns, troll people, put words in people’s mouths and are generally Non-combative and looking for peace. They are wanting to get along and be peaceful. You should not feel like you have to tippy toe on egg shells around them. They are willing to work out issues in non dramatic and respectful ways. They do not go behind your back and use a carriage device and platform to smear you. They will talk to you reasonably and work out an issue with you with the intention of repairing the relationship and moving on, with both sides happy. Generally, healthy people want to work things out with someone. They like peace and do not like engaging in gossip, back stabbing, covert or overt manipulative or public smearing campaigns.

Public smearing campaigns whether overt or covert are a red flag and the makings of a personality disordered person. Only listening to one side of the story and not the other is personality disordered. Making false and vexatious complaints is personality disordered.

The Dark Triad are most often focused on acquiring status and will walk over anybody to get it. They have a multitude of ways of doing this, far too long to list in this blog however more noticeable narcissistic Behaviors include:

Competing against you in a conversation rather than talking an issue through

Competing to have the most forewords or mentions in a book or the most mentions in an article or publications

Competing to have the the most followers or selfies is narcissism at its finest. The newest “disorder” in 2018 well maybe called “Selfie Syndrome”, due to it’s addictive qualities, interference with daily life and obsession with getting the right picture.

If you think you have an adult child or you know someone who sounds like they have a personality disorder, you will need a lot of help from a mental health professional. It can be very challenging to manage difficult people and some companies are now letting go of these individuals, even if they are good at their job, because their personality disorder creates too much havoc within the organisation.


They usually have a pattern of going from job to job to partner to partner or friend to friend or country to country in a repetitive fashion, leaving chaos behind them and often do not see their role In the pattern and the breakdown of communication because they have the belief that they are right and everybody else is wrong. Public smearing and the mentioning of names is never OK. It is this behavior amongst others that are cause for firing in many organisations, universities, contracts or other positions, and rightly so.



Some families will also be forced to distance themselves from the personality disordered person. Often personality disordered people will smear you without mentioning your name, but they mention enough information that everybody knows who you are talking about. This is known as overt abuse and emotional abuse or domestic violence in families. You may not even be aware of what they are doing and will be the last to know.

It is extremely important to understand what healthy communication and healthy relationships friendships are supposed to be like. If you see any of these Behaviors online or in the real world, they are red flags and you may need to get some help in managing the person and help for yourself or PR for your company.

Choose wisely because you are only as good the the 5 people around you. Who do you want to be? Sometimes that can be a tough choice when it’s a family member or partner.

Always remember it is none of your business what other people think of you. Whilst they may create the drama, don’t go into the jungle with them.

next blog will discuss Current domestic violence laws, police involvement and the court system as it relates to autistic and personality disordered individuals

Thank you to J. For this FAQ.

Next FAQ is “Why do I see so much hate online towards Neurotypicals, professionals or researchers? Why do they send them death threats?

Cybercrime, cyber bullying, personality disorders, Autism, trolling, drama, PhD in manipulation, public smearing campaigns, tall poppy syndrome, hate, death threats, victim blaming.


Autism Ambassador for Education Placement Group and Supply Desk UK and a variety of countries

All over the world teachers face a challenging career teaching students in their classroom. Their class may consist of a variety of students with unique and individual needs. Some of their class will include likely 3-5 students with Autism.

At a minimum, a stunning 60% of teachers in England do not feel they have adequate training to teach children with autism, and this is concerning. Teachers should be provided with adequate training in many specific areas and this is barely addressed in their training to become a teacher.

Some of the common questions I receive from organizations, schools, parents, teachers, principals, support teachers, and teacher aides include but are in no way limited to the following:

What about unstructured time? What unique challenges do students with autism face here and how can school staff help during break and lunchtimes?

Are pupils with autism more likely to be victims of bullying? What can teachers do to counteract this? What signs can teachers look out for that may indicate a child with autism has been bullied?

Students with autism are three times as likely to be excluded from school as pupils with no special educational needs. Why are exclusion and seclusion particularly harmful to those students?  What can school staff do to avoid excluding pupils with autism?

70% of children with autism are educated in mainstream schools in the UK. What other components of mainstream education are harmful to those with autism?

How would you describe the current state of autism awareness among teachers?

How can teachers be better equipped to teach those with autism? What should training include?

What’s the biggest misconception the general public, including teachers, might have about a child with autism?

Why are teachers roles in caring for children with autism so important? What are some of the benefits that well-trained and autism aware teachers can bring to the classroom?

There are so many more questions and education for teachers, principals, support staff, teacher aides that are needed.

I stand proudly with a progressive organization devoted to training their teachers how to teach students on the Autism Spectrum, helping them to reach their full potential and be their best selves. I am proud to be assisting and training UK teachers and EPG teachers in many countries to teach and support students with Autism.

In particular, I am very excited to be training teaching professionals about females (and males) in school and how best to educate and support them, with their learning and mental health. This is a wonderful forward and progressive move on the part of Education Placement Group and Supply Desk.  I applaud them for addressing this important issue and am honored to accept their invitation.


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For more inquiries about consulting with Tania about educating teachers, support teachers, teacher aides, principals, and other staff, please email tania@aspiengirl.com

Tania is also available for diagnoses and assessment, impressions assessments, problem-solving sessions, training educators, law enforcement in person or via Skype or Zoom.


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