ASPERGER SYNDROME IN GIRLS AND WOMEN: KEEPING UP APPEARANCES AND MISSED DIAGNOSIS

Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism In Girls and Women

 

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The female profile of Asperger Syndrome has largely been ignored in research (as compared to male research) and in definitions of Asperger Syndrome. This is due to a strong gender bias, with females known as ‘research orphans’, according to Yale’s Ami Klin. Many girls and women with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism fly under the radar undetected by health professionals or are misdiagnosed, which then leads to years of misdirected treatment and interventions.

The diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome in girls and women is one of the newest areas in Autism research and in clinical/anecdotal experience. Most children referred for a diagnostic assessment for Asperger Syndrome are boys.  However, in very recent times, an influx of females on the Autism Spectrum has caused researchers and clinicians to take notice. Females tend to be missed in the diagnostic process due to the following:

 

  1. They develop the ability to ‘disappear’ in a large group, often being on the perimeter/periphery or the ‘outer; of the group or of the social interaction of the group, the ‘quiet’ one.
  2. They tend to use coping and camouflaging mechanisms, which include imitating, social echolalia and acting to conceal their confusion when playing with others.
  3. They use the strategy of waiting,watching, observing carefully and then participating when they are sure of what to do, by imitating other people and/or what they have done previously. What they have done previously may be inappropriate to the current situation.
  4. They are usually quiet, are often well behaved and polite and thus left alone by teachers, peers or other support staff.
  5. The presenting issue (for example, depression or anxiety or an eating disorder) becomes the focus of the assessment, diagnosis or treatment, and the overall most fitting term (Asperger Syndrome) is missed. Sensory, co-ordination and/or communication difficulties have been ignored.

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Girls with Asperger Syndrome can appear to be neuro-typical (NT) due to their intelligent coping strategies. However, these coping mechanisms and strategies and the amount of energy and effort expended in ‘keeping up appearances’ takes an enormous toll on their energy and emotions. This toll can be extreme and for these girls, leave them ‘at-risk’ for depression, anxiety-related disorders and/or eating disorders as a result. The tiredness, social exhaustion, irritability/anger tend to make them a challenge to live with due to them often :melting down, upon returning home from school.

Female ‘special interests’ are intense and often involve animals, fantasy, literature, celebrities, anime, writing or art. On the Autism Spectrum, girls tend to rigidly adhere to rules and routines, in addition to their own point of view. This lack of perspective taking can cause many difficulties in social, family and later, work relationships.

Girls with Asperger Syndrome, from very young, can be observed using and applying their intelligence (usually high average to genius) to be reflective, and often, obsessive in their thoughts of particular social interactions. Girls appear to be better than boys at masking the traits of autism in social situations,. However, girls are less able to do so in unfamiliar settings. They are often very curious about human behavior, questioning or thinking about social behaviors or unwritten social rules.

About Tania Marshall

Tania is working on her Doctorate/PhD in Autism Studies, specializing in females with Autism. She holds a Masters of Science in Applied Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She regularly provides diagnostic assessments, support and intervention.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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364 thoughts on “ASPERGER SYNDROME IN GIRLS AND WOMEN: KEEPING UP APPEARANCES AND MISSED DIAGNOSIS

  1. I have just read this to my daughter who was diagnosed at age 23 years old now 26 years old and she said this is so true of what has been written above, she said to me it just sounds like her life.

    • Hello Cherylanne and daughter, thank-you for your message. Age 23 is what is referred to as a late diagnosis. Unfortunately, what your daughter feels and talks about is similar to many of the clients I have seen and talk to. I am committed to a “no girl or woman left behind approach”. I believe it is never to late to either self-diagnose or be formally diagnosed. I have personally seen many middle-aged to elderly women wanting to better understand themselves.

      • I agree with you….I always felt this way also. Finally when I turned 50, I realized that I had asperger’s. Suddenly I did not feel alone in the world anymore, because my life experience had a name. Thank you for hleping other people understand their situation too. It does not change the challenge of trying to cope. But it makes one feel better about themsleves, and gives courage to continue on down the path of life.

      • Linda, thank-you for your message and comments. Many women say the best thing about their self-diagnosis or formal diagnosis is self-knowledge and self-understanding. After many years, these adult women are finally able to answer the questions they have been wondering about themselves for years. It’s very healing for them.

      • Hi ShanEda, thank-you for your comments. Yes, 23 is late. I am seeing many women in their 40’s, 50’s self-diagnosing and then wanting a formalized assessment and diagnosis.

      • Would the age of 17 be considered late? Because I’m still in school and soon I will be going off to college/getting a job. I’m not diagnosed yet but I plan on seeing one maybe multiple specialists very soon.

      • Rachel, I stongly believe in early diagnosis and early intervention. I do believe diagnoses should be received as early as possible. Having said that, I also believe it is never too late to receive a formal diagnosis. I have diagnosed individuals from as early as pre-school age up to adults in their sixties. There are nunmerous benefits to receiving a diagnosis at any age. All the best!

      • I am really glad that I found this post as it is an area close to my heart and my work. I am currently completing a research project which aims to investigate females’ abilities to mask or camouflage any difficulties that they may have with social interaction. I have hypothesised that females present very differently to boys on the spectrum in the ways that are described in this post. I would like to contribute towards a richer understanding of ASDs and knowing why currently diagnosis is so heavily skewed towards males. Tania, is it ok with you if I post a link to the advert I have on the National Autistic Society website? I am really keen to recruit participants for my research. You’ve made some really important observations on areas which I am completing some formal research into.

      • Hello Siobhan, thank you for your message and thank-you for asking me. Absolutely, you can. Wow – I know of around 6-7 people like yourself all over the world doing Doctorals in the area of female Aspergers, so this is fantastic! Knowledge explosion over the next 10 years.

      • Hi I have autism an severe learning disability once I stared to become hf an stuff those I was echoic for long time I would act the way my friends did . Still use script to no what to say an stuff when not sure things I was taught .me an my friends we had to be taught every thing I w more severe as a child my parents no now I was howling signs of autism as early as 6 month old .but once I hit my teens it was awfull as I was still language dely but more awear that when my angizty an stuff got worse .but it true becuse I didn’t act out a much as my other friends at the sped school I want to I got buzy work when the teacher didn’t want to del oth me an keep me from havering a meltdown treats the the reward for me .but. Becuse I wasn’t very verble or long time I had some bad things happen to me that came out when getting help later on .there a whole ingestion going on at the school I went to with abuse I still get mad hen someone thinks that I’m mentally retard or talk to be in a condasenceding way ,my friends with aspbgers hav. Much hader time with other understanding them as I Guss there iusse are not as obvious as mine I can’t hide mine even when I think I’m behaving lol like everyone else they can tell I’m diff

      • Me too, I’m 50…I flew under the radar my whole life. I have had anorexia since before puberty (officially diagnosed), tried to go to 7 colleges, more jobs lost or quit than I can count, and I barely spoke until I was 21. I mimicked really good and just became someone else over night. Still, I was able to keep it together for the most part…until now, its all unraveling 😦

      • Hi Tania hope you are all well my daughter is now 27 years old having therapy hope that goes well or we will be bringing her over to you in Australia. She is a talented drummer and can play extremely well, my husband is a professional drummer and has taught her, she also enjoys the outdoors so looking at options ourdoors for her, she is working voluntarily at a garden not far from our home and they sell the produce she enjoys that. well take care have a great week.

      • Thank you so much for all of your work. It feels like such a relief to know what these feelings have been all my life! I just really wish there was somewhere around here that could do this kind of diagnosing. I have been hitting my head against the wall for YEARS!!!!! Anyway….thank you so much for giving us strength.

    • Great information! I am a director of a preschool, and have seen many girls slip through the cracks. We need more research, and better ways for parents to recognize when their kids needs some help.

      • Thank you for your message. Yes, there are unique characteristics prior to Grade One. You are correct that many girls fall through the cracks and are not identified, many times until it’s too late. Take care.

      • Hi Tania

        You mentioned that there are unique characteristic for girls prior to grade 1 in regards to AS. Could you post or direct me to a list of these Characteristics online?
        THANKS

        JULIA

    • Tania my daughter who is now 27 years diagonsed at 23 years is everyday just sitting in her bedroom staring into space so depressed I dont know what to do for her, she has tried really hard to get a job no luck not fitting in, she has tried volunteer work has not worked out they have asked her to go not fitting again, I feel desperate for her, can you guide me if give me any ideas I would really be grateful, the Specialist who diagnosed the Aspergers said a few weeks ago I dont think it is Aspergers and then changed his mind again and said it was this is just insane, she has dropped out of University she said no point nobody will employ me any ideas I would be graetful. thankyou Cheryl

      • Hello,
        I’ve very recently diagnosed myself with aspergers. I’m 21 and dropped out of uni in 2012. I had depression, an eating disorder and still have anxiety.
        The blog post describes my life so accurately that I’m worried I’m a cliché!
        Seeing this comment and the replies to it I’m pretty amazed to find young women with stories so similar to mine; this bit is comforting and things are beginning to make sense.
        When I left university I was in such a dark place that the only thing that helped me was dance classes. I formed, I suppose, a fixation on dance that is another identifier of aspergers. 2 and a bit years later I’m applying to full time dance schools. I’m hesitant to be formally diagnosed in case it makes the application process more difficult.
        Anyway, what I was going to say was that she needs to explore hobbies and find an interest and take it from there. I wish her a huge amount of good luck and I hope she’s doing much better now, as I see that it’s been a year.

    • A friend just posted this on Facebook!
      It describes my 18 yr old daughter she was diagnosed with anorexia, OCD, and social anxiety 2 years ago ! What do I do??

  2. So much that sounds familiar, I have sent a link to my 18 year old daughter, diagnosed with anxiety in Year 10 & Aspergers in Year 12. Now starting Uni but so exhausted, every day is a struggle. Thank you for your blog, please know that it is helping.

    • Hi Ally and thank-you. University is very difficult for Aspergirls without a diagnosis, academic accomodations and support. It is even harder if they do not know they are Aspie. This is because they feel anxious and exhausted all the time and don’t know why. They cannot take the same required number of courses, keep up with the workload, meet deadlines, manage and/or organize their time. They may go to the University counselling services and/or medical services on an on-going basis, be diagnosed with the presenting issue (anxiety, depression) or misdiagnosed and/or get continual deferrals, drop out of class or semesters/terms. However, the true nature of thier condition is not identified nor are the most helpful interventions given to the individual. Thank-you for your kind words:-)

      • Wow. This article rings true to me and this part about university rings true also. I just completed my social work degree in December. It is a four year degree and it took me six years due to being diagnosed with depression and anxiety after my second year. I had to reduce my work load as a result. I currently work in the disability sector and have studied several disability courses and have been interested in the autism spectrum, in particular aspergers. I quite often thought to myself I am sure I have aspergers or be high functioning autism. Maybe j should speak to my psychologist about it. Thanks for this article.

      • I totally agree! I was diagnosed in seventh grade. I did double major (English and Philosophy) and I got through in four years, but I always felt that I could do better if I could just be ‘normal.’ I also have ADD, Depression and Anxiety, so that didn’t help matters. I am now trying to hold down two grad degrees at once (One in the summer and one the rest of the year: Children’s Literature and Library Science). It is pretty rough, though.

  3. All I was told by many G.P’s and specialists was that Stacie was hormonal, or she’ll grow out of it, or such nonsense. Her routines, her lack of interaction with others, her imaginary and safe world, where her foods couldn’t touch on a plate, all these things I recognised due to my professional development and training within the Education Department. But once she hit high school, a fantastic teacher supported my concerns as a mother and assisted me within the boundries of being diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and after another 4-6 months, Stacie received 9 hours of a possible 25 hrs per week of schooling, with a classroom aide. She is now 19, still highly focused on one or two things, struggles with daily tasks and understandings about her hygiene but gosh she is such a wonderful daughter and loving sibling to her oldest sister. Love you babe. Deb Bray……..Victoria……….Australia

    • Hello Deb, Thank-you for your message. Yes, many people are often told that their children will “grow out of it”. The signs you mentioned certainly warranted investigation into Asperger Syndrome, in a girl. However, very little is know now as opposed to when she herself was a young child. Thankfully there are a few books on girls now. Many more to come in the next few years! I am happy that your daughter received the support she needed.

  4. Awesome! I think every teacher needs to read this, and then we need more research on how to understand people who may simply be introverts and share common characteristics but do not have a “disorder.” In a perfect world, no one would have a label, and we would just all help each other try to be the best we can. But for now, a label could open eyes and empower a lot of children…and adults!

    • Natalie, thank-you for your message. I do not view Asperger Syndrome as a ‘disorder’, but rather a ‘çondition’, more like a Mac vs. a PC, but not exactly. You are born with different operating system or brain wiring. The differential diagnosis includes looking at a variety of domains (for example, sensory issues, fine and/or motor issues and so on). The label is most important for self-understanding, knowledge, support and services and directing one’s career.

      • I agree with you on this…my Dad (now retired – very prominent surgeon) has Asperger, I have it, two of my children have it (one girl, one boy)… to us this stuff was normal…everyone else seemed strange. We all learned to overcome the obstacles…. and yes we all have our quirky ways of doing certain things, but no one else has a problem with it. We have all learned how to channel our frustrations into coping mechanisms that others find acceptable…hence we avoid the “metldowns”. I am still working with my daughter to help her with her meltdowns (she still has them… but she’s only 16 and there’s lots of time to teach her what to do)……..I think it makes us special…. we think outside the box alot…. so I don’t think that we are “abnormal” at all….. just unique!!!

      • Hello E Smith and thank you for your message. I know of quite a few doctors who has Asperger Syndrome and are very good at their jobs. I agree with you that Aspergers is a “what box?” way of thinking and merely a difference. You all sounds like one awesome family!

      • I should also note that my husband is also Asperger…..we get along great!!!! We don’t have all those social games that other people play…. just total trust with each other… I am truly blessed. The only complaint that my children have had is that I am a bit aloof emotionally….. I don’t like being hugged alot… and my youngest daughter needs it as part of her coping mechanism…so we are working on that one…. I also need “alone time” to decompress…especially when there has been alot of social interaction…. but I have had a successful career as a CPA and Corporate CFO believe it or not! Life is good. God Bless!

      • Hello E Smith, it lovely to hear your story as I have heard many stories similar to yours. I know many Asperwomen who are CPA’s! I generally find that Aspie/Aspie couples are well-suited for each other. Periods of solitude as an to recharge are critical. All the best to you!

    • Natalie, your comment is so right on! Labels are purely a mask to help busy people know in a general way how to interact w someone else. “In a perfect world…” we would focus on the individual– and not their apparent grouping of symptoms.

      • This whole Aspie thing could get very interesting as my son (who is an Aspie) is going to be a Daddy in July……since he is now an at least 3rd generation Aspie, it will be interesting to see if my first Grandbaby will be Aspie also. The baby’s half-brother (the Momma’s son) is an Aspie also……

        My oldest daughter is not an Aspie and she thinks that we are all bonkers! She could really end up being “odd-man out” if the baby is an Aspie LOL.

        I love reading the comments here……I just want to encourage everyone to stay positive and use this to your advantage because we have traits that are amazing and allow us to achieve things that others can’t…..I think it is a gift to be this way…………

  5. Thank you for writing this! I was not really aware of Aspergers until my son was diagnosed a year ago. In the process of learning all I could about his diagnosis I realised that most probably I also have Asperger Syndrome but it was not diagnosed when I was a child. I have suffered periods of anxiety throughout my life and I still struggle with group social situations. I just don’t understand the ‘rules’ that seem to come naturally to most women! I attended a seminar by Rudy Simone about girls with Aspergers and it all rang so true with me. I have since learned through my own and my son’s experiences to celebrate the positive aspects of being ‘on the spectrum’. For me, it has given me the drive and determination to create a successful business and a wonderful family. But I also believe that I could have benefitted from a lot of support in my teenage years, so I applaud you for raising awareness of girls with Aspergers and I would encourage all mums to consider diagnostic testing for their daughters if they have any doubts at all.

    • Hello Ally and thank-you for your message. Many adult women are not diagnosed until they have had children of their own who are diagnosed. One or both parents may question whether they might themselves be on the Spectrum. This is one of the pathways to diagnosis. Congratulations, you have Asperger Syndrome and along with that are many asperpowers, of which you appear to be harnessing (drive and determination) in creating your business! Thank-you for your kind words:-)

    • I have just started reading about aspergers n these posts so pardon me for my lack of knowledge. Who diagnoses, what testing is done, what r good careers 4 dx girls go into. My story is quite sad, breaks my heart how my daughter has fallen through the cracks of the medical field yet once more (if my suspicions r right n she does have asp. I have many ?s. she will b 20 next month, having to struggle in college.

  6. Hi I count myself as one if the ‘lucky’ ones as my daughter received her diagnosis at age 5. However, her behaviours were very noticeable. We were fortunate enough that her first teacher was also the schools special needs coordinator and she picked up on it quickly. I already had many concerns about Lucy but was told she was intelligent and wilful. She displayed quite a bit of aggression toward her peers at school in the early days which she now has under control at age 8. However, at home we have all the challenges: meltdowns, anxiety and violence. She’s an amazing girl though: quirky, complex, full of enthusiasm, funny – we love her so much and have great support from her school – sadly not so much from the NHS but there’s so many great books and resources out there to help.

    • Hi Ann, thank-you for your message. Yes, I find that girls are not identified at your daughter’s age, unless they have significant behavioral issues. Many families I have seen have a history of being told their daughter is “just a strong-willed” child. It’s likely your daughter’s home behaviors are due to social exhaustion. I often recommend that any unstructured break times at school for Aspergirls need to be pure solitude – gives them a chance to recharge their batteries. Also, solitude when they come home. 2013 is a great time for knowledge and education re: Aspergirls

      • Yes my daughter is 10y now and we have a hard time with the school “they say it is a behavioral issues” she has a lot of meltdown in school and at home….not just Asperger’s a hole list of things

      • Hi Kathy, thank you for your message. The question is “what is the function of the behavior”? Many aspergirl’s behaviors are caused by sensory issues, ADHD (6 subtypes), auditory processing issues, anxiety, and so on. I wish you all the best.

  7. I have enjoyed reading all your replies, in some ways I wish we did not get a diagnosis at 23 years when told my husband and I had a sense of relief but now 3 years on, I feel for her struggling at uni doing volunteer work and just coming unstuck in not understanding boundaries and social settings but we love her dearly and I am about to go to bat with a another organsation who she had done a lot of volunteer work for cause she was described as something different or something funny about her and could just walk away but have decided that educating people is better so that if they see this again it just might make a difference hopfully.

    • Cherylanne, knowledge and education is power. One of the reasons I set up this bold is to reach more people that I can with my private practice. The faster we get the education about the female profile, the better off the whole community will be. Good for you for going to bat for her!

  8. Is part of the problem that the researchers build an image of what they WANT to find in order to prove their theories and THEN go looking for it?
    Twisting evidence to support their theory?

    • Hello Tyrojack, I like your questions. Of course, I think that this sort of thing can be found everywhere in research, which is why it’s important to include people with Autism in the process. The research has a strong gender bias, as girls had not been included in the past. Using male-based assessment tools is a real problem area right now, leading to many girls either not being diagnosed or being diagnosed much later.

      • To follow the academic vein… I am guessing this begs the larger questions about “appropriate” behavior according to gender and bringing under fire the idea that Autism is the “extreme male mind”. It seems like the discussion has moved much more into what the patient acknowledges feeling (sensory experiences) instead of the social behaviors witnessed (introverted-ness, awkwardness). I think this is also directly related to the changing label (and use of) “giftedness”. My personal experience was that I was that the “gifted” label (given in 1st grade) rather excused adults from ever having to look into my differences – i was expected to be… eccentric… in singular ways. The journey with my son has led me to a place where I feel like we are uniformly supporting definition by deficit – money is in “special education”, not “gifted education”, so a kid has to be “broken” to be treated as an individual… and I have heard educators claim that a parent pursuits a label just to get their kid more one-on-one… I can say that all you describe here apply to me too. I am willing to claim the Aspie label, but I just don’t feel like there is resolution in that…

  9. Thank you!
    I have a boy diagnosed with ASD and another as ADD and I also have a little girl.
    I have often wonder about my life and why! But since been put into the world of ASD things are making themselves more clear to me, but not totally. I wonder now if I am on the spectrum, but have no idea about how to work this out. I can look back to what I remember and what I have been told and the way I feel and perceive and I could tick so many boxes for myself, but then I think am I looking to hard for answers. Is there a direction you can point me in???
    Erin

    • Hello Erin and thank-you for your comments. Please go to http://www.help4aspergers.com and look for the female traits table. It is not a diagnostic tool, but a list of common adult female traits. If you identify with the traits, you may want to seek a formal diagnosis, preferably with a specialist in this area (female Autism). I am aware of just how few of us are out there and I hope it improves rapidly. Hope that helps.

      • HI

        I can understand where you are coming from on this. I have put off getting a diagnosis for a number of years now as I worried that I was just trying to make the label fit. I have now started the process as I feel I need to know one way or another but I am still worried I am just trying to make the syndrome fit. Its better to talk to an expert and find out so that you know which direction to head next. The worst they can say is you don’t have it.

  10. Hi, I’m Nadine and manage a Facebook page on Asperger in French for french speaking people. So, some people are interested in this text but can’t understand the whole of it. So, Tanya, may I translate this text in French so I can publish the translation in my Facebook page.

    Best regards.

    Nadine

  11. Thank you, thank you!! I’m doing a Happy Dance. You GET it. This is my 14 year old and for the first time I feel like someone understands what she deals with daily, including the after school meltdowns. She’s so quiet and no one gets sensory problems are everywhere, including family dinners. But she doesn’t like to leave home once she gets here. While I’m very happy it’s her safe place, I am afraid she’s becoming a hermit. Sensory overload…I get it. Do you address bullying, as well? I’m rambling but I am so excited to find your blog.

    • Hello MaryBeth and thank-you for your comments. Periods of solitude recharge her batteries, so to speak. Socializing drains her. Yes, I will definitely be doing some bullying blogs, as time permits.

    • My 16 year old daughter is reading this with me and laughing because she is the same way! Since we are a family of Aspies, we all have to “push” each other out the door, otherwise we all end up being hermits together! It’s a funny phenomenon….I just thought that it was just us who had this behavior pattern – we also seem to end up spending most of our time in the same room together interacting….. I guess we don’t seem to create too many stress issues for each other…. its just the outsiders…..

  12. I am 38 and have just been referred for diagnosis by my doctor. I started researching the subject as my son ( 5 years old) has been diagnosed with Aspergers and I started reading about women and it was like someone had written a diary of my life. I have had depression since I was in my late teens, Anorexia and OCD. I worry about everything and break down with stress regularly which is hard with two children. My escape is books I started reading before I began school and can’t remember not reading. I read at least three books a week and just love living in my imagination. I have had an obsession over America since I can remember and still do. As a young girl I would dream about living there and I would watch anything related to the country and at bad times of my life I would study different States and wear I would like to go. I have been most places as I was Cabin Crew but the job was too stressful for me as it was different on every job with different staff and bosses. I thought it would be my ideal job but it turned out to be a nightmare as it had know routine and continuity to it. I ended up getting ill. I have always lived with routine and get very upset and stressed when I have to change this routine. I hope that more girls are going to get help now that it has become more prevalent in the female community.

    • Sarah, thank-you for your reply and comments. One of the pathways for diagnosis is after a child has been diagnosed. You had all the classic signs as a child and teen, but back then Asperger Syndrome in a female girl/teen wasn’t known about much. Yes, many more girls and women are receiving help and support, but there still a way to go yet. Take care.

  13. I have spent the last 18 years bringing up my Asperger daughter, I have been so lucky that my mother was a huge support to me and didn’t realize I myself am also Aspergic (not sure that is a word but you know what I mean) I have only come to realize because my mother is now in a care home and I have no one supporting me. Getting down time, which my mother enabled, kept my ability to cope strong. I am now so dysfunctional! Strange to realize at 50, I now look back and go, oh!! yes I can see that is pretty aspie behaviour all of it, I always felt I was different, I went to a charity for a diagnosis. They did a pre diagnosis because they said it is a long and complex process diagnosing so they have a little questionnaire that if you tick enough boxes on then it is worth going for the full diagnosis. I haven’t been diagnosed because they wanted £300 pounds which I will never have spare as I rely on benefits because I simply don’t have time to work. My daughter who is now 18 also has some sort of chronic fatigue issue and I have to look after my mums finances and visit etc whilst trying to maintain some sort of decent life for my daughter. Getting no break from the world has increased my stress levels so much I worry I’ll get ill and we need a car for daughter to have an education and social life she is also trying to start a business helping dogs and doing great, I think I’m actually more aspergic than her due to the stress of holding it together. I have debts left right and centre ( mum also used to help out with big things, like car repairs or washing machines but cannot now as she is left with £20 pounds a week for toiletries and clothes and chiropodist etc. also she couldn’t anyway as she has dementia )I feel I have dysphoria really more than depression though obviously I am depressed too because there is no space in my life for me. I’m just waiting for the day when it all crashes on top of me. Pretty soon with the new ‘bedroom tax’ and that I will be required to pay a bit of council tax. I already have too much week for my money. I cannot make myself do anything any more and don’t want to go to doctors because with all my dealings with doctors and my daughter I never found one that got it you can tell they think I’m over protective if I have to advocate for her really they often think I’m just neurotic mum psychologically damaging daughter by speaking for her in these situations, not understanding that talking about herself to strangers is gruelling and she leaves stuff out and agrees with inaccurate things just to get it over with quickly. No idea where to turn quite honestly. I can say all this here because I don’t have to face a real stranger but to try and talk to someone in real life I become the same as my daughter clam up and agree to whatever.
    Should have said at the beginning great work and thanks for highlighting the issue .

    • Patricia, thank-you for you message and your kind words. Many women all over the world, just like you, are discovering, learning and self-diagnosing. This group is known as the “lost generation”, the generation(s) in between the knowledge of “Asperger Syndrome” and intervention services, support and so on. You are not alone and your struggles and stories are also similar to many women all over the trying to get diagnosed and supported. Hang in there!

      • I am a 47 year old British female in a very similar position to Patricia, I have also suffered from M.E for 20 years, and have had to bring up my 2 girls without any support from their father for the last 12 years (my youngest is almost certainly an extremely bright Asperger’s young woman, but fortunately she was able to be privately educated by winning an academic scholarship to a lovely school that accepted her idiosyncratic behaviours). About 3 years ago I reached the point of breakdown and have not been able to work since (I am also being hit with the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and other benefit ‘reforms’ which are leaving the most vulnerable in our society without enough money to pay basic utilities and food).

        I am in the process of seeing a person centered therapist.on the NHS. I am using these sessions to prepare myself to apply for a formal diagnosis of Asperger’s on the NHS. Patricia, please read the following links, as you are entitled to a free diagnosis on the NHS – if you meet the guidelines!.The National Autistic Society also has a lot of links on how Asperger’s presents differently in girls, and this seems to be becoming an area of research in the UK (as well as Australia). I am anticipating that once I go for a formal assessment it is likely that the professionals I encounter will be lacking in ‘adult female diagnosis experience’. To plan for this, I am doing lots of personal research on this so that I can challenge any potential ‘dismissal’ or ‘minimising’ of my symptoms etc. The following links will give you the information you need to approach your GP and challenge any initial dismissals of your rights for a diagnosis:

        Getting a referral in the UK (includes link to GP’s letter and NICE guidelines- do follow and download these as they are very useful)::

        http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/all-about-diagnosis/diagnosis-information-for-adults/how-do-i-get-a-diagnosis.aspx

        GP Screening questionnaire link (also includes links to other tests you can download and score yourself on)::

        http://www.autismresearchcentre.com/arc_tests

        The following is a research paper that demonstrates that females are likely to present differently than males during clinical interview, and is particularly relevant in the UK as it is co-authored by Simon Baron-Cohen (a very prominent figure in influencing the NICE guidelines on Autistic Spectrum conditions);

        ‘A Behavioral Comparison of Male and Female Adults with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Conditions’

        http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0020835

        Hope this helps!

        Sarah

    • Dear Patricia

      I feel so much for you…I am In a similar situation…no support trying to support my amazing aspie son and just discovering my own difficulties. Please mail me if u need a friend. It breaks my heart that there are so many women like us struggling. Beautiful, amazing and strong and deserving of love and respect and care. We deserve better and need to support each other…..Julia

      • Patricia, great advice from Sarah, I was about to suggest the same. I have recently been for my assessment at the age of 53. I went to Swindon and saw a specialist in female autism so hopefully Sarah’s worries are unjustified.
        I also googled autism and my local area and found a local organisation that did the pre-assessment and arranged the assessment, you may find there is something similar where you are. But definitely get it free (while we still have an NHS)…………………another Julia

      • I wrote a 14 page letter to my G.P. and saw her in surgery about a month ago. I have got to know her well, and have developed a good relationship with her over the last couple of years, due to my extensive physical health problems. Nevertheless, approaching her about having Asperger’s was still very difficult for me. I am well educated and have a high I.Q. (and a first class BSc in Psychology and Human Biology, of all subjects…) so I knew that she would probably be shocked by me raising the issue of being on the autistic spectrum. Unfortunately, stereotypes still dominant most people’s understanding of autism, and this seems particularly true of the medical profession. However, I’ve had formal assessments for dyslexia done as a mature university student, and have the typical ‘spiky profile’ that Tania describes, I score exceptionally high on reasoning and abstract thinking, but have an extremely poor working memory and cognitive processing speed. I also have Irlen Syndrome, for which I have green glasses (plus loads of other sensory problems). My first dyslexic assessment was done over 15 years ago by an Educational Psychologist who had just returned from Australia. He asked me at the end whether other people had difficulty understanding me, as well as a number of other questions that I thought strange at the time, Now I’m wondering whether he was actually aware of Tony Attwood’s work (as an Ed Psych he should have seen lots of children on the spectrum), and maybe recognised something there in my profile. A few years ago I made the disastrous mistake of trying to do a secondary PGCE, which pretty much led to me to a complete nervous breakdown. As part of doing this course, I received another formal Ed Psych’s assessment (this time I asked for my dyspraxia to be assessed as well as the dyslexia). Nothing had changed: I still had exactly the same ‘spiky’ profile as before. I did explain to my G.P. that the letter was for my medical records; that I had written it to be read further up the diagnostic process (by the appropriate specialists). I just pointed out the parts that were relevant to her as a G.P. She did confirm to me she has had no experience with adult autism, but agreed to refer me on the basis of my strength of feeling. As a result I have just had an initial appointment with the local Mental Health Team and the Adult Asperger’s Team.(there was a member from each team). This was basically a screening appointment. I think it went well, and am pretty sure that I will be put on the waiting list for a formal diagnostic assessment, and should hear about this soon. There is however, up to an 8 month wait for diagnostic assessment if I am accepted on their list! But I was told that my local Adult Asperger’s Team does have considerable experience in diagnosing adult females, which was encouraging (I live in Somerset, by the way). So now I just have to wait and see what happens in the future…. I will update here accordingly!

      • I have just received my diagnosis. I was interested in what you said about pgce. I tried 5 nears ago to do primary pgce and also found it nearly destroyed me. I very quickly found that school teachers have less understanding and tolerance for adults with social skills problems than they do for children’s I ended up completely isolated with no help or support and as there was very little guidance I ended up at complete meltdown. I eventually pulled out 5 weeks before the end having decided life was too short and that my family was more important. It was not an easy choice but the only regret is the failure side of it. Hopefully with greater awareness and more people. Women in particular, being diagnosed hopefully schools will develop the support needed for both adults and children.

      • I should have mentioned that I am a first aid Trainer teaching adults and children so I now my difficulty on pgce is nothing to do with my ability to teach or relate to children. I have taught children as part of a youth group for 28 years.

      • Same here Tracy – I have done Youth Work, worked one to one with disaffected and excluded kids in a secondary school (re-engaging them with learning), been an LSA and a ‘Learning Coach'( teaching Maths and English to GCSE lever) in a school and worked as a voluntary Mentor for ;Children at Risk’! My post 16 placement in the local F.E, college was fantastic, but the lack of support and understanding in the secondary school placement just broke me,Best wishes, Sarah.

      • It sounds like we hit the same barrier. I found I ended up with a mentor on my second placement who’s first words to me were she didn’t have time to help me and that I would have to do it all myself. She hadn’t even found out anything about me. I then found she never spoke to me unless it was to say I was doing something wrong. I went with the class to the isle of white and found both my mentor and the person I shared a room with didn’t speak other than again to say I was doing everything wrong. I have never felt homesick before but couldn’t wait to get home. I needed guidance on how to get things right not just told it was wrong and not good enough. Whilst the uni did offer support it came far too late and wasn’t directed at me at all. I’ve since complete pttls and cttles which are used in my job.

  14. Eating disorders…. Wow. Yes. I am a self diagnosed adult Aspie woman, with an undiagnosed but apparent 9yo Aspie daughter. I had no idea my eating disorders were linked to my AS stuff…. Do you have any further info on this? Thankyou for writing this. So many of my friends don’t believe I am AS because I am so ‘NORMAL’…. If only they knew how exhausting this normality is to keep up 😦

    • Hello mumonthefarm, thank-you for for your comments, Approximately 20% of females with eating disorders have undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome (see Gillberg research study ). Yes, pretending to be normal has a very high cost. Hope this helps. Slowly, there are more and more books on female Aspergers coming out.

  15. Hi Tania

    I am 50 years Old and am crying because I just read your article and it sounds so much like me as a girl, teen,mom,wife,daughter and here I sit wondering could it be that I have Aspergers? I have 2 sons , one with ADHD and one with ADHD AND ASPERGERS. I have a daughter who show signs of Aspergers but she is very closed and won’t share her feelings so I am not real sure. How do I get a good diagnosis process happening. I am Australian.

  16. I have a similar situation. I’m 40, not formally diagnosed, but due to some of the symptoms you others who have made comments have mentioned, I probably could get diagnosed with Asperger’s in the present day. I’ve got a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation on my hands. Even though I now _hate_ the psychological/educational establishment because I got diagnosed with darn near everything else while I was growing up (I ended up thinking teachers, educational administrators, and psychologists were the dumbest people on the planet), I seriously considered going through the procedures to get the formal diagnosis at the late age I was when I found out about Asperger’s Syndrome and that it could apply to me. Due to lack of organizational skills, doing poorly at interviews, etc., I have trouble getting and keeping a job, but if you live in the US (this may be changing due to Obamacare but how far and how effectively I can’t be sure of) you will have even more trouble getting/keeping a job if you are known to have a “pre-existing condition”.

    • Hi Laura and thank-you for your comments. Many women have received misdiagnoses and mistreatment, in part due to lack of knowledge and education regarding the unique characteristics and profile of females. Even the child, teen and adult females traits have similarities and differences. I am saddened to here about your comment relating to “pre-existing” conditions in the USA. Take are.

      • I was diagnosed as being autistic when I was an infant, and I held a job for 16 years before being outsourced…and this was well before Obamacare was even in the works.

  17. I have 2 boys with Autsim. I have a 4 year old daughter. I have been wondering if she could have a touch of it too. What are those odds? She is very smart and loves art. She has some controle issues. She is can be very defiant. She always looks so tired. She has great socail skills as long as she can be the leader and tell everyone what to do and how to do it. We have been having major problems with her trigering the boys. She does things all the time to make them have a very bad day. It like as long as she can controle everyones emotions in a negative she is happy. She has also tried to suficate and drawned her little brother. I have her in therapy. I am very scared for her and her future.

    • Hi Bridgette, research suggests there is an average 20% chance of a another sibling being on the Spectrum if one child within the family is diagnosed. You mentioned you have two children diagnosed and this makes it higher. She does have traits and I recommend an assessment as soon as you can. Hope this helps.

  18. Thank you so much for this article! I will copy it off and bring it with me to my daughter’s teachers this week. She was placed on the boarder at 9, suffers an eating disorder, anxiety and depression. We watched an explanation of Asbergers last week and said “that is me!”. The she said,”But no one will believe it, I fake it too well”. I really needed this validation as she is falling in the cracks at school and getting no support. They just seem to think she is the pretty girl in the back of the room who doesn’t try.

  19. Hi, my 21 year old daughter Chantelle has just been diagnosed by the us of the AAA test by a Psychologist , it has definitely shed light & relief for us & Chantelle. We’ve all been reading a lot, we have an appt to see a Neuro Psychiatrist shortly, not sure what this professional will have to say. Anyway her life story has been the same as all others above, bullied, exhaustion, meltdowns, no empathy, food, pulled out of uni at the last period, panic attracts, & has no wish or need to leave the house. Chan is happy with sitting in her lounge with computer & dogs. We’ve been very frustrated & worried, & now hope we get the right help, excuse my ignorance are you in Australia ?

    • Hi Vicky, thank-you for your comments. Many similar stories are appearing in these posts and I hope you can receive the support and intervention where you are. Yes, I am in Australia at the moment.

  20. This is me, and my daughter, too. We would get lost in art, or music, or in my case, books, even forgetting to eat or sleep. We just thought it was part of our weird family dynamic…my Mom and sister are the same way. We never felt like we fit in. We both were diagnosed with ADHD, and my boys also have ADHD and the youngest has Autism. Growing up I was the “Walking Encyclopedia” and incredibly socially awkward. I also had fits of depression and anger issues. I tend to observe people carefully before engaging to make sure i behave correctly. Now, I am much more confident and poised in social situations and was even very successful working in sales. What do I do now? Do I get medicated, or just accept that I am different and move on?

    • Donika, thank-you for your message and a great question. Adult women find it valuable to be diagnosed formally, even when they say they are not looking for intervention, perse. In my experience, the biggest reason adult women seek a formal diagnosis is knowledge and self-understanding – the ‘Éureka’answer that explains their lives to date. Self-understanding is priceless. Other women seek a diagnosis for support, finding, intervention or to do on certain pensions. It depends on the individual’s level of functioning and their needs. In terms of medications, some women take certain medications for anxiety, to treat and prevent depression/furthur depressive attacks or episodes, to help woth ADHD symptoms, and so on. I hope that helps.

  21. I have a 20 yr old daughter who I have thought for a long time has Aspergers but have never been able to get a diagnosis. We/she has been told she has an anxiety issue, depressed, social issues, dislexia but they have all refused to label her with this even with all the signs. We will be trying again to get her some help. Thank you for this article. It has given us both some hope!

    • Hello Ashley, thank you for your message. The short answer is no. A longer answer is in order to diagnose adult females, a professional must be aware of the female phenotype, differential diagnoses and co-existing conditions. Usually my assessments include interviews with the client, a full developmental history, a formal assessment tool and an interview with someone who knows the person well. Most assessment tools are not based on the female profile, so it is imperative the professional is trained and experienced in this area, having seen enough females of all ages to be experienced in the female sub-types, masking strategies, various presentations, and so on. Hope that helps. If you identify with the traits, you may self-diagnose, as many women do. The next step would be a formal diagnosis should you wish to pursue that. All the best.

  22. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this. You’ve spelled out my life as well. I immediately googled “social echolalia” – I suppose that might explain why I tend to adopt the accent and manner of whomever I am speaking with. I always thought that was strange, but can’t seem to help myself. My current diagnoses are Depression, Social Phobia, GAD, and most recently, OCD. I have no rituals, but have obsessive, preoccupation with certain things and an utter inability to accept uncertainty. I have had anxiety, severe shyness and social difficulties from early childhood. It’s a complete disconnect with other people that has always been there. It also bothers me that I don’t seem to have empathy for others, or only in rare circumstances. But I always got good grades, and was “invisible” in the classroom, so my difficulties didn’t matter to anyone. I turned to alcohol in my 20’s when I found it removed me further from the pains of reality. I’m long in recovery from alcoholism now, but live a life carefully crafted to avoid social interactions and everything else that has become associated with anxiety and pain.

    I’m in my late 40’s now, and have a son who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s. Pretty classic “male” presentation. I myself have spent years in therapy of different kinds and thousands of dollars on various medications, with little success, and no-one has ever mentioned an an Autistic Spectrum Disorder – except my mother, who suspected it from early on. I hope these studies continue in earnest to help all of those girls who are suffering in silence.

    • Hello fuzzy and thank you for your message and words. Your story is similar to the many I have heard. I have seen hundreds of females of all ages. It is more than likely that your “true” diagnostic label is female Asperger Syndrome, which then includes, sensory issues, depression, Social Phobia, GAD, OCD, and so on. The appropriate diagnosis is crucial, as you have discovered in your life, with the years of therapy and medications you mentioned. There is a high rate, in terms of geneology, and since you have a son diagnosed with Asperger’s, I am confident that any specialist in this area would provide you confirmation of that. Many girls and women suffer in silence and/or are invisible. I wish you all the best.

  23. I recently was told by a friend that I might have aspergers. Growing up I was diagnosed with depression, bipolar, social anxiety disorder, ocd, and the list goes on. When I was in college I had a hard time. I thought maybe I had a learning disorder but could not find anyone to test me. I was told if you were not tested as a child you have no learning disorder. Where do I go to find out for sure? Who do I talk to? I live in the USA if that helps.

    • Hello Renee, thank-you for your message. While it’s impossible for me to say whether you have Asperger Syndrome or not, I can say that most, if not all of the women I have seen, have a history of multiple diagnoses and/or misdiagnoses. Many women with Asperger Syndrome also have learning differences and those continue throughout their lives, which is why academic accomodations in University are critical. Rudy Simone has a list of “Doctors who diagnose Adults Females” on her website at http://www.help4aspergers.com/pb/wp_05797c6f/wp_05797c6f.html There are a few listed in the USA. Maybe one of them would help? Best Wishes!

  24. Thank you so much for writing this. My 10 year old daughter is in the top 99.8% of IQs and is one if the most creative, outgoing kids you could ever meet, yet she has always suffered from anxiety, depression, and OCD. Only recently was she was diagnosed with Aspergers.

    I am so grateful to you for this article. This describes what she goes through so well. I have already forwarded it to family and her physicians. Thank goodness for the Internet and for people like you who are willing to share their knowledge.

    • Hello Aly and thank you for your message. Many females I see are very intelligent with learning differences, social phobia, anxiety, and more. Very bright futures with some accommodations and support. All the best!

  25. My daughter has just turned 8 and she is in the system and we are getting no where quick. I am hoping to get her diagnosed before she starts high school, so that we can give her the best support available. I am sick of being told that she is a very complex case….just because she doesnt tick all of the boxes. She can conform at times, but equally she is a self harmer, highly anxious, very intellectual and can not deal well with any change….these people that play God with decissions actually should be me for a week and then i will be happy to listen to what they have to say!!!

    • Hello Jodie, I do agree that girls with aspergers are complex. I think partly, if tales so long because professionals are unaware of the female profile, maybe don’t know which tools to use, the lack of female assessment tools, focus on the presenting issue or misdiagnose. All the best.

  26. This tends to confirm what I think of how my wife interacts with others. I simply cannot get her to go for a screening for a potential diagnosis as she thinks that I think there is something “wrong”. I don’t. I just think she is different. As she cannot develop friendships with other women on her own, I have spent years developing these friendships, so that she can enjoy them in her own way. But it is difficult to get these friends of ours to accept her as she is. Perhaps your article will help them to understand.

    • Hello Meical, thankyou for your message. In the next 5 years there is going to be a rapid increase of information about girls and woman with Asperger Syndrome. I hope my article allows your friends to better understand your wife.

  27. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you
    will be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back at some point.

    I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great job, have a nice day!

  28. A lot goes through my head, but I have more questions than comments. I would like to know if these women who were diagnosed and are 40 or above if they have improved over time or at least since their 20s in socialization and coping strategies in general.

    • Hi Natalie, that is an excellent question and a loaded one at that. You see, it all depends on many factors. The female profile includes an intelligence of high average to genius. So, women use their intelligence to “pass for normal”. The answer to you question is not easily answered because it depends on a number of factors: resilience, the individual’s environment, the individuals personality, their coping skills, their defense mechanisms, the severity of Asperger symptoms, any co-existing conditions (for example, personality disorder) and so on. Each case is as individual and unique as the next. I have seen some women who have greatly improved over time and I have seen some who have got worse. Hope that helps. All the best.

    • Hello Chris Mello, very briefly, interventions usually focus on (but are not limited to) emotion management, social skills training, assertiveness training, boundaries training, anxiety and anger management, addressing learning differences or difficulties, safety sills training, self-esteem.identity work, strengths-focused work and career counselling. Hope that helps!

  29. Help!!!! This is my 9 year old daughter all over and I can’t seem to get any help at all from anyone, I had the same problem with my son and getting a diagnosis for him it actually took me having him removed from the house by police as he attacked his sister and threw knives at me. Is there anyone with any idea on how i can get her tested? I’ve been through all your peeds and the normal way of sychatrists but still i’m getting nowhere at all. When my daughter will survive on four penny pasta for two days that’s a concern for me and she’s getting worse, the aniexty attacks i thought was just a put on cause i was trying to get her to eat but after reading this i’m a little more clued on to her situation. I’m past the frustration part i’m at desperation now as you can see all her ribs, spine and hips and it’s upsetting to her and me. Please if anyone can help me I’d love to hear from you

    • Hello Anne, thank-you for your message. It does sound like you need some help and support. May I ask where you live? I may be able to point you in the right direction. Usually I suggest your local Autism Society, or referral from doctor to someone both qualified and experienced.

      • I live in mackay in Queensland I’ve been given some numbers today that I called but the doctors keep ignoring me. My daughter has always been hard to get to eat anything but now she’s eating nothing, when I see my child eat nothing but four peices of penny pasta that’s a concern to me, she just keeps getting worse and I’m being ignored, my children’s father has aspergers my son has aspergers n my youngest is showing signs now n they are testing her so what’s the chance that my oldest has aspergers as well?

      • Hello Anne, thank-you for your message. Research shows an average 20% chance of a second sibling having Autism, when one child has been diagnosed. If there are two children, the chances are even higher. If you see red flags, I highly recommend an assessment by someone who specializes in female Autism. With the eating issues you mentioned, she may be at-risk for an eating disorder. Gillberg’s study found that 20% of girls diagnosed with an eating disorder also met criteria for and Autism Spectrum Condition.

  30. Thank you so much for writing this! I also believe that I possibly have AS. I have always struggled with certain things, a lot of them you have mentioned here. Some of my behaviors as a child were actually quite “quirky” including rocking, toe walking, lining and stacking, and a series of obsessions that I became an expert in, namely dinosaurs and horses. My Mother started to pursue a diagnosis but stopped. I live a fairly “normal” life, but scripting is a huge part of that and I find myself struggling with my need for routine and scheduling.
    My now 3 y/o was diagnosed with Autism after a severe regression at 2.5 y/o, and we suspect our youngest son is also on the spectrum.
    It’s been an amazing experience so far, and I am so glad that awareness and advocacy is finally nearing a level it should be at.
    Thank you.

  31. Thank you so much for posting! My daughter is 5 years and 8 months and I have been fighting to get her a dx of Asperger’s for 2.5 years. We finally got so far as a dx of PDD two weeks ago. We try for the second time to get support from the school on April 10. I am so glad that more doctors are coming to realize it. Last year when she as dxed at the local CARD center they said “We don’t know how Asperger’s presents in girls so we want to wait a year to see how things change” I told them I know how it presents because I live with it!

    • Sorry I meant to say last year when we went to be evaluated for a diagnosis we were told that they didn’t know how it presented.

      • Sorry, I meant to date that last SPCR 13th Dec, 2011, which means it was completed after the official diagnosis was made at the public hospital. However, there seemed to be quite a bit of weight attributed to the opinion of the current school principal and us as parents, that our son had traits of PDD-NOS. So maybe this collaborative approach was still upheld by the paediatric registrar, who first saw him and recommended a diagnosis of PDD-NOS, after meeting with us and observing all his various reports from different sources. As I seem to remember her commenting on how many reports we had available (unless that was the second paediatric registrar we saw).

    • Hi Melanie, thank-you for your message and you are welcome! A diagnosis of PDD is getting there, at least closer than where you were. Unfortunately, it is the case that many professionals and yes, even Autism Centers are unaware of how Asperger Syndrome presents in girls, teens and adult women. It does present differently across the lifespan. I will be blogging much more about the female profile, as time permits, so watch this space. All the best:-) P.S. I do not endorse a “wait and see” approach.

      • Tania, you said “I do not endorse a “wait and see” approach.” which are the very words Kay used to describe what usually happens in Prep and the approach the private Paediatrician, who we last saw, normally takes. Otherwise our son might not have been given his diagnosis yet, except that we saw a paediatric registrar beforehand and another paediatric registrar for the follow up consultation, at the public hospital. Maybe those freshly coming through their training are more up with current thinking, as both times the head paediatrician looked slightly surprised when she came in afterwards, especially when we did not need to see her the second time, (as ironically, it was recommended that we have his diagnosis confirmed by the private paediatrician, who has specialised in ASD)?
        And in actual fact, I just found our son’s Sensory Profile Checklist Revised, dated 13/11/2011, which the Occupational Therapist completed for him beforehand and he continues to see the same Speech Therapist under his current IEP for school. So maybe a team approach also helps with achieving a diagnosis too? And this approach is endorsed by a paediatrician (my niece’s God-father) who I spoke to in Victoria last year, as he said the best outcome is always achieved via a collaborative process, and not simply a diagnosis he makes on his own. He said this is considered ‘best practise’ worldwide.

  32. I’ve been struggling to get an assesment and diagnosis for my 6 year old daughter. I already have an older son with an ASD diagnosis, but am still struggling to get others to see what I see in her. Those closest to us see it, but the people I need help form seem to be ignoring my pleas for asistance. Any resources that might be helpful. Any help would be greatly appreciated, please msg me via fb.

  33. This is absolutely me, down to a T!!
    Whenever I was in a room with people, I would be so quiet that – if they didn’t actually SEE me – I wasn’t noticed.

    I watch first and then act (I call this “Watching from the shadows”) and yes, I DO always need a “rough template” of what to do. But once I know, things come easy to me; mostly because sometimes I obviously do the “copying”. Whenever I don’t have a template, I get stressed, but I try anyway. I am kinda counter-phobic in that regards; as in: Even if I am scared sh*tless about something, I still do it anyway; sometimes thinking of an idol of mine (it’s often been a character from a tv show I really loved or similar).
    The funny thing is, that I am “overly social” or what is considered a “social butterfly”, but me “never running out of topics” or “being able to keep a talk going for hours” is really draining for me. I often didn’t do it because “it’s who I am” and more just for reasons such as “being polite” or “appearing interesting” etc.; especially given that I never had friends. I always seemed absolutely strange to everybody. Even my own mother would say “I am a child of the stars”; which translates to “being in my own world”.
    I always felt thatI work SO much different from everybody and that nobody really understands or even WANTED to understand. In a lot of cases the “rules” (the ones for “normal” people) never seemed to apply to me either.

    I am overly polite. I AM absolutely obsessed with social- and psychological studies and also very good at it; which makes me the “go-to person” for everybody and all of their problems; often putting me under a lot of stress, down to extreme depression (I was suicidal once, because of HOW bad it was).
    I am also VERY empath-like and will go massively south with my mood, when there is too much “negativity” around me. It also allows me to read people very well though. I always know when they are lying etc., even over just text-chat and after barely knowing somebody.

    My hobbies are of wide variety, but they are all very “to myself” hobbies (so things you can do alone) and very intense (graphicdesign, webdesign, gamedesign, writing, video-editing, medicine, social- / psychological studies, languages etc.) AND I recently had to take a professional IQ test at a psychological facility due to job-purposes and scored far over average (almost a 100% score).
    I generally know that I am smart, I just don’t act all elitist about it. Sometimes though, I felt really really lonely because of it, because it always seemed that “people can’t keep up with me”; which is why my “personal heroes” are people like Leonardo DaVinci, Galileo, Michelangelo, Dante and co. Teachers and other similar figures always loved me.

    I’ve been to a lot of psychologists / psychiatrists, but nobody EVER noticed that I have “Aspi” (as I call it) and I don’t think anybody ever WILL notice it.
    I did self-diagnosis. It happened when I started having a lot of friends who are officialy diagnosed with Aspi. I noticed just how “the same” we are and I would often use the expression “Right now, I feel like [person name]”, without them being around. Basically “Right now, I feel like [person] would”. It was almost like “being in their skin” and so I looked deeper into it; watched movies, read up stuff…and suddenly, everything made sense.

    For the longest time I used to think that I just “suck at explaining things about me”, but in reality I am just a lot different, to the point where most people can’t exactly “follow” it, no matter HOW I explain it. Though, the more I researched and kept trying, the better I got at it. I think some of my friends actually started to understand.

    Sorry for the novel. I just really felt like sharing this; while also trying to point out just how GOOD this article is. I hope other people can be understood way earlier, without having to go through emotional- / psychological- / physical- or sexual abuse from family and surroundings; just “because they’re different”. Thank you so much for writing and sharing it.

    Much ❤

    ~kitteh (28)

    • Hello FiyahKitteh, thank-you so much for your fascinating comments and your kinds words. You aptly describe common characteristics and traits of the many girls and women I have seen. Many females are drawn to study psychology and human behavior. In, part as they have been on an endless journey to understand themselves and satiate that curiosity, and in part, to understand the human race and the why’s, what’s, where’s, how’s of people. Thank-YOU for sharing your story with all of us here.

  34. This really touched me because a huge part of the stress of Asperger’s in girls seems to be the hiding it part, trying to fit in and never let anyone know of the phobias. I LOVE articles like this that can break down, for the general public, some of the key points. By educating people maybe they can see that a person needs a bit of help to feel comfortable instead of always expecting that person to fit into their world easily.

    • Hi Danika, yes “passing for normal” takes a tremendous toll on Aspergirls, in terms of social exhaustion, mental health issues and yes, for some, the development of personality disorders. A part of of my clinical work includes working with girls on self-esteem, identity, identifying strengths and becoming the best Aspergirl they can be, as early as possible.

  35. Wow just read this. My daughter is 8 and has recently been put on homebound from school due to anxiety over regular classroom situations. She is fine in her gifted classroom but is having more and more meltdowns during, before and after school when she had to go to regular class. We saw her doctor to get help and she recommended homeschool because she thinks there might be some HFA or Aspergers that has been undiagnosed. We compromised with the school with homebound. She hyperfocuses on subjects until she can learn EVERYTHING she can find on the subject before moving on. She gets upset because she hast to write about what her teacher wants her to write about not about a topic she has picked. We are working now on getting her counseling and a diagnoses.

    • Hello Cassondra and thank-you for your message. Your daughter’s hyperfocus is what I call an “asperpower”. This ability allows her to become an “expert” in her area of interest. I recommend supporting and guiding her with regards to her special interests. One of them may become a successful career for her one day! All the best with your diagnosis.

  36. This page definitely has all of the information and facts I needed concerning
    this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  37. Thanks so much for this. I’m 52 and only figured out 5 years ago that I’m an Asperger woman. Your blog description is so like me that much of it could have been written about me by my best friend. Having spent my life as an outsider, acting to fit others’ social expectations, the validation is a relief.
    Several years ago I saw a psychiatrist who agreed I more than satisfied the DSMIV criteria but said he couldn’t clinically diagnose me because it would have insurance/disability implications and I was functional. Of course, he’d never heard there might be some different traits for females.
    Thanks again.

    • Hello J.Carroll, one of the reasons, as a professional, that I am doing this blog is to disseminate information regarding the female profile, in a way that gets out to as many people as possible. Thank-you for your message. You join a large number of women who have found self-diagnosing or a formal diagnosis as validation, a huge sense of relief and an explanation for many unanswered questions. All the best.

  38. What a fantastic blog, how inspiring to read about all of these amazing women and their children. Our daughter is 8years old and we are coming to meet you shortly Tania to have her diagnosis of Asperger’s confirmed and to get strategies to help with some of her issues. Reading a lot of these stories and how these women suffered through their childhood makes me more determined to do as much as I can to help our daughter. When I read about some of the stories and the traits they are mentioning, I could be writing my daughter’s story.

  39. We contacted the childrens psychiatrics when my daughter’s anxiety attacks and ocd like behavior became too hard to handle. At first they only tried to help with the anxiety/ocd, but thanks to a very good psychologist that recognized that there was more going on my daughterhas now at 16 been diagnosed with aspergers. We had been helping her cope with all her special needs her whole life but as life and school got more complicated so did her problems. The diagnosis has helped in all contacts with school and explained a lot to people around her (mostly family), but it is no less frustrating coping with the constant meltdowns. Understanding the cause does help but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

  40. Hi. My daughter was diagnosed at 7 with Aspergers but she is the opposite of above in terms of being quiet and on the outside. She is very very loud and always the centre of attention. She has always been this way but she does not pick up on social ques or expressions. Her intelligence is high but as far as fitting in with others, she doesn’t care. She does what makes her happy and if that means playing on her own then she is happy to do that as well. She has no concept of fear at all and has no inabitions. She is very hyperactive but not diagnosed with ADHD. She doesn’t have melt downs but if upset, she will cry for hours. This doesn’t happen very often as her mood is generally happy all the time regardless of what else is going on around her.
    Could she have been misdiagnosed? Maybe it is not Aspergers after all but something else?

    • Hello Penny and thank-you for your message and comments. You ask a very interesting question. The answer is: There are distinct subtypes of Aspergirls. Asperger Syndrome is somewhat a condition of extremes. I have seen girls who taught themselves to read before they started school and others who have great difficulty reading. I have seen girls who are quiet, well-behaved and observe alot and who are hyperactive, lack boundaries and are “too into” other people’s social world, in terms of infringing on others boundaries. Without assessing your daughter myself, I cannot comment on her diagnosis, other than to mention the subtypes and that she certainly has traits. I will be blogging about sub-types in the future. I hope this helps. All the best.

  41. I can remember when my daughter was 3 years old (13 years ago), calling Baltimore City DSS to have her assessed. I basically told them that something was *off* about my daughter, but I could’t put my finger on it, but I knew she was going to have a difficult time in school. They came over, assessed her, said she was brilliant (could already write all her letters and numbers and could draw like a 12 year old) and I was like, duh, I know she’s smart lol.. something is just *off*. Needless to say, I was the one who eventually found out about Aspergers (it wasn’t as widely known about back then). She DOES have a difficult time in school and socially, and your article described her to a T. I work a lot with her to *try* to keep the depression at bay and we talk a lot about the gifts Asperger’s has brought to her, but a the same time the difficulties and ways to cope with them. I think that’s something parents have to remember (through all the angry outbursts, silent treatments and school meetings about forgotten homework), that these are freakin’ AWESOME kids who often have abilities in an area that are far outside the “norm”. It’s just our job to help them find ways to compensate in the areas they struggle in, so they can be successful – for my daughter it’s daily planner, daily planner, daily planner lol 🙂 Thanks again for the article.

  42. I know my daughter has aspergers, but her doctors will not diagnosis her. They say she is extremely precocious and bright. But her melt downs at home are SO BAD and agrey like I have never seen in a child before. She is so stuborn and Ocd is putting it lightly. What should I do? Is there a blood or genetic test to confirm it?

    • Sorry, I meant angry. I fear for her and my other children. She is amlmost 4 and I also have a 1 year old and a 12 year old. She is huge about the size of a 6 or 7 year old and extremely strong. I don’t know what to do when she gets like that because I don’t weant her to think I favor the other kids. I just don’t want her to cause permanent damage to them.

      • Hi Richelle, a key feature of Asperger Syndrome is intense emotions. Intervention in this area focuses on teaching individuals how to understand their body clues, the triggers and a variety of ways to shake off angry/anxious energy. Developing a toolkit full of strategies, which may or may not include medication (only one tool) is highly effective. All the best!

    • Hello Richelle, thank-you for your message. There is no blood test to confirm Asperger Syndrome. Asperger Syndrome is a neurobiological condition, from birth or from within the first three years of life. It is most often seen in family history’s, often as a “ghosting” (some traits but not enough). I often recommend taking in information on the female profile to professionals and discussing your daughter’s behaviors in comparison to it. I will be blogging more about the female profile, as time permits. You may use my blogs, as long as you credit me please:-)

  43. I’m 15 and I don’t know what to do. I think I might have Asperger’s but I’ve never been formally diagnosed. At school, I’m the “quiet girl” who never gets in trouble, and knows all the answers and I’m not really used for much more than that. As for friends I’m not so good at keeping/making them because I hate going places, and honestly I feel they’re a lot of work(does that sound bad?) I’m abnormally obsessed with school(mostly math but everything else too) because it’s all I’m good at and I also have this thing for Grey’s Anatomy and Anime, I’m not sure why. I’m also super ocd, but exposure therapy seems to work for me so that I can handle. I just feel like I’m slowly cracking under the weight of everything. I’m constantly worried and anxious to the point that sometimes in the morning when I wake up, my teeth chatter and I shake really bad(only on weekdays though). I just want to tell someone. I know it won’t solve anything but I just want to talk to someone but I don’t really have anyone I can talk to because no one understands. I mean no one notices that there’s something wrong with me, probably because I’m really good at pretending. I have different a “character” for whoever I’m talking to. I feel like I’m on fire in the middle of a room and no one can see me struggling. I guess I’m complaining a lot and rambling but I just really don’t know what to do… I’m just sooo tired. So, What should I do..? I just want answers and I realize you may not have them all..any bit helps, I’m very thankful for any suggestions you offer!

    • Hello Red, thank-you for your message. Making and keeping friends is work as requires alot of effort from on both parties to maintain the friendship or relationship. I see many teenage girls who are intensely interested and involved in anime, celebrities, fantasy, animals, reading, to name a few. Often, “quiet” girls do not receive a diagnosis until in the teen years when the anxiety, eating disorder, mood swings or depression become so debilitating, that they seek intervention. There are some fantastic interventions for anxiety now, so I would encourage you to seek help for that. If you believe that you may have Asperger Syndrome, I would recommend finding a specialist who knows the female profile to assist you with a proper assessment. Just treating your anxiety is only helping you with part of the issue. Learn and read all you can on female Asperger Syndrome. Take in my article if you like and explain to whom you see how the profile fits you. It will get much better. I hope I was helpful and I wish you all the best.

  44. Tania–this article really tells my story. Two weeks ago, I saw my therapist, armed with the list of female Asperger’s traits…I exhibit all but two. I have scored very highly Aspie (very low NT scores) on the two assessments I have taken. My therapist is referring me to someone who specialises in Asperger’s, as that is not his area. I am also diagnosed with bipolar I with psychotic features (I agree with this, there is a definite mood disorder component), panic disorder with agoraphobia (agree), ADHD (agree), ED-NOS (I realise now this is related to the Asperger’s–due to sensory issues, though my body image does play into it occasionally, but I mostly use it as a means of control), and I was also diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, though I was told, “Hmmm…you don’t really exhibit enough of the traits, and there’s nothing in your history that would have caused it, but there’s no other explanation for your meltdowns and other behaviour.” I was supposed to go for surgery this week, and mentioned the self-assessed (at this point) Asperger’s to the doctors, due to the sensory issues, and they said they were glad I told them, and that it is something that is helpful for them to know. I had a long talk with my mother about it–I had hesitated, due to the fact that she usually calls me a “hypochondriac” when I try to find some other, rational, explanation for myself–but it turned out to be very fruitful. She said that she suspected me of being an Aspie long ago (I had all the classic markers as a child, but they didn’t diagnose it back then…I am 36), and said it makes complete sense (though she had the “lack of empathy” bit all wrong…I am hypersensitive, and actually an empath, so I have had to learn to block it), and I told her that I see much Aspie in her, and that she might want to consider the possibility, and I directed her to Rudy Simone’s site. So, it turned out to be something we bonded over. I am still working on getting my husband (a total NT) to understand much of what I need, though my needs have not changed since I have made the connection that this is Asperger’s and I’m not just a weird control freak. Thank you for the work you are doing. It is invaluable. 🙂

    • Hello Mandy and thank-you for your message. It is common for girls and women to be MISdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, having some but not all of the traits. It is also possible for individuals to have both. I have much clinical/anecdotal evidence regarding what I refer to as “referred emotion”, “hyperempathy” and being an “empath”. I will definitely be blogging on this topic in the future. Thank-you for sharing your story and for your kind words.

  45. Thank you so much for this,would you mind if I showed this to my child’s Teacher? You have worded this perfectly, I always struggle to put it together to explain it to others wanting to know.

  46. Thank you so much for this! My 9 year old dau was diagnosed with ASD at age 2 – she manifests the typical boy way so the diagnosis was clear. As I learned about her ASD it became clear to me why I always felt uncomfortable in the world myself – I’m HFA with a high IQ and have managed to fake it well. Unfortunately finding someone to formalize that diagnosis has been difficult. Couldn’t find a provider that “felt qualified to diagnosis an adult.” After years of hunting finally found one, and due to his fear he’d be called to testify in court in a case related to my family he copped out and diagnosed ADHD (and then refused to release even that report to me). So back to square one…

  47. Hi, I am a 39 year old woman, and after reading this, SO much makes sense! At the age of 9, my parents were told I was just hyper and “bored” so I was given Rittalin and place in “gifted” classes.When tested, my parents were told I had scored “extremely high” on the IQ scores, and that I needed to be challenged. The Rittalin was taken off the market shortly after, and reformulated. However, the gifted classes, while helping some, did not prevent the “misbehaviors” as my parents and teachers called them. I became obssessed with reading (Still am, to be honest) and would read as many as 10-15 books a week, most of them 3-4 grades above my own. To ground me, my parents would actually take away my books! Social interactions were a struggle, as I never really fir in ANYWHERE, and I developed a severe “Leave me alone or else” attitude, and would often find myself in physical fights as a result.
    As an adult, I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and overeating. I was so easily distracted and overwhelemed, it was a struggle just to clean my own home! Never mind holding a job for more than a few months!!! At 26, I was diagnosed with Adult ADD, and chronic depression. After making the rounds of anti-depressants, and different doctors, I was finally given Adderall, and an anti-depressant combo, which FINALLY seemed to help. At the age of 28, my 3rd child was born. At the age of 2 years old, I KNEW something was not right, as he had stopped talking, eating and even growing! 2 years and 4 doctors later, we were finally told he is ASD and at that time, it was PDD-NOS. Now, at 11, he is fully verbal, and while he is still small, and slightly delayed, he IS much improved. Last year, we were told he is no longer PDD-NOS, but Asperger’s Syndrome, with ADD. In watching my son grow up, parent-teacher conferences, etc. I see so many behaviors identicle to my own as a child, I am now wondering, could I have been misdiagnosed as a child? I am going to ask my psych docter at my next appointment, but I am wondering, is this something that CAN be identified this late in life?

    • Hello Cynthia and thank-you for your message, a large part of my work involves assessing and diagnosing male and female adults. When you were a child, Asperger Sundrome was not known. It is possible that you had ADHD as a child, but that the Asperger Sydnrome was missed. A very high proportion of people with Autism also have 1 or more of the 6 sub-types of ADHD. My answer to you is yes, Autism and/or Asperger Syndrome and/or ADHD is and can be diagnosed in adults. All the best.

  48. Hello Tania,

    I wanted to leave a response to your article because you are doing a wonderful job at explaining these traits for folks who do not otherwise understand that there are people around them who are living these secret lives.

    As a child, I spent much of my time observing others and imitating their behaviors to avoid being called out as “weird”. The truth is, though, I *am* weird compared to other people. I don’t talk unless I have something to say. I observe and understand people’s true intents and emotions, even though they try to hide them. I would prefer to read than go anywhere. I was always been nature-oriented, practicing animal calls, making traps, and listening to what the earth and nature had to say. The rest of the time, I would practice musical instruments, learn new languages, or read. I never understood the fascination with materialistic possessions, celebrities, dating, makeup, fashion, etc. I have always felt that people in general just have too many expectations – I have never understood why we can’t all just accept each other as we are and learn about one another as individuals. The pressure to conform is enormous, and I can see why that anxiety is so crushing to females at large and completely debilitating to females on the spectrum.

    When I was younger, I spent most of my time worrying that other people would see through my façade. I spent so much time pretending to be “normal” that I lost the person I was – I hated myself because I couldn’t be like everyone else without lying all the time. I suffered from very deep depression, but presented a carefree and aloof persona. I never let anybody get close enough to see the real me, because that rejection when they saw Me was so painful. I had many “friends”, but had a hard time keeping them because I’d always slip up and give them some honest, no-nonsense advice that they didn’t appreciate. After high school, I hit rock bottom – I wanted nothing more than to die. I got to the point where I realized it was time to change or I *would* die.

    It took me about ten years to get to the point where I was comfortable being the person I am and to shed all of those false but automated behaviors I’d learned to exhibit just to keep other people from being uncomfortable around me. Yes, people “hate” me because I speak up when I’m not “supposed” to. But, the truth isn’t going to go away just because they don’t want to hear it. Yes, people often accuse me of “thinking I’m better than them” since I don’t talk much but when I do it is to say something they need to hear. I say it because I have the urge to, since nobody else will say it. I have nothing to lose, and I figure that my lack of anxiety about telling the truth and addressing their true emotions (as opposed to the basic emotion or facial expressions they choose to show) may be to their benefit if they can learn something new about themselves. Yes, I am unnerving to many people and yes, I am nearly friendless. But, I feel content because I feel like Me.

    I have young children and I feel like I understand them so well because I can look at them and hear what they have to say without insecurities and false beliefs clouding my vision of the unique and talented people they are, even though they don’t “fit in”. Indeed, I still have times when I feel inadequate and out-of-place… but I finally realize that it is because I don’t “fit in” that I am able to care so deeply for everyone else – because I no longer have a pretense to believe in that hierarchy to humanity that we are taught from birth to believe in.

    I have a background in mental health and the first time I picked up a DSM-IV, I read it cover to cover but felt drawn the the Autism sections. In my training, I always felt like I could communicate the best with autistic individuals, because I could “hear” them even though they couldn’t speak and knew exactly what they were thinking. But, it was not until 2006, when I saw ‘The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow’ and could identify with so many of the things that Temple Grandin had to say that I truly realized that there is a high probability that I have Asperger’s or some type of HFA.

    While I do not have an official diagnosis, I have taken many Asperger’s assessments and all of the results point to the fact that I very likely have Asperger’s or some form of HFA because of my very low NT & social scores but abnormally high “Aspie” scores. Even though the idea has been in my mind for nearly a decade at this point, I still only feel a small amount of relief that there might be a reason my brain is wired so differently than the “norm”. That relief is mostly based on those insecurities I have always felt about being “different” – there is still some part of me that thinks that maybe I’m not “weird”, maybe there’s a way I can be “fixed”. But the truth is, I am not broken. Just different.

    Being “an Aspie” doesn’t change that pain I feel from my past, and it doesn’t change the way people instinctively respond to me. But, at least I now understand that there are other people in the world who feel the way I do and so I can do what I can to make life easier for those people around me who may be living their own secret lives.

    Thank you for taking the time to create this very important blog and giving a place for people to share their experiences.

    • Hello Jane, Thank-you for your message and kind words. You speak aptly of what I refer to as becoming “unneurotypified”, a process of finding your Aspergirl self and embracing it, rather than “faking”, “passing” or “pretending” and you are to be commended. Your words about the social hierarchy are true for an Aspergirl. Aspergirls are indeed wired differently, have different preferences, focuses and needs. Stay true to yourself and all the best.

  49. Hi, Tania.
    I was diagnosed late 29, but I’m sure if I wasn’t misdiagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, at 19, I might have been properly assessed sooner.
    Your article is well written. I was wondering if it might be helpful for you to know that I have a couple things I would like to share… While I agree with everything (and I mean that), especially the note of obsessing/studying/acting social behaviours, and being quiet, I struggle a different way sometimes.
    I tend to be characterized as “bold”, “talkative/socially magnetic”, and “loud”.. I stand out, I suppose. I didn’t think much of it in earlier years, but when someone brought it up that I was really outgoing it surprised me to the point where I reflected on that view. I found out I appear this way to others, even though I’m quite an introvert. It’s because I do not usually want other people to talk, because then I have to listen (socially appropriate thing to do when people are talking), and since its probable I’m not interested in what they have to say – I’d have to feign interest with my face and body, and say things back — these things are near impossible for me to pull off. So I try and do all the talking or keep the conversation about something I’m into, so that I don’t get too exhausted trying to BE around people AND on top of that pretend to be interested and/or socially appropriate. That is hard enough to do when I am interested in a topic.
    … I just lost the rest of my letter when i tried to log in to comment. im really mad now.
    So I’ll try remember the rest but I’m writing it in note form.
    – the above method is alternative to staying true to my desire for quiet: I fall off the social/conversation grid because I struggle to manage multiple people taking turns talking about the topic, with tracking their facial expressions to potential mood and contributing with the conversation and my own body language communication. Doing that is simply too overwhelming to successfully accomplish often.
    Hope the information is useful in understanding how some Aspie women might appear extrovert and not be, or appear dominating in the social scene, when they don’t understand why someone would think them so socially competent/confident.

    I don’t like groups very often, but I’m never having a social function where people aren’t saying to me that when I’m in a room, I’m the centre, captivating, refreshing, entertaining, authentic etc. it’s surprising to hear this each time, because I feel the experience so much different than that.

    body language and verbal trends (cliche learning/common response phrases) something I was somewhat obsessive about as a child, and currently.

    I followed your blog. Keep up good articles like this.

    Rebekah – Canada.

    • Hello generationbexx, thank-you for your interesting message. There are definitely sub-types of Aspergirls and I will be blogging about this more in the future. Aspergers tend to be a condition of extremes, for example, while one aspergirl might be quite and not say much, another may be talkative, louder and/or more extraverted. Yet both girls have similar difficulties within the same domains, so they are both diagnosed with Aspergers. Thank-you for taking the time to write again after you lost some of your work. Frustrating indeed! All the best.

  50. Thank you for this. I am 41, and suspected Asperger’s a couple of years ago when I heard someone talk about it on a business podcast (of all things). I was the quiet, shy, “gifted” girl at the FRONT of the class who hid in books at recess instead of playing with friends.

    I was a finger-sucker until grade school, and after being bribed and punished to quit, I learned to do it in secret. I would rub the neckline seams of my t-shirts (“rubby shirt”) also, habitually, and did this until well into my 20s as a self-stim/comfort measure – although I shifted to using the bottom seam so I could hide the evidence.

    I was sent to magnet schools for gifted and troubled kids, and sometimes wondered which one I was! I often worked above grade level and my test scores were always 90th percentile or better. I had a “weird” hobby – collecting and showing model horses, and model (or fantasy) horse racing, which involved a lot of list-making, pedigree research, and creativity – as well as meaningful social interaction *by mail* and later by email, etc., and I suppose my fellow hobbyists were also “different” like me!

    In college I was painfully shy, even going to a shyness group. This persisted, though, until I got a job where I had to deal with irate customers – and tell them “no”! I learned coping strategies there, and now I’m not so afraid and/or I care less what people think. Also around high school/college I fell into the local music/punk rock scene, which abounded with other “degenerates” like me, lol, and that was a very accepting place to be.

    Another thing that helped me out of my shell was showing horses. I put myself “out there” but the focus was not ME, it was my horse. Showing dogs or rabbits might be a more accessible “therapy” also.

    I hope this helps. I just want to give cyber-hugs to so many of you reply-ers… to the 15 year old, I know how bad it sucks for you right now! But it DOES get better, you learn to cope and capitalize on your strengths, and you are uniquely suited to do whatever you wind up doing! I’m running a few family businesses now, and the incompetence of others (normal folks) just astounds me sometimes. If you’re not a very good employee, you’ll probably be an awesome entrepreneur. 🙂 And you’ll be an awesome mother someday, because you’ll be the kind of mom who researches and makes conscious decisions.

    I’m wondering, though, what is the point of getting a definitive diagnosis of AS as an adult? Besides putting a label on? In the US can you file for Disability, Medicaid, or other social benefits with a diagnosis?

    • Hello Nicole, thank-you for your message. Your story is similar to many that I hear. Asperwomen make fabulous entrepreneurs as they are natural born leaders. Incompetence is a major frustration for Aspies. I was not surprised to hear that you were showing horses. Many asperwomen work with nature and/or animals. The benefits of a formal diagnosis are:
      1. Self-understanding and knowledge
      2. An identity that makes sense
      3. Accessing Support and services
      4. Academic Accomodations
      5. Work Accomodations

      Hope this helps and I have enjoyed all of the replies also. All the best and great job!

  51. I have 2 boys that are on the Spectrum and have asked their doctor if I was the cause since they have different fathers. And was told they aren’t sure yet. I have sometimes wondered if I was on the spectrum myself, due to some of my quirks. I will now make sure that I speak with my doctor and see what she will do.

  52. My faughter diagnosed at 12 yrs old.Exactly how she is descibed.teachers say very clever,grades 99percent,or A grades.Extremely quiet,always follows rules,we never hear her voice,retreats somewhere quiet when upset.preferres to be on ones own.Always reading.When writes,mind of information,never speaks out to prove verbally knows.Her weight a problem.has food sensory,light and noise.Everything has to be perfect.

  53. Hi Tania, the description is so like me – i dont have a dx for aspergers but i have one for BPD. my oldest friend is convinced i have aspergers but there is no adult testing in my area – i have asked my gp
    When i was at school, i was bright, and had violent outbursts when provoked by others – left alone i would work happily, this was in the 80s so i was just labelled as a ‘problem’ child.
    over the past few years i have noticed that i dont ‘behave ‘ like others, i dont like big crowds, but if put into the situation i will stand back and assess before speaking to anyone i dont know, i say things (true things) without thinking and my social ability is low, i cant decipher social cues and often get tongue-tied when put on the spot (think sheldon in big bang when lesley winkle teases him). i dont get lies, and can spend days after a confrontation working out why they said what and what did they mean about it. my bf says i over think these things.
    i was always better with adults and before i left primary school i had a best friend 20yrs my senior, all my friends apart from a 4 friends from school are at least 8 years older than i am. i am highly intelligent and love science esp human biology – im studying with the OU which is great as i can stay at home and communicate with my tutor by skype as and when i need to.
    i cant stand it if my personal routine is disturbed – even if its planned weeks ahead, and can be quite sulky if my bf rearranges things in my flat – goddess knows how its gonna work when we move in together in a couple of months.
    I love my dog and my books and have a talent for sewing and knitting – anything i can do on my own as i dont play well with others.
    do you think my friend is right (we’v known each other for 26 yrs)?

  54. I’m 36, newly diagnosed. I suspected it years ago. I have two sons with autism, I seen myself in them. It’s very hard to maintain relationships. It’s hard for others to understand you. I really wish there were more adult support groups.

    • Lisa, thank-you for your message. The social realm and emotions/stress are two of the biggest struggles for Aspiens. On the flip-side, Aspiens have many strengths, gifts and talents. I encourage you to start an on-going list of all the things you are good at.

  55. Pingback: Veel meisjes met het syndroom van Asperger worden onvoldoende herkendBlog Psychologenpraktijk Marco de Vries

  56. The only woman I have ever really loved died in her home 15 years ago, some ten years after we parted, while being treated for severe depression. I recall her displaying the coping traits shown — just as I did. She was very intelligent, just as I sometimes manage to be. I suspect HFA/ASD was never diagnosed, and neither was mine. From my one marriage, I probably would have made a poor husband, and differences in age and religion made it a hopeless love.

    I wish we had tried. Better she had grown to despise me than end as she did.

    excerpt:
    But then one day love crept into my citadel unseen
    And raised my shutters on a wondrous dream.
    Great openings in all my bastions grew,
    And then, and then, a world came pouring through,
    For he who beauty loves, must know its pain as well,
    Or be condemned indeed to living Hell.

    When I was wounded, then I looked to those who’d learned
    From wounds their own, and how they’d earned,
    The blessings of those that they loved, to heal
    The pain they took upon themselves to feel,
    And counted all my tumbled turrets well thrown down,
    Great bitter stones, to crumble on the ground.

    © [this writer] 2003

  57. My daughter is on the spectrum. Just diagnosed at age 19 with NVLD. In college now age 20. What careers do Aspie women do well in. She is not a math person because of the NVLD, always thinking, loves research, avid reader.

    • I’m a first aid trainer and not particularly good with maths or anything else for that matter but first aid is one of my favourite subjects and as I have a captive audience talking about it isn’t usually too much of an issue either. I do have problems from time to time particularly with female students but overall I enjoy my job and due to travel, new companies and new faces every week I have found my ability to cope with sudden change is far better than it ever used to be. I sometimes get very anxious but overall my sense of purpose and position allow me to get through it. I would suggest your daughter will do best working in a field that she is interested in and if she likes research why not look at a career in it?

    • I recommend taking a look at Temple Grandin’s book on careers. I regularly recommend to individuals and/or their familes to find out what the individuals gifts, talents and/or strengths are and capitalize on those. There is no better anti-depressant in life that to get paid for what you love to do!

  58. I’ve recently been diagnosed with Aspergers, I have Social Anxiety and a ED, I have no talent. Is that weird for someone with Aspergers or maybe they misdiagnosed me? I’m 17 years old..

    • Hello Nik, At 17 years old, we consider that a late diagnosis. I cannot say whether you were misdiagnosed or not. What I do ask individuals is: What are your interests? What are you good at? What do others say you are good at? What did you or do you prefer to spend your time doing? Explore those areas. Many many Aspergirls excel with their intelligence, imagination, creativity, hyperfocus, sense of humour, sense of justice and fairness, determination and strong will, sensitivity, and so on. You will find your talent and your purpose here:-) Take care

      • Thanks for replying. My interests are music, TV shows and horrors. I’m not really good at anything that’s why I’m confused a little. My dad says I know my music and I recently started playing the drums. My psychologist had thought it for awhile before diagnosing me. Okay thanks.

      • Nik, it is quite common for Aspies to excel in music, art, writing, computers, the helping professions, teaching, childcare, animal care. Try and find your passion/gift and turn it into your career. You have lots of time:-)

      • You’re right and thanks. I’m just impatient aha..

        Can Aperger girls not realizing that they’re mimicking others? I used to a have a few friends but I don’t anymore and I don’t know how to act, I hate it.. Last thing, thanks.

  59. Thank you. My dad is an engineer with traits, my sister was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, and I have had a hell of a time in life despite all my best intentions and a very high IQ. Just the other day I read a blog by another girl with Asperger’s as my life was collapsing from melting down due to all the change…and now I see how obvious it has always been and wonder why despite thinking I may have had it for years I waited so long to seek a diagnosis. I believe it is because of chronic invalidation in my personal life and the fear that the analyst would do the same and not believe me because I am a conventionally attractive girl who has learned to fit in sometimes in some ways but still struggles to leave the house at all and graduate because of the difficulties completing a Freshman history class despite doing advanced work in math. I think I am subconsciously afraid of graduating because I have no idea how to deal with the real world and all it’s unpredictability. Ugh. It’s so frustrating. I cannot believe how skewed it all is with only stereotypical Sheldon Cooper types getting diagnoses because of concerned parents or teachers and I have to fight to get this even after all this struggle I’ve already been through from not knowing and trying so hard to fit in… I plan on arriving with a report documenting my whole life up until now and family history including the scientitfically backed cortisol theory and my earliest memories of picking my hands until they bleed (cortisol/dopamine) which continues to this day alongside all the experiential evidence by both myself and my family (who don’t believe me either but when they are asked to recall very specific tendencies like my aversion to change, eye contact, and any fabric other than stretch cotton will align with my theory).

    • I know it sucks, I think that if you find one person who supports you that you can take with you when you’re getting you’re diagnosis it could help, also a good specialist in this area to support you.
      all my love,
      Mwiche

  60. Hi Tania, thanks for the information. The above information hits home, i was a late diagnosis and even now as an adult and sucessful business woman i still feel very much isolated as i dare not be myself unless i am at home. I don’t like to socialise, am a work aholic and am so exhausted come 4pm every day. It is a cold hard place to be that not many ppl seem to understand. It is like when i live my house that i am a character in a play and having to pretend to be someone else. Thanks

    • Hello Tanya, thank-you for your message. You accurately describe what it is like for many Aspienwomen. I know many Aspiens just like yourself. Socializing is exhausting. Focus on your strengths, gifts and talents. You certainly describe the “acting” part well and it likes like you may have what I call “social exhaustion” or “social hangovers”. Kudos to you for being a successful business woman:-)

  61. I have thought for a few years now that I may have Asperger’s syndrome. What I thought were just little bits of me started making a huge amount of sense as I not only started reading into autism and Asperger’s (an ex boyfriends son had Asperger’s so I wanted to know more about it) that I started to understand that all those little bits of me that no one seemed to be able to cope with or want to acknowledge fitted into a known condition. Still, I didn’t go for a formal diagnosis because I didn’t see the need but also because some things didn’t quite fit and I was scared I would be told I didn’t have it and I wouldn’t know where to go from there. I’ve just read the above article and it not only has filled in the missing pieces it has confirmed my decision this morning to finally book an appointment with my GP to get a referral. I normally cope but the last few weeks I have seen every aspect of my life turned upside down for totally different reasons. I have no stability and therefore no escape from change. As a result I have felt increasingly isolated, anxious and literally not coping and for the sake of my family, my marriage and my own health I need to get some sense out of this and understand why its affecting me so much. It amazing how much you can apply intelligence into coping so much so that even those closest to you don’t realize what is going on underneath it all. I wish more had been understood about Asperger’s when I was at school as it not only would have helped me understand myself it may have allowed both fellow students and teachers to appreciate how difficult every day life was for me and why I hated social interaction so much. I hated being forced to work with people who bullied me and isolated me because they didn’t know what to make of me. Trouble is, although there is better understanding now it is still very clear that schools do not know how to cope with a child with Asperger’s let alone help fellow students understand. For those with children with Asperger’s there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am 43 and whilst on my second marriage I have 3 wonderful children who have grown up to be decent hard working individuals. I have also completed a degree (Open University means you don’t have to cope with all those awkward social interactions and they help with time management by giving you a study calendar and suggestions when to start, complete and hand in assignments) and work full time. You can live and thrive with Asperger’s but having a formal diagnosis will help me come to terms with it myself. Self diagnosis shows I have a very high probability of having Asperger’s and has done so every time I have looked at them.

  62. I got diagnosed when I was 25, when I got a meltdown and “confessed” I feared I had autism to my family. This pretty much describes me. I’m of the reflexive type, so I used a lot of diferent social strategies over my life, with not much sucess, until I knew what I had (AS, severe depression and anxiety because of that, and mild prosopagnosia and alexitimia… remembering faces is hell, and I only got conscious of the panic attacks when I read the symptoms). Just by reading about AS and feeling I was being described, I got over thoseproblems, and now I can make social interactions at an almost normal level. I’m still a walking book, get nervous because of small things, get angry when a fact is wrong (you tell me a wrong science fact, and probably I’ll get quite mad), and get messy with everyday stuff, but I managed to finish my career, to make really good friends, and to work in a place that I like. After all I went through, those are huge steps, and I feel quite proud of my AS, and the way I manage it. Knowing about asperger is something that gives an incredible peace of mind. At first you feel scared and broken, sure, but then you can read the problems, and act out how to hide them to the public!

    • Hello Alhna, thank-you for your awesome post. I believe knowlege and self-understanding can help alot, as you stated. I am very proud of you and you certainly have made huge steps. I view Aspiengirls and Aspienwomen as true SUPERHEROS, because they wear cloaks of invisibility (no-one knows the depths of theirr struggles) and they have to work harder than their peers to be or appear to be “normal”. I wish you all the best:-)

  63. Hi Tania! When my niece was diagnosed with AS years ago, she is now 20, I did some research on it and I realized that I have so many of the symptoms of it too. It hit me deep in my heart to realize these things about myself! FINALLY!! I think my brother and dad have it also. I’m now 51 years old and have gone to a few psychologists to get a diagnosis and one of the psychologists, who was supposedly knew a lot about AS, told me she thought I didn’t have it because I looked people in the eyes when I talked. I told her that it was something I learned to do as I got older. She told me that a person with AS doesn’t learn to do that. I’m seeking help in getting a diagnosis! Can you please give me any guidance? 🙂

    • Hi Lorrie, I do provide diagnostic assessments via Skype to adults all over the world, if you are interested? I closely follow Professor Tony Attwood’s process and it does not take a long time. Females can and do make eye contact adn also can socialize, just for not as long. Adults with Aspergers are able to develop many coping strategies (some helpful and some unhelful), are able to act, mask and make eye contact. All the best.

      • Can you get me in touch with someone in my area that could diagnose me and talk to me? I would love to talk with you but I don’t have Skype. I live in Russellville, Arkansas. Thanks!

  64. I’m almost 35, and I feel like I fit all of these except for the quiet non-social. I’m more the talkative social butterfly and find myself being very interested in everything others are doing. My husband has stated many times that everything but the quiet non-social fits me. We also have an 8 year old son who was diagnosed by the school as being high functioning autism, though, they attribute part of that due to his being two months premature. What I would like to know is, do you have to fit *all* criteria to fit in the category? I did once get an official diagnosis of bi-polar manic hyper and wondering if there is anything to it or if they just have similar symptoms. They suggested that if I wanted to sleep and have better quality of life that they can prescribe me depakote. After seeing many people on it, I would much rather go with only 3-4 hours a sleep a night on average. I don’t have downs most of the time, and when I do, it can get crazy. Almost like one of our son’s meltdowns rather than a down swing.

    • Hello Carrie, thank-you for your message. You do not have to fit all the criteria. Research also shows tha many individuals with Autism produce less melatonin. I do think it’s critical for you to get more sleep, learn to regulate your emotions and make environmental changes to your environment so that it as “calming” as possible. I do know of adults with Aspergers who have a diagnosis of both AS and Bi-Polar. All people with Aspergers have trouble regulating their emotions to some degree, some have mild issues and others have severe issues with their emotions. All the best!

  65. Thank you so much for writing this article. I know now since becoming aware of what autism is since my son is mid to low functioning, that I have grown up with Aspergers. I taught myself in high school, through a process that made sense to me, to make a close friend. I have learned to hide my social anxiety very well, and how to focus by prioritizing and quickly mulit-task when a lot is going on around me. I used to block all sound out when I was very young. I did not do this on purpose, but it usually happened, for example, if I turned my back on my family at the mall and lost them even though they would call me and wonder why I did not hear them or see them. It was the ability to separate myself from a scary and anxious situation into a world of calm and great hopes and faith that all would be good. My focus was to be the best in whatever I did and not what others did so I did not have any close friends and that did not seem to matter to me until later. Adults were completely foreign to me as I could not relate to them in any way. Later in my late teen years I became so aware of people and their behaviors that I could meet somebody for the first time and tell what kind of upbringing they had, or what somebody was going to do or say next, and why. And I always knew the proper response. I was able to answer 5th grade questions while in the 2nd grade because of my sharp sense of logic and reasoning. I think because I did not have to filter out so much social interaction that this made logic and reasoning clearly easier to see. I ended up in a greatly deep depression just after high school where nothing seemed real at all, and I could not feel anything but fear, and I knew the night before I lost myself, that it was going to happen. When I woke up the next morning, I woke up terrified and it seemed as if I did not sleep at all, but rather merely blinked. I ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and could not recognize myself at all. I never told anybody because I was too paranoid and I hid it even though just going to the store was mentally exhausting and emotionally terrifying. Finally in my 40’s I thought I had depression and the first medicine I took finally allowed me to go out without any anxiety for the first time since I was 10 years old. I had to get off of it because it made me too tired. I learned pretty much all of my social skills from movies, observing, and learning what the best response would be according to how I wanted somebody to feel. I never used my ability to hurt anybody unless they were blatantly hateful then I might tell them, specifically and very personally, why they were so insecure. Today I am finally able to comfortably be myself most of the time while not on any medication because of the knowledge I now have about autism with my 8 year old since he was diagnosed at 4, and the medications I have tried while learning about their effects, and my four year old neuro-typical son that is so talkative and both sons so unconditionally loving. But most of all because I have known God personally from the age of 4 when I first started talking and in sentences and could always hear Him, not verbally, but God showing me so clearly why things happened and that it would all turn out good. Life was a grand adventure until I turned 10 and went into a mild depression, mild compared to the depression I went into when I was 18 and lost my ability to see step by step the perfect way to the desired goal for any situation. Sorry for so much talking. Thank you very much for writing this.

  66. I totally know how this feel, I was diagnosed a year ago (I am now 21) and Asperger Syndrome has become a very difficult thing for me. I’ve battled depression on and off for 7 years and am thankfully now seeking AS-orientated help for both me and my husband. Thanks to your article he now realises that we both need help, not just me.

    • Hello Jessica and thank-you for your message. Depression can certainly creep up and I recommend some relapse prevention work (for depression) in addition to understanding your social limits and focusing on your gifts, talents and strengths.

  67. 34 self diagnosed for about 5 years and working on a formal diagnosis so my family stops pestering me to just be NT.

    • Hello Shannon, it is quite common for me to hear stories about “other people” trying to change Aspiens, get them to be more social, fit it and so on. Be yourself, find out what your gofts, talents and strengths are and Be Your Own Superhero:-)

  68. This article perfectly described my daughter who is 10. We are in the process of getting an assessment done. But I have no doubts that she will be diagnosed with Aspergers. Although I always knew something was different about my daughter she was always perfectly behaved in school and outside the home and would often be a terror when she came home. Teachers would sit her beside the “troublemakers” because she had the ability to tune them out. I realize now that must have been exhausting for her! I have noticed seasonal changes in her as well. Spring and fall are generally worse. It wasn’t until this last fall when she started becoming destructive and physical with her anger that we knew we needed professional help. We are now all seeing a clinical councillor who has helped a lot with coping strategies for my daughter as well as giving us guidance of how to help her instead of making the situation more difficult for her. I am actually looking forward to a diagnosis now after reading all of the comments here rather than being scared. Knowing that we can help her be happy and provide the right tools for her to be her true self is a big relief (I’ve been so terrified of when the teenage years hit). So thank you for all your work – it is making a difference!

    • Hello Jennifer and thank-you for your message. The teenage years can be tricky for anyone, but especially for those with Autism/Aspergers. I do hope she receives a formal diagnosis and the appropriate intervention and/or support. All the best!

  69. Hi. You have described my daughter to a t however she is not the quiet one but the outgoing in your face one with no friends. She is also very attractive and the combination is a nightmare as she gets absolutely no tolerance by others as she appears so capable….these types of kids have no hope…

    • Hi Sarah and thank-you for your message. There are “subtypes” of females with Aspergers/Autism. Your daughter is what I call on “talk overload” versus the “quiet” ones, and as such these two sub-types require very different interventions. I do have to disagree with you though as I believe there is much hope for her with the right support and interventions (social skills training, etc). all the best:-)

  70. Hi I have just read a lot of comments on here and would like to share my experience,I am now 43yrs old and have a son diagnosed Aspergers at 17 he is now 24.I have thought for a long time now I might have the condition,i have gone through hell sometimes for years now and been diagnosed with Clinical depression, Agoraphobia/panic disorder/ Severe social anxiety and Ocd .I have spoken to Clinical psychologists,had numerous chats with my GP and finally had a breakdown in 2010. I then seen a Psychiatrist who noted I had poor eye contact when speaking to him and had been unable to keep friends all my life and suggested seeing my GP about a referral to my local Adult Autism Team, my GP was amused by this saying there was no chance I was Aspergers but referred me anyway last Nov 12, I was finally seen April this year, I attended with my partner of 18 yrs and my son,I had written a lot of notes about childhood until now and gave them to the Clinician,after looking at them she said there was a lot of Autistic Traits there, mainly the structure and also a lot of repetitiveness through the notes and asked me to return a fortnight later as there would be a psychiatrist present and she would have a book to go through to ask a lot of questions,I attended the next time and there was no psychiatrist in the room only her again and no book with her either, she seemed really disinterested at the meeting and put everything I asked her down to Mental Health problems and said I was nowhere on the spectrum which I found really confusing,she then spoke to my son for a few minutes and asked him if he would consider a retest as if it was her she never would have diagnosed him with Aspergers either which he clearly has, I was really angry at the way we were treated,I had waited all that time and hoped I would finally be diagnosed as I know Aspergers fits with me,I am now back to square one.

    • Sandra, I am so sorry to hear about your experience and unfortunately this is not the first time I have heard stories like yours. I believe there may be a similar one from someone else right here on my BLOG? It is often a frustrating a lengthy journey for people trying to formalize their diagnosis. All I can say to you is please do not give up. Keep searching for a professional who specializes in this area that knows their stuff and is professional themselves. Do not give up. A formal diagnosis is well worth it. All the best!

  71. Hello, I just read this article, and I thought to myself, “Wow, this is so me!” And I say this realistically because my mother (Im currently fourteen) plans to have me tested for Aspergers this or next month. And I have to say, when cross-referencing, comparing, and analyzing this article to others, I find this to be one of the more factually-accurate articles I’ve read.
    I say this, because I’ve always been easily obsessed over something (IE, writing, reading, anime, cartoons, etc.), and I found this utterly fascinating. How do you find your info? Do you speak to professional, maybe you ARE a professional, or do you put down from a written book?
    Anyways, this was very enlightening, so thank you for taking the time to write this!
    -KK, 14

    • Hello KK and thank-you so much for your message and comments regarding my BLOG. I am a professional who has worked in the area of Autism for many years. I specialize in Asperger Sydnrome, in particular the female profile and am writing a series of books on this topic. All the information in my BLOGS comes from clinical, anecdotal and research evidence. I assess, diagnose, support and talk to Aspiengirls (and their families) on a daily basis in my private practice. All the best”-)

  72. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome a few days ago.
    I am a 13 year old girl. I always would consider myself “Socially Awkward” and could only appear “normal” when my friend was there. It took me almost a year to get used to having even two close friends. I remember just sitting quietly in the back of the group and looking at what they would do. Then after I thought I understood how to interact with this one group in specific I would slowly start to talk. But I would always stay “The Quiet One”. When I was little I remember my Grandma and Uncles always going up to my Mom and asking why I never looked them in the eye. They said that I wouldn’t show any emotion. My big brother would say things like “Ray? When did the devil claim your soul?” I still don’t know how to accept a compliment or a gift. Other kids would sometimes come up to me and ask “what’s wrong? You look sad?” or “What happened? You look mad?”
    I hated it. I also have terrible motor skills. My hand writing is terrible. I can’t play ANY kind of sports. PE is hell for me because I have to socially interact with people and be a part of a team if we play a game and I have to try to put my terrible motor skills to use. However, I was always amazing at writing and reading. In first grade, I wrote a one paragraph essay and my teacher would always ask me how I knew how to spell words like “technology”. My memory is also above average. I can memorize phone numbers after seeing it just once. My teachers would have me tested for a gifted program because of my high attention to detail. I’m just wondering if the social aspect of this is going to make it so I can never really get to put my above average skills to use.

    • Hello, thank-you for your message. What I recommend to Aspiens is to find out what your gifts, talents and/or strengths are, for those are your strengths. Social skills for Aspiens are, generally speaking, a weakness. Having said that though, Aspiens are exceptionally good one-on-one or presenting TO a group, not socializing within a group. I know many Aspiens who make great teachers, nurses, psychologists, doctors, psychiatrists, artists, actors, and I could go on, but I have some books to write:-) Thank-you for your message. All the best!

  73. Pingback: Friendship | Anne (Thiele) Rasenberger

  74. I have self diagnosed (age 55), but want to be formally diagnosed so my mother can stop telling me that I am just an attention-seeker!! Have been told this all my life. A diagnosis would explain a lot to myself and to family members.

    • Hello Jennifer, I believe in formal diagnosis at any age. I have personlly assessed and diagnosed individuals on the Spectrum from very very young to late 60’s. There are many more benefits to an adult diagnosis than not. Take care:-)

  75. Hi, I’m 15 and I think I may have asperger syndrome, I read through everything and it seems to match up with me but I don’t want to misdiagnose myself because I always thought of myself as socially awkward and that I liked to be alone way too much. I can never make friends and don’t like new situations and can be quiet at times, I remember being little and my classmates would always say “why do you only talk about Marty Starr and Musonda” (my two friends I made outside of school) and I would always talk too much around the people I was comfortable with because I didn’t know when to stop and they’d be irritated by me (this is still the case with me) and to my friends I played with I’d seem bossy or conceited because I’d only talk about things that I was interested in. I got older and in about the 6th grade I was bullied and the way I would deal was through watching anime and through that I would live in this “fantasy”world in my thoughts and it was literally all I would do outside of school and because my mom worked I’d spend a lot of time alone which made me happy and whenever house guests came (family members that I always knew) would come over I would want them to leave. In the 7th grade I moved a town over and I couldn’t look people in the eye and other kids would always ask “are you sad? what’s wrong?” and I was always the “quiet”kid from then because I would only watch the other kids talk and wouldn’t know how to enter conversation, In the 8th grade I made close friends and I found that hard to get used to and at times I would be quiet because I was worn out from talking and they’d ask me “what’s wrong”. In 9th grade my friends went to different schools than me and I felt a lot of anxiety when it came to social situations, I didn’t want to see my friends after not seeing them in so long and eventually got depression that school year.
    Sorry I wrote a lot I just want to give you a picture

    A few random facts:
    I have always had bad motor skills I was and am bad at sports

    I have a very good memory I can remember things from when I was a toddler and memorize license plate numbers

    I don’t like meeting new people

    I have trouble getting used to new schedules

    I like alone time to myself

    I was always good at reading and have good vocabulary because I
    was really interested in learning it when I was younger

    My friends and people around me tell me I act like a little kid (not intentionally) but I guess it’s the way I am

    Even though I enjoyed being with my friends, social situations tire me and I need a break to be alone

    I tend to give off personal details about myself, to acquaintances when I don’t know what to say

    I’m not sure I’m correct but, I picture social situations and what I’m going to say before I say it

    I remember when I was young maybe about 4 my mom wanted me to get tested and asked my doctor but he said I was fine

    Thanks for listening it’d mean a lot if you could help me out even though this was a lot I just want to be formally diagnosed IF I have it, I think I may have it because I’ve been reading about girls with it and I can relate to most if not all of it.
    oh and last school year I got depression

  76. Do any othere AS women out there have difficulties in relationships? I have been married twice and it’s not ging well. We have a child on the spectrum also.

  77. I’m 35 this July, and have just recently figured out that all of my problems in the past (bullied incessantly throughout school, few friends, rejected by adoptive family for being “a difficult child” & kicked out at 17, being labelled “borderline” due to “anger issues” and losing my daughter, chronic homelessness, inability to keep a job) were due to Asperger’m not sure how much of a help it really is to know,.since I can’t get a job / haven’t worked since 2011. Working didn’t matter as much before I met my bf; he works his ass off and I feel like a total mooch. That and I feel like the relationship is doomed because i’m in it. I have a very hard time accepting that he loves me because I was abused by my adoptive mother for years and now have serious trust issues and PTSD.
    Sorry, I’m ranting.

  78. Hi, I’m 15 and I think I may have asperger syndrome, I read through everything and it seems to match up with me but I don’t want to misdiagnose myself because I always thought of myself as socially awkward and that I liked to be alone way too much. I can never make friends and don’t like new situations and can be quiet at times, I remember being little and my classmates would always say “why do you only talk about Marty Starr and Musonda” (my two friends I made outside of school) and I would always talk too much around the people I was comfortable with because I didn’t know when to stop and they’d be irritated by me (this is still the case with me) and to my friends I played with I’d seem bossy or conceited because I’d only talk about things that I was interested in. I got older and in about the 6th grade I was bullied and the way I would deal was through watching anime and through that I would live in this “fantasy”world in my thoughts and it was literally all I would do outside of school and because my mom worked I’d spend a lot of time alone which made me happy and whenever house guests came (family members that I always knew) would come over I would want them to leave. In the 7th grade I moved a town over and I couldn’t look people in the eye and other kids would always ask “are you sad? what’s wrong?” and I was always the “quiet”kid from then because I would only watch the other kids talk and wouldn’t know how to enter conversation, In the 8th grade I made close friends and I found that hard to get used to and at times I would be quiet because I was worn out from talking and they’d ask me “what’s wrong”. In 9th grade my friends went to different schools than me and I felt a lot of anxiety when it came to social situations, I didn’t want to see my friends after not seeing them in so long and eventually got depression that school year.
    Sorry I wrote a lot I just want to give you a picture

    A few random facts:
    I have always had bad motor skills I was and am bad at sports

    I have a very good memory I can remember things from when I was a toddler and memorize license plate numbers

    I don’t like meeting new people

    I have trouble getting used to new schedules

    I like alone time to myself

    I was always good at reading and have good vocabulary because I
    was really interested in learning it when I was younger

    My friends and people around me tell me I act like a little kid (not intentionally) but I guess it’s the way I am

    Even though I enjoyed being with my friends, social situations tire me and I need a break to be alone

    I tend to give off personal details about myself, to acquaintances when I don’t know what to say

    I’m not sure I’m correct but, I picture social situations and what I’m going to say before I say it

    I remember when I was young maybe about 4 my mom wanted me to get tested and asked my doctor but he said I was fine

    Thanks for listening it’d mean a lot if you could help me out even though this was a lot I just want to be formally diagnosed IF I have it, I think I may have it because I’ve been reading about girls with it and I can relate to most if not all of it.
    oh and last school year I got depression

  79. Hi! After my 4 year old son was diagnosed with Asperger’s about a month ago, I too realized I have it. I have become obsessed with research and knowing everything I can about it. I have had a long hard 28 years of “faking it” to fit in. I was quiet, naive and taken advantage of a lot when I was young. I don’t like being around groups of people I don’t know. In social situations I am so anxious I even shake and grind my teeth. I also suffer with anxiety and depression. My anxiety is worse at night when i am left to my thoughts. I have become obsessed with plucking my hair out. My eyebrows are always overly plucked and I pull hairs out of my arms and legs as well. I have only ever been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Doctors always just want to medicate me, but i can’t deal with the side effects and feeling emotionless and numb so I don’t take meds anymore. I get anxiety about going doctors offices and hospitals so sometimes i just don’t show up to my appointments out of fear. I don’t like driving because it requires me to multitask and that is not one of my strong suits. I got my license when i was 21 and i can drive with a lot of concentration, but If i can just stay home, I choose to do that instead of going out. My Daughter turned 3 in April and I have been noticing red flags. She reminds me of myself so much. Already at 3 she is taking other’s identities. When she has a conversation with me she goes on and on about things she has seen on TV, but pretends that it is her story and that those things happened to her. She also takes conversations and stories she hears from adults and her siblings and makes them her own. She is already mimicking at 3! I keep encouraging her to tell me her own stories and ask her what she likes and what she is interested in. I tell her she doesn’t have to like what her siblings like and do what they do. I don’t want her to lose her own identity like I did as a child. I had no idea who i was and I always copied the other girls to try to fit in. She also lines up her toys, stacks things, and has an obsession with packing things into purses, bags, and containers. When she plays dolls she also repeats things she has heard on TV or from others. There is no imaginative play. She doesn’t seem to have any sensory issues like my son and i but, I am fairly certain she also has Aspergers. My father and all three of my brothers also have Aspergers. Should I get her evaluated now or should I wait to see how she does in school next year? She has significant behavioral problems and I suspect she also has ODD. I’m worried that since we live in a small town, the doctors around here will not diagnose her because she does not have the typical male Aspergers traits or obvious sensory issues.

    • As a woman who was diagnosed as being on the spectrum when I was an infant, I’ve always done the opposite; go out whenever possible, I even drive, etc., and to mingle with people, go to parties, etc. (although I also like my privacy as well.), and take classes along with NT people, because I believe that it’s my world as much as it is everybody else’s, if one gets the drift.

  80. Hi sorry I keep commenting on here, but I’m 15 and want to get formally diagnosed I don’t want to seem crazy and just say that “I have Aspergers” because I have been reading info and I wouldn’t lie about it. I want to come out and say I want to get tested but I’m afraid that my mom won’t believe me and I don’t know to go about asking per say, PLEASE help me I wouldn’t lie about something like this. I also feel that because I’m not a boy and don’t do the things that males with AS do that I won’t get diagnosed, and I’ve noticed from reading online and stuff like that that females get diagnosed pretty late and it being more recognized in males because they have the “tell-tale” signs, I know I can’t go off of profile so I want a chance to get a formal diagnosis.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me out here I’d be very thankful

    • Mwiche,
      I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your mother, but why don’t you look at this website with her? At least it will start a discussion. She may not agree you have Asperger’s, but she shouldn’t deny how you feel and what you tell her you experience. In Canada, you are an adult at age 16 in the mental health system and can book your own assessment anyway.
      You go off profile whenever you want, girl!

      • Thanks we’re not very close but I’ll try to subtly hint at it and I guess I should take the advice I was given by Leigh (Life on The Spectrum) to not get defensive when people don’t believe me

  81. This is so interesting, thanks for the article. I want to know: How do you get formally diagnosed ? I am 40. What is the test called for women in my age ?

  82. Had my first appointment yesterday with community mental health team to move towards a diagnosis. What a waste of time. Nurse said she knew nothing about aspergers but wanted to refer me to cbt for help with coping. All my problems are faced by everyone accordin to her but instead of looking at them as a triad she looked at them individually. Really helpful. Said I didn’t need counselling I just wanted answers. Took a lot of persuasion but she eventually agreed to pass my file onto the community psychologist but said it could take some time to get an appointment. She still wanted me to go to cbt instead. I want answers not counselling. It’s not going to change who I am or how I am I just want to know why I’m like this. Hopefully the psychologist will know something about aspergers and better still how it affects women.

  83. Hi,
    My husband and I have an 18 year old daughter who we believe was misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression. She has been taking medication and has seen several therapists for both disorders for four years with no change. Everyone seems to want to treat what they see, not what is causing it. As educators, my husband and I suggested Aspergers, but because of her age (14 at the time) and gender we were told that it was highly unlikely. Over the years everything about her keeps telling us it’s Aspergers. We came across your blog while doing a search for information about why doctors tend to not diagnosis Aspergers in girls. The information that we read on your site sounds like you are describing her. We are more convinced now than ever that we are on the right track with her. You mentioned books to one person. Do you know of any books that we can read that can help us understand how to better help her and help us live with her. Thank you

    • Hi Sandy, thank-you for message. We know now that many more females than were originally thought, actually do have Asperger Syndrome. It is most common for teenage girls to receive diagnoses of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bi-polar, for e.g., in terms of the “presenting issues”, with the overall “umbrella condition” of Asperger Sydnrome is missed. I would recommend the following books/resources, as a start:

      Aspergers, Autism & Girls, Understanding and Appreciating the Female Perspective, by Professor Tony Attwood, Future Horizons Inc., DVD.
      Asperger’s and Girls, Featuring Professor Tony Attwood, Temple Grandin et. al, Future Horizons, 2006
      Parenting Girls on the Austism Spectrum. Overcoming the Challenging and Celebrating the Gifts, by Eileen Riley-Hall, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012
      Girls Growing up on the Autism Spectrum. What Parents and Professionals Should Know about the Pre-Teen Years and Teenage Years. By Shana Nichols, Gina Marie Moravcik and Samara Pulver Tetenbaum, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009
      Safety Skills for Asperger Women. How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life, By Liane Holliday Willey, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012
      The Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe With Men: The Unwritten Safety Rules No-one Is Telling You, by Debi Brown, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2013

      I hope you find these helpful. All the best.

  84. Hi, I’m 15 and I think I may have asperger syndrome, I’ve been reading about aspergers in females and it seems to match up with me but I don’t want to misdiagnose myself because I always thought of myself as just awkward that I was just a loner. I remember I was always quiet and would watch people before I felt okay to join in conversation and would only talk when I had something to say but for the most part just be quiet but whenever I did (do) talk I would end up talking too much and would get irritated expressions from people, and after I’d feel drained like “I should have remained quiet”and sometimes when I said things people would take them offensively and who ever baby sat me would say I was a problem. I got older and in about the 6th grade I was bullied(I was always picked on since I can remember) and the way I would deal was through watching anime and through that I would live in this “fantasy”world in my thoughts whenever I was alone and it was literally all I would do outside of school and I remember talking wore me out for example I remember taking a trip to my aunt and uncle’s house in Colorado for spring break and I couldn’t hold eye contact and didn’t want to talk and they thought I was disrespectful, I even made my cousin uncomfortable . In the 7th grade I moved a town over and I was in a new situation away from familiar faces and couldn’t look people in the eye and other kids would always ask “are you sad? what’s wrong?” and I was always the “quiet”In the 8th grade I made close friends and I found that hard to get used to because I was worn out socially tried and I guess you could say I always focused on them but I always tried to be as “normal” but was always afraid they’d see how I really am. In 9th grade my friends went to different schools than me and I was worn out socially and even got depression that school year.
    Sorry I wrote a lot I just want to give you a picture
    I wouldn’t lie about something like this and do want a formal diagnosis and I wouldn’t use something like aspergers as an excuse or crutch, but I wouldn’t know where to go for a diagnosis and feel as though my mom won’t believe me, if I get a diagnosis and it comes out true I won’t go blurting it out but I wouldn’t know how to deal with people not believing me.. I’m sorry this was lengthy, please please tell me what I should do, I don’t know how to come out and ask my mom.

    • I’m in the same boat as you! I’ve thought that maybe I was autistic for years, (since I was really young) and never really told many people. I think that maybe you should do some more research (I’m still researching, the same information), maybe ask your mom subtly. Or even hint to her that you may be an Aspie. That’s what I’ve been doing…but I’m not very good at it! I hope you find a proper diagnosis. However, I’ve also read that many female AS are self-diagnosed (especially adults). I hope this helps! And no matter what happens, remember that you are special in God’s eyes 🙂

      • Thanks is it alright if I email you here’s mine: beauty8010@yahoo.com. I’ve doing my research and I’ve advice from someone who runs an aspie site but I’m just not OK to self-diagnose, and I’ll try to subtly hint

  85. Pingback: ASPERGER SYNDROME IN GIRLS AND WOMEN: KEEPING UP APPEARANCES AND MISSED DIAGNOSIS | A P D iva

  86. I have a 13 y.o. Daughter and I have thought she had aspergers for years. Recently I have seen the social aspect becoming a problem. So much like this article she hangs back on the edge of the group and doesn’t give much input. She seems to not feel sure of herself even with her best friend. She also can be obsessive on certain topics and becomes more pronounced when her life is not well ordered. There is so much more but because she keeps to herself no one else sees what I see. The melt downs because shedding get to do an algebra problem at school or its testing time so therefore her school schedule is different everyday. Getting her to eat is a problem too. She is very limited in what she eats and won’t try new things. I could on. Any advice as where to get the correct help we need. We live in the Cinn, Oh. Area. Ad yes we have childrens but that does not mean you always get the correct help. Thanks Bev.

    • Hi, we have a 13 year old boy asperger. He also has similar problems that you have mention on your daughter. You must be patient with her. This summer my son can put his head in the water and can go to the movies. There are other fobias that he has but to me this is a step forward.
      We pray every day and from time to time talk about things that bother him. At the age of 4 he only had chicken nuggets, now
      most everything we eat he eats. But there are still goals to meet
      in many other areas. Just be patient. Prayer helps alot.

  87. I think I may have Asperger’s Syndrome, but I don’t know of where to find an official list of symptoms and what kind of doctor I would need to see in order to be checked for this. I have read about varying symptoms and a lot of them seem to fit me. Moreover, what do I do if I get a confirmed diagnosis?

    • Hello Angela, thank-you for your message. If you identify with many of the characteristics/traits in my list, you may have female Asperger Syndrome. I highly recommend seeing someone who specializes in this particular area. Having said that, there are few trained professionals in this area. I am aware of some professionals, including myself who provide diagnostic assessment services. I spend quite a bit of time discussing with clients the “What next?” phase after a diagnosis which may or may not include discussing: social, emotional, career, recommended resources, and so on.

  88. Hi all, I am a 26 yr old single mother of one with a long history and depression and anxiety that has pushed most of my family away and broken many otherwise healthy romantic relationships. My earliest memories are the extreme physical pain I would get when the family would watch television and a dramatic of confrontational scene would come on and to get away I would bury my head in the sofa or hide. I remained withdrawn for many years and a little bit backwards until my teens, the reason I believe nothing was picked up on was because both my parents were neglectful and abusive. I learned to fit in in secondary school and how to become feminine as its kinda like I thought I was a boy before as I was very interested in nature and insects when I was young. Although I had friends at school I was mildly bullied and my nerves and anxiety were so bad that I started to regularly self harm and cut myself to deal with it. Loud noises would upset me and specially my mum shouting constantly, I would come home from school so tired I would go to bed and my family begun to say I was moody and selfish. I eventually moved out of home and since have had a string of bad relationships due to my naive and trusting nature being taken advantage of and my tantrums and meltdowns which are seen as others by me being ‘dramatic’ or ‘unstable’. I used to escape when I was young with reading and still enjoy this. I am obsessive about animals and nature and since owning my greyhound puppy my mood swings have improved, I prefer animals to people and often feel only my own problems matter. I also enjoy factual documentaries on subjects such as WW1 and WW2. I have been on anti depressants for three years which has helped so much but never really felt depressed as sometimes I’m really happy and active, its more constant anxiety of being misunderstood by everyone. I only found out about asperger’s a year ago and went to the doctor but he immediatly dismissed that I have it because he said I look him in the eye but I do normally tend to ignore someone when they tell me things as my mind wanders and I can’t concentrate at watching them and listening to what they are saying and make sense of it. My question is does this sound like I may have aspergers? Thankyou xxx

    • Hello Tania and thank-you for your message. Your brief autiobiography does contain some of the hallmark characteristics or traits that I so often hear from adult women. However, a formal diagnostic assessment is necessary to explore this further. Hope that helps?

    • Hi Tania
      I hear what you are saying, and I hope that you are ok for the present time, I am a mother of 4 adult children and 6 grandchildren I am in my early 50 s and my youngest daughter is 26 years old and has Aspergers diagnosed at 23 years same thing doctor told us she looks me in the eye????? has pissed off all her siblings and had a very bad relationship with meeting a male on the net and resulted in a horrific assault. I feel for you and want to say your doing ok and keep your shoulders up and move forward, our 26 year old daughter lives with her dad and myself at home, and cant find a job, had done volunteer work and misunderstands things etc etc it goes on we have had 2 major meltdowns from her in the last 7 days and as a parent you are riding alone, the community mental health team she is under that does not help one bit her nurse has just turned 80 yes 80 not a misprint not married never had a child and treats her like a granddaughter OMG!! well I wont go on about the Dr, even my brothers have their wifes have had her stay and its resulted in drama saying she is a spoilt brat!!!! she suffers from OCD to do with her body so you can imagine how many drs and specialist we have seen, she has mass anxiety attacks and depression and panic attacks and the list goes on, loves animals gets them and we end up doing the work and taking care of the animals she is currently trying to study for animal health, at the Uni near us. well just thinking of you can keep smiling and move forward because you are a wonderful person and I say will all the problems we have she is our Aspie Girl and love her heaps take care and maybe chat soon. xx 🙂 Cherylanne

      • Hi Cherylanne, thankyou so much for your kind message, I am doing OK on my own although it’s sometimes hard. My biggest problem is the lack of support from anyone close to me as they refuse to believe I may have aspergers, they seem to think I want attention and tell me to snap out of my depression which I feel is kinda like telling a person in a wheelchair to just get up and walk. I found out today that when my mother was young she used to be abnormal as she would not play with her dolls she would just line them all up around the room, she also had imaginary friends and OCD with things like tying her shoelaces a certain was, this does not surprise me atall as I suspect I get the aspergers from her side of the family. She was also sexually abused alot as a young girl. All I want is for those close to me to have a little understanding as when I have crying fits and depression and drift away from them it’s not because I don’t care but sometimes can’t reach out to them so they are left resentful that they are always making the effort. I am very very good at not showing my sensitive emotions in public as I have learned that people label me as a ‘freak’ the only people who see my meltdowns are my boyfriends who often leave me as they are confused and think its there fault. One thing I am thankful for is that my son is NT and very confident and outgoing and not distant like I was as a child. Would love to chat to you more. I am from Kent in the UK. xxxx

      • Hi Tania, I am in Auckland New Zealand I yes you are right its like telling a person in a wheelchair not to have the wheelchair, I am here any time you feel you would like to chat Tania if it takes me a couple of days to reply don’t wori its just that I haven’t checked my email I am glad your little man is outgoing and NT I will be away from 1 to 22 sept but otherwise it will be work and home as usual M daughter had a major meltdown on Friday nite just gone, she had be out with her care worker and this nurse is not the right one for my daughter and told her things like don’t think you have aspergers or maybe its bipolar and it does not help at all because she is aspergers diangsed by a specialist so when she got home she was off her head crying yelling at me screaming slamming doors it was all on jumped out the window disappeared for hours I just remain calm in these times and walk the walk because she did not ask to be born this way, her siblings like yours Tania are all mad and angry at her especially the older daughter and my son the other sister Emma is not so bad.Monday morning I am going to get that nurse kicked off and get a new younger one this happens everytime she sees her I did tell you the nurse is 80 they make it hard in NZ to change nurses but if they don’t help me will have to say well go to health and disability that might get them moving along. well take care and drop a line whenever you want will always be happy to help and support you Tania, when do you turn 27. kind regards Cherylanne xx 🙂

  89. I am really glad that I came across this post as it is an area that is close to my heart and my work. I am currently working on a research project which aims to investigate females’ abilities to hide or camouflage any difficulties they have with social interactions. I’ve hypothesised that females on the spectrum present differently to males. I hope to contribute towards a richer understanding of ASDs and shed some light on why the ratio of diagnosis is so heavily skewed towards males. Tania, would you mind if I posted a link to my advert for participants here? It’s currently on the National Autistic Society website. I would love to hear from some Aspienwomen about the areas you’ve written about in this post.

  90. Both of my tgirls have HFA / HF ASD. One is the quiet shy child on the periphery, the other is loud, boisterous, and very much her own person. Both are quite definitely autistic. The good news is, they were diagnosed pre school. The eldest was 3 1/2, the youngest 25 months at diagnosis. I see my eldest in me. My husband has an NHS dx of HFA, but i have not pursued my own diagnosis. My physical problems have overridden worrying about AS for myself too much, tbh. Now that i finally have a(nother) diagnosis (to add to my stack) – TLE – i should pursue AS as well.

  91. This is me. Have not Been diagnosed . Too old . Psychologist says I have Aspergers tendencies . Woman mask it so well. Great article. Thank you

  92. I have been to see the psychologist today and he has confirmed I have aspergers syndrome. Whilst I am relieved to finally have an answer to why I am the way I am I now need to think about where I go from here. At 43 I have learned to cope and get by so was happy not to have any follow up support. For now I think I will continue to read and research to gain an even greater understanding but I am happy to finally have an explanation.

  93. Pingback: Asperger Syndrome in Girls & Women | The Unidentified Blogger

  94. Reading the article, was like it was written about my daughter. She is 14yrs old…has never been diagnosed, but ive known in my heart for awhile now that she has Aspergers Syndrome. I plan to make an appointment for her right away. My question is, what kind of help can be offered to a young girl of 14 yrs…to help her cope in social situations. Its painful to watch my daughter try to interact with peers or any adults at all. Its almost impossible for her. She also has an eating disorder. Not like anorexia, but in the way that she only eats very limited food and is too scared to try anything new. I know I should have gotten help for her when she was younger, but I thought she would outgrow the awkwardness. She has a twin sister, who has a rare chromosome disorder, so I thought maybe I was reading too much into her personality traits…and thought maybe I was seeing these things, because her sister has a disability. I guess I just didnt want to accept it and hoped she would outgrow it…but at 14, it hasn’t gotten any better. Any suggestions as to where we go from here?

  95. Tania, this message is just to thank you for setting up and developing this site. It is creating a much needed community for female Aspies The site has been extremely useful in helping me understand problems that have plagued me all my life, but for which I previously had no answers. I have always felt so different from other females (both as a child and as an adult), but on this site I have discovered so many others who are like me in all the ways I am different! This encouraged me to proceed with seeking a formal diagnosis. Here in the UK, we now have legislation to support people in obtaining a free NHS diagnosis, and in getting the subsequent specialist support and social care they are assessed as needing. However, the reality of this ideal is a long way off and social funding is constantly being cut. The difficulties particularly higher functioning adults are facing in the UK is evident on the NAS website. But in the meantime, knowledge is power! Hopefully, society will come to recognise that if we properly support autistic individuals to manage their difficulties, thereby allowing them to develop their strengths and talents, there will be unexpected dividends.for all (including NT’s). Kind regards, Sarah.

  96. Hello Tania,
    I appreciate your insightful article. You are clearly a woman who observes and attends to what is happening around you. Your work is helpful to many people.
    I am a mother of 8, all adults now. I have a daughter who is 24, and has been dealing with anxiety ever since she started to school at age 4. It became apparent when she became elective mute under certain circumstances at that age. I have two children (one male, one female) both diagnosed as adults and one grandchild who is also diagnosed with Aspergers. I have seen evidence of autism in this daughter since she was very young. Doctors here in Northern Ontario have been reluctant to diagnose ASD, but called it “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” for many years, and are now treating her for “Bipolar Disorder”. I am convinced she is misdiagnosed and is taking inappropriate medication, which has caused a weight gain which is very distressing for her, as well as very unhealthy. Do you have any recommendation for how we can get help from someone who has a real understanding of ASD. I believe it runs strong in our family, not just the ones with diagnosis, but many others as well. We do not see the ASD as being a big problem, just a condition that we learn to live with and adjust to.

  97. I have many of these symptoms and others, though I have never been diagnosed (my little brother has.) I never considered that I could have Asperger’s because things that people thought odd like enjoying cryptic crosswords as a twelve year old, or becoming obsessed with a certain topic or movie, I didn’t question. It wasn’t until high school that I realised most kids didn’t go home and read their mothers archaeology textbooks and watch QA. That’s when I started getting depression, despite having plenty of friends I suddenly felt more displaced then ever, and when study kept me from doing the things that usually soothed me, like reading my favourite books, I’d get more stressed. I felt invisible, despite getting good grades in most classes teachers would never be able to remember my name, or I’d be marked absent even though I was sitting in the class, often in the front row. What’s more I started developing weird habits and flaws, I couldn’t stand the feel of certain fabrics on my fingers (still can’t) and I annoyed my parents by refusing to go to bed until the early hours of the morning. Often I’d speak the truth very bluntly and realise too late it might be considered rude. when I was seventeen my little brother was diagnosed with Asperger’s and I immediately researched everything I could about the disorder and that’s when my mum pointed out that I had a lot of the traits. I’ve never sought a diagnosis, because, although I have a lot of difficulties such as not being able to hold onto a relationship because I feel claustrophobic and socially lost, I ultimately see it as a gift. The focus I have thanks to Asperger’s helps me to learn so many new and wonderful things, and I feel like I can see and empathise with others on a level I wouldn’t be able to otherwise -certain things are so sharp and vivid. I’m now 18 and at uni (studying by correspondence) I try to just deal with everyday as it comes or I get overwhelmed by my own thoughts but I am proud to be an ASPIE.

  98. Hi again Tania,

    Thank you for your reply and for allowing me to post a link to my advert for my research. Here it is:

    http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/volunteering-opportunities/take-part-in-surveys-and-research/research-recruit-people-or-participate/research-projects-children-and-young-people/how-do-girls-on-the-autism-spectrum-manage-social-situations.aspx

    It would be awesome to hear from girls aged 13-19 and are on the spectrum!

    Siobhan

  99. I’m 32 and was diagnosed in February. I was not self diagnosed, I was diagnosed by a doctor. I also have a brother 18 years younger then me who has Aspergers and my youngest who just turned 7 has Autism. And in the process of getting my 12 year old tested for Aspergers.

  100. I am a 20 year old female, who has been stuck in a cycle of anorexia, depression, self harm and anxiety since the beginning of my teens. This sounds so much like me. I am off to uni in September and absolutely petrified. Is there any way I can seek a diagnosis, even if it comes back negative, I would like to try. Thank you for your time.

  101. Hi, I was officially diagnosed at 46 years old. Your description of coping skills and being able to stay under the radar undetected are accurate. I, unfortunately, had some terrible social experiences as a young woman due to spectrum issues that I hope to find a way to share to help other young women avoid. Thanks for your dedication to helping girls/women on the spectrum.

    • Hello Lisa and thank-you for your message. I have met many women such as yourself and unfortunately many who have had the same experiences as yours. If you enjoy writing please know that a book to help others avoid “those” situations would be quite valuable. Take care.

  102. I have just discovered that I have Aspergers. I am 34. This only came to light as my 2 children have asd. One with aspergers , the other PDA. When I was obsessively researching autism thereafter, I forgot to look for symptoms in adults. I was only looking up children. Now I see myself clearly. I have no idea where to begin to obtain an official diagnosis. But I suppose it is too late to do anything for me now. I will focus on my kids and hope they don’t live a confused life like I did.

    • Hi Janine, thank-you for your comments. I believe it is never too late to receive a diagnosis or intervention/support. Try your local autism society or organization. See if they have a professional who is experienced in this particular field? Take care.

  103. It did not even occur to me that I could be an Aspie until we went to get help for our now 8 yr old daughter. I am 45 now and i really don’t think I need the label. I as a child and my daughter now fit the bill for everything that was written.

  104. Hi, lovely article. This is perhaps tangential, but I am female, and I was misdiagnosed with Aspergers’. The misdiagnosis was in part due to the fact that females with Aspergers’ are like a white rhino, and people are loathe to let them go if they can help it. I was like a gineapig for the teenage period of my life. I’ve developed a lot of problems because of the misdiagnosis. Do you believe that because of the ‘white rhino’ status, and the difficulty in identifying female Aspergers’ traits (ie. Messy hair.), it could become difficult to diagnose people effectively? Should there be better and separate diagnosis criteria for males and females? Or should it be more rigid and less open to interpretation? (To clarify, I don’t believe Aspergers’ doesn’t exist. I just happened to be gifted and transexual. Mine was an unusual case.)

  105. Im a self diagnosed aspie ( diagnosed ADD, depression, anxiety). I didn’t talk in school. I could go weeks at a time without saying a word but no one noticed because my grades weren’t terrible. I believe that my 7 year old daughter has Aspergers. She melts down after school as soon as she gets in the car and it lasts until bedtime then starts as soon as she wakes up in the morning. I know this is because she is exhausted from keeping up the act at school all day. Its causing stress on our whole family and definitely affecting her little brother and sister. How do we help her with the rages and melt downs? Ive been searching for someone in our area who can help is but no one is knowledgeable on aspergers or asd in females. Ive tried talking to my daughters doctor who was uninterested and didn’t even take notes. She said I have to go through my daughters school, the school says go to her doctor. The school doesn’t understand because she is very well behaved while she is there and isn’t falling behind yet on her grades. I know she expends a ton of energy and works very hard to go unnoticed at school but the school doesn’t understand this. I don’t know where to turn next. Can you offer any type of advice? We live in Southern Illinois.

  106. Hi. Thank you for posting this. Do you have any recommendations for parents of very young girls of resources to follow up with considering the difficulty of diagnosis in girls? Our daughter is 3-almost-4 and she has been socially “off” since she was a baby. She is able to do many things on a surface level to “fit in,” and in initial one-on-one interactions with kids, and infrequent interactions with adults, everyone says she seems fine. But, repeated, frequent interactions start to reveal the subtle “offness.” She doesn’t understand how to interact with other kids, though she is extremely interested in them. She spent her first 2 years of nursery school just standing on the outside of groups, following them around, and trying to mimic what they were doing. Trying to surface-level “act” it but really not “getting” what they were doing. She was quickly ostracized by the other children and we spent a year of her getting picked on and excluded (in nursery school of all places!). She doesn’t understand facial expressions, though she does semi-ok now at labeling some of them. She does a lot of obsessing on topics, has to have things a certain way, obsesses on things like the day the lawnmower comes.

    The problem is, it’s all subtle and requires extensive interactions with her and watching her with other kids. When she was 1.5, she was doing a lot of verbal looping and had some much more overt signs, and she qualified for ABA. We had a therapist come out to our home twice a week for nearly a year to work with her, but she excelled in the one-on-one interactions. But she learns things fast, is desperate for positive affirmation, and so she can easily “act” the part that’s expected of her even if she doesn’t get it. On paper, she looks completely “normal” because of this, so at age 3 the services stopped. She did improve in some areas during ABA, and when the services stopped we hoped she would continue improving. We figured maybe she’d just be a bit quirky, and that’s totally fine. But the social impact of her behaviors hasn’t improved, it’s stayed the same. She is still on the outside, trying to figure out what the kids are doing, then trying to mimic it in an attempt to get them to accept her. She doesn’t understand their meanness. It is heartbreaking to watch. We now also have a 1.5 year old who “gets” so many of the social cues that our older daughter still doesn’t understand, and the difference is staggering.

    But with her appearing “fine” on the formal assessments, we just don’t know what to do or where to go to find somebody who is an expert in aspergers in girls – particularly girls this young – to talk with them about our concerns and hear their thoughts. I found your article, as well as a few other ones on girls with aspergers, and it fits our daughter in so many ways – except she is so overexcited and enthusiastic about wanting other kids to accept her. She’s getting older and about to enter formal schooling, and if she does have aspergers I’d like to get her resources sooner rather than later.

  107. I just found this article now but thank you very much for being one of the advocates for girls and women with Aspergers/HFA who are in essence pushed to the side and ignored because of our gender. I will be 25 in a few months and will be going to get evaluated (and hopefully diagnosed) within the next few weeks and I am crossing my fingers that my traits show enough to the evaluating psychologist. I flew under the radar as I am an only child and was homeschooled my whole life (plus my parents subscribe to the “anything Psychology-related is hogwash” opinion). I have been bad-mouthed behind my back by therapists (while doing couple’s therapy) in the past who said I was arrogant, a know-it-all, cold, and whatever else but who never once attempted to help me in any way. So, it just makes me feel good to know people like you are here to support the “cause” for women and girls with Aspergers/HFA getting detected and diagnosed/helped as early as possible. Thank you!

  108. I am a 49 year old self-diagnosed Aspie. After my daughter was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I finally figured out why I never fit in the typical world. I have since been working on becoming more aware of my problems and correcting them. This has helped me a lot. However, whenever I have mentioned this to my parents and siblings they laugh at me. Yet, I was totally ostracized by them as a child and young adult. It wasn’t until I got away from them that I started feeling better about myself and started leading a normal life. Now that I can function better, I have more contact with them. They treat me like an entirely differently person and act as though nothing was ever wrong with me. This is why I have absolutely no trust in anyone, but my husband, children and closest friends (of which there are few). It’s has been a very difficult and lonely journey. Thank God my daughter has a diagnosis that will, hopefully, help her make sense of the world.

  109. I’m 17 years old and I believe I may have this syndrome. All of the symptoms stated above apply to me perfectly. Right now, I am in therapy and my psychologist has diagnosed me with Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, and PTSD.
    Still, I have been interested in learning if I may have this and every online assessment I’ve taken regarding this, has resulted in saying I’m borderlining it.
    Hoping me and my family, will be able to convince my psychologist to test me for this. She says, I don’t have it, but idk. Can’t help, but wonder, cause it all seems like me..

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  111. Thank you so much for writing this. I realised two years ago at 24 that I was most probably a sufferer of aspergers. Everything just clicked into place. But I frequently have to remind people that I have good coping mechanisms. I did try for a diagnosis but as a female over 18 I was not offered much. I have been diagnosed and treated for GAD, but I think that is just part and parcel of the Aspergers. Everything you wrote in the article is how I have felt.

  112. Wow, this is a great article and so true. My daughter had an early diagnosis at age 9. However, we fought for it and had to make specialist look further into her. She is amazing and this article describes her a “T.” Luckily, I do work from home and after school she is able to come home and decompress from the day. She needs this after being “on” at school all day.

  113. Im 23 and about a year ago i heard of and researched this. I had a huge suspicion that I had it and now that you have posted this I am DEFINITE that I have this. No doubt in my mind.

  114. Sounds like my little girl. She is eight years old and since around 6 months old I knew things were different for her. Early interventions diagnosed her with separation anxiety at 18 months, then at 5 she was diagnosed with PTSD. I have always had challenges with her that I had brought to the schools attention. No one seemed to understand. She was fine in school. No problems at all they told me. In fact, she was above grade level in all of her school work. Then I started to notice she had no playmates and noticed she didn’t want to play with anyone her age. An observant psychologist noticed that her behaviors I described she had at home were not normal and pushed me to insist she be evaluated. Come to find out she has Asperger’s and that would make sense as it runs in my family, but in males. What I wonder is if she had been diagnosed earlier, could we have avoided a lot of her anxiety? I’m just glad she can get the help she needs. Phew!

  115. Hi my 2 boys are going through the prosess off being diagnosed and i am thinking i should see about getting myself tested as i have had drpession and anxiety since i was a teenager , i was wondering how i do a self test .

    • Hi Louise, there is not an adult female assessment/diagnostic tool available at this time, although I am aware of researchers who are working on it. Having said that, there are assessment tools that capture females adequately, not perfectly, but adequately. Professionals in this area may utilize the RAADS-R. No one diagnostic tool can diagnose Aspergers and only a formal diagnostic assessment by a professional familiar with female Aspergers would confirm this for you. All the best:-)

      • I am 52 years old , female, and I was just diagnosed this week, based on the RAADS-R, the AQ, and my clinical history. Both assessments are available online, with scoring, to give a person an idea of whether or not AS is a possibility. It can help you decide whether or not you want to pursue a formal diagnosis. Good luck in your journey.

  116. Hi Tania,

    I just happened across one of your articles shared by Asperger Women’s Assoc. on facebook that I follow. I think I know what is going on with me now. I am 41 and my 7 yr old son has high functioning Autism. Through his diagnosis and treatment, I have found many of the things he does familiar to what I have felt. I have had depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder most of my life (I am about 70lbs over weight). My family just brushes my concerns off, saying, you never did this or that (meaning aspie traits, etc) and they all think I am lazy, difficult and too fixated on my pastimes of online games and reading and art……

    Seeing what others have said on your blog, hit home. I have always struggled with relationships, jobs, and just plain interaction! I never know what I should say or do, so I always stayed to myself and liked being invisible. I now am employed at a local daycare in the baby room (very low pay) twice divorced and me and my son live with my parents, which is a huge strain.

    Anyway sorry if I rambled on too much! I would love to chat with you and see if you have any ideas of how to start looking for help/diagnosis in my area. I live in CT, USA. You can also reach me at jennbird822@hotmail.com

    Thanks so much for your time 🙂 ~ Jennifer

    (I also left you a message in facebook)

  117. Thank you so much for this article – after 2 of my grandchildren were diagnosed w/Aspergers (one a boy at age 11 and the other a girl at age 5) I realized there might be a family link – I took a test and scored off the charts for Asperger’s – I am 70 years old, have been told all of my life how “quirky” I was – have ALWAYS hated and/or avoided social situations as much as I could – was able to work for over 40 years but it took a lot out of me – my happiest days were when everyone was out of the office and I could be on my own – I get “peopled out” VERY quickly – my family understands my need for space – and while I managed to raise 3 incredible daughters – solitude was something that kept me sane – that and a powerful sense of humour – I’ve always had “special interests” (in my case women authors – I could have been a professor of Women’s Literature and done well) 🙂 – I have a very low tolerance for noise – (other than music which I have a passion for) – School for me was a daily torture – I don’t think I was EVER wholly present in any class other than English – and college was the same – I did earn my degree in Early Childhood Ed – but it was a process of disengaging often – and catching up later on my own – my friends in school were always the “other” kids (on the “outside” looking in – ) I once wrote a poem and titled it “Looking Through Other People’s Windows” – now that I’ve become far more educated about Asperger’s and my daughter has become an untiring advocate for her little girl (who is now 13 – and many of her Aspie ways are accelerating – while other’s are decreasing) she is high functioning, smart as a whip – and her special interest is horses – adults have always “gotten” her – her peers not so much ….ANYWAY – thank you so very much (and reading all of these comments has been a huge help also)

  118. That’s me too. I was labelled “extremely shy”. I was very academically bright but with very poor pragmatic language skills and afraid of my peers. I also had disordered eating behaviours as a teenager (untreated). I sort diagnosis for myself first and then my son, after my son started showing obsessive traits, communication difficulties and ordering behaviour and my husband said “he’s just odd like you” as a joke. Immediately, I thought if he was like me i didn’t want him to suffer in silence like i had at school and university (severe social anxiety and depression). I thought that if I have it then that is what my son has too and if he gets a diagnosis then i can learn how to support him best. There was a lot of family resistance to my diagnosis first and then more so for my son’s diagnosis but my traits of determination and the need for the truth saw me through. Finally my family came to terms with the diagnosis and are now very supportive. Early diagnosis for both my sons (I have no daughters) at the age of 3 yrs has been extremely beneficial. Diagnosis has made an extraordinary difference for us. I have a blog to http://www.endautismstigma.wordpress.com

  119. Thank you all for your messages…i don’t feel so alone when I read so many of the same stories that resonate with my own….I was diagnosed at 44 when my son was diagnosed. I am now in graduate school and want to focus on women and aspergers…thank you all!!!

  120. Does anyone have any advice on how to avoid feeling constantly drained and fatigued every day….I try not to have to much human interaction but have a new partner and a very active four year old son and also have started my own mobile beauty business and I’m struggling with constant human interaction, I exercise alot to boost my energy levels but its like I need around 12 hours sleep in order to not feel tired and I cry and get frustrated when over tired. xxx

    • For Tania 19th Jan comment: it sounds like you are employing the usual lifestyle recommendations for managing fatigue. Perhaps their is an anxiety component to your fatigue (the are high rates of anxiety in people with Asperger’s). Cognitive behavioural therapy with a psychologist (with expertise in autism) may be helpful, or anti anxiety or anti depression medication (I take a low dose of a standard anti depressive which I find helpful). Some people benefit from meditation, yoga, massage etc to reduce anxiety levels. I’d see a gp about your tiredness to just to check your health is otherwise in good order (iron levels etc). Hope that’s somewhat helpful.

    • For anxiety I take one capsule in the morning of ZEN Theonine…AOR brand its an amino acid. It helps me greatly with anxiety. But as for the fatigue I also suffer from it and need lots of sleep….diet is huge…I am on a gluten, milk blah blah free diet and I also take vital greens mixed with water twice a day for energy (it a super concentrated food source and it tastes pretty yummy!). That’s my two cents! Good Luck!

    • Dear Tania, thank-you for your message. You sound like you may be dealing with “social exhaustion” and “social hangovers”. Ask yourself how much social interaction can you handle before it gets to be too much for you? How much solitude do you need? How much solitude you you get now? How much being around people does it take to fill your social cup. For some, it doesn’t take much contact with people and for others it can take quite a bit before they reach overload. Some Aspiens tend to be all-or-nothing and are either overdosing on the social and then having no social contact for days, and going back and forth between the two. I hope this helps.

  121. I am 42 and I suppose where I differ from some females is that even though, like them, autism did not come up as a diagnosis for me as a child (and for many reasons I have not tried for anything formal as an adult) I was “odd” enough that people definitely spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was “wrong” with me, and it was not assumed to necessarily be mental problems until my teens. (But once I got to that point, yes, it all turned into let’s figure out how crazy Kathleen is) I recall being given several extra hearing and vision tests early in elementary school, for example. Even when I was quiet, I was not able to blend into the background. I was very much noticed.
    I definitely was “inappropriate” socially. Even into college I would sometimes use animal sounds in conversation. I would hiss when angry, because I learned it from cats. My speech would vary from hesitant, repetition, etc, to bursts of words. But of course because there were times I could speak normally, it was assumed I really had the capability to speak that way always and was being willful, trying to be special, be different, whatever, when I did not.
    I was into a lot of things which back in my day were very much considered to be “for boys”: Dinosaurs, electronics, playing chess, and yes, even the stereotypical male autistic interest of trains. I did hold “female” interests also, such as horses, and I preferred to wear dresses, and in spite of bouts of hyperactivity completely sucked at sports and thus was able to avoid the tomboy label, getting the weird label instead.
    I could go on about myself all day but I think this is enough for now. It’s late at night and I need sleep!

  122. My parents sent me to boarding school at 13, thinking that would make me more in dependant and would ‘make’ me socialise more as a result! I instead hoarded food and developed a nervous blink and compulsions to deal with my anxiety. Spent break times in the loos – forever trying to hide away. I went to an adolescent psychiatric assessment centre a few times but my parents were always in the room with me! I feel cheated, knowing there was something ‘different’about me but not knowing what it was! My parents expected me to just cope with it and didnt bother to discuss with doctors saying that it was difficult as they had my brothers to look after as well! Now they are embarrassed by my OCD and depression!

  123. Pingback: Flying under the radar: Girls and Women with Aspergers Syndrome | taniaannmarshall

  124. I am no longer sure whether this whole “diagnosis”, this label is even beneficial anymore.

    Somewhere on the site it even reads about how we should move towards “a positive” look on aspergers, and something about a model needing to be totally changed if peoples’ perceptions are to change from seeing something as a disorder to seeing it as a type.

    Well, I made the mistake of telling some of my family about this label. I actively avoid one member of the family, another I no longer visit. A third I am avoiding as much as I can.

    In the case of the first person, they have always tended to view me as inferior, being that their social ability has always been vastly better. They abide by society’s overall prejudice that extroverts are superior and introverts are weak or actually have something wrong with them. …And this label of Female Aspergers has just added more fuel to her fire, making her feel right in upholding her narrowminded out look. She is pregnant and is not taking much trouble to avoid insulting me – in an incidental manner, perhaps, but that just falls in with her overall lack of showing me much respect.

    Add another family member who I was once close with -who has rejected me on the basis that she cannot accept the perceived extreme negativity of such a label, identifying it with DISORDER (never mind my attempt to cause her to see it more in the light of a personality type). So I got criticised from her as well.

    Add to all of this, paranoia from a third female family member who now has started to think that perhaps I am also schizophrenic on top of having “Autism”.

    Fantastic.

    Now I have even fewer allies than before. I am having to distance my self from all of these nasty, selfish insecure fools …just to preserve some sanity. Some belief in my self.
    I may have to keep going.

    Perhaps this ‘diagnosis’ should come with a warning.

    If it weren’t for the clarity I got from understanding that my social difficulties are to do with being around several as yet unfamiliar people for extended periods of time -I would honestly say that I was better off never knowing about this.
    Even if I could get my own mind around the label, to not see it so much in terms of being a disorder: more than a few people around me don’t seem able to.

    They see it almost as a life sentence of social inferiority and disability. …And their negative view of me is effecting my own self esteem and causing me to see who I am through their eyes. …There is nothing I despise more than other peoples’ values about life. They have nothing to do with me. I would probably have tried to kill my self in fact, if I thought like them.

    So, thanks, and yet no thanks.

    I was better off not trying so much to assimilate in a society that won’t bother to be flexible towards me even for a minute.

  125. I know this post was awhile ago, but I have been blogging about my daughter’s Aspergers, yet haven’t revealed the gender for sake of anonymity. However, I think it may be important to highlight the fact that she is female. She’s never been officially diagnosed, but I’ve known for quite sometime. She is 16. I talked to her about it for the first time this year. It has provided great relief for her to understand there’s a REASON behind the social difficulties…

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  127. Hi
    i have a 14 year old daughter she was diagnosed with aspergers when she was 10 years old.
    she was having phycopherapy when she was 3 years old and seeing camh.
    but it was in 2010 they decided to test her for autism.
    she goes to a special school now after being in a main stream primary school.
    she says she doesnt have any thing wrong with her and doesnt except her diagnosis.
    she get very angry and violent when she isnt understood.
    can you help us please.

  128. My 14 yr old was just finally diagnosed with Asperger’s (now I guess it’s called Autism Spectrum) plus Unspecified Mood Disorder and ODD. She was originally dx’d with Bipolar, ADHD and ODD at age 6, mainly because I’m Bipolar and ADHD. We knew something was up by the age of 18 months…she had major meltdowns that was worse than just the “Terrible two’s”, she didn’t Talk, but she had her own language and used her hands to “talk” instead. 9 Years of Speech Therapy later, now, she constantly talks….and 99% of the time, everything she says is rude, disgusting, and cuss words…..she has absolutely NO filter on her mouth.

    My biggest problem is that she and her younger brother, who’s 11, constantly fight. She leaves nasty bruises on him because she’s double his weight, taller than him, and she’s all arms and legs. We can pull them apart, she’ll say some rude comment, and the fight is back on again.

    We live in a very Rural area….I’ve already been threatened by the only Therapist to be arrested when she got in my face years ago and blamed me for all of my daughter’s problems so I got right back in her face. I’m just hoping that she’s found her brains by now and hopefully knows how to treat a teenager with Aspergers. Otherwise, I’ll be seeing what the backseat of a police car looks like for the first time. I have fought for 12 1/2 years to get this diagnosis, and I’m not about to let someone who thinks she knows it all just because she has some certificate in a Dollar Store frame above her head destroy what self-esteem my daughter does have.

    Plus, I’ve got to figure out what medications, if any, other than Clonidine, can help my daughter sleep without major side effects of mood swings (already got that problem with puberty!), and need to find out more about ODD, if there’s anything new in the past 8 years to help.

    It would of been real nice though, if Pediatricians would know what to look for when a parent comes to them whether it’s a boy OR girl. I explained the problems exactly to our Pediatrician…..if my Daughter had been a boy, she would of been diagnosed immediate at the age of 18 months to 2 years old, instead of having to wait until she was 14. Now, we’ve wasted 12 years that she could of been learning coping skills just because she’s a girl. It really ticks me off.

  129. I break the mould for female Aspergers then because my special interest is not art,animals or writing it is computers,using them,fixing them and building them.

  130. I was diagnosed at age 44 and although this was late, I was very happy because at last I knew what was the matter with me. My whole life I wondered about it and my mum already knew something was different when I was 2 years old. I only wish I knew this a lot earlier, then I would have done some things different or not at all.

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  132. I need help.
    When I was a kid I had the feeling I was somehow different to the rest but used to calm me down thinking that everybody else was also faking. That was until I turned 18 and started to have roommates. Then I realized that they were actually happy and really perplexed of my mood swings and personal habits. They would never anxiously hide in their room when there was a visit or always refuse to go out for parties (unless I got wasted before)… and they would find funny my obsessions over “weird” topics. Obsessions like staying in for a whole week, almost without eating, missing classes, reading for example about Neanderthals, fairies or the weirdest facts of the French Revolution. For me that was something really normal, even though I never shared it with anyone I thought everybody had “their things”.
    I had always heard from my parents that I “live in my own world”, that I was a very lazy kid and that I have a huge lack of “common sense”…but I use to relate that to the fact that I was a late-adopted kid. For this reason, in school all the kids were more or less nice to me and the parents would always organize me playdates so I wouldn’t be alone. The truth is I always preferred being alone reading (my truly hobby), writing or “making movies” in my head, but my parents wouldn’t approve it. When I started hanging out with those kids, they couldn’t stand me. They said I was too direct or get upset for things I don’t still even understand… and then, with the pressure of my parents and teachers telling me I couldn’t be so impolite and straight-forward, I started doing what I was “expected” to do.
    And now I understand why I was so crazy as a teenager. And I don’t mean I hanged out with improper company or did drugs…it was something only going on at home. I would explode for the smallest things and I couldn’t even explain what was really wrong, most of the times I felt injustices towards me and my parents wouldn’t be able to even catch a glimpse of what I meant…and that got me even crazier: My reasons, to me, were SO clear! They called me selfish, emotionless, inflexible, detached… Adjectives that I saved on my mind and started to analyze at the adequate age: 18.
    With all these new experiences I was living, the misunderstandings and loneliness plus my parents views… I started getting very interested in psychology and human interaction, that became my obsession. Now I understand a lot of things, my head is full of patterns and my few friends come to me because I always have an answer to their problems, a rational one. I experience something, I analyze it and store it and whenever there’s a similar situation I know what to do. (Except when there’s something unknown or not-yet-experienced..then, as my boyfriend says, I look like a 4-year-old lost in a theme park)
    Even though I still felt different, I still thought that it was because of my childhood, so I just looked on the Internet for specific things like OCD, eating disorders, anxiety and social phobia…because I have them all in one or another grade. I even got obsessed with numerology, buddhism and other similar things to find a reason of why I was as I am.
    And yesterday, at the age of 24, I came to find the Asperger Syndrome and somehow everything clicked in my head, I felt relieved.

    What do you ladies think? Is it possible I have Asperger or maybe it’s something else? I really need answers, I really need to know who I am and why.
    I’m considering going to a specialist but I’m scared a diagnoses might interfere in my professional career or even if I ever have motherhood issues.

    PS- I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes, English it’s one of the four languages I can speak but not my native one. I need to say I love languages 🙂

    • Sounds like it is worth talking to a psychologist! Find out – you are “relieved” to have found the answer! If that is a relief and you love logic, you will benefit from “knowing” if you are or are not a female Aspy. My daughter has not been diagnosed, although, I suspect and you sound just like her!! And to some extent, ME. 🙂 Your medical diagnosis should be private and not interfere with career – unless you divluge it. Certainly not with Motherhood.

  133. Hi my daughter is 8 and we are just finding out that she has asd, the way that my daughter deals with things is anger, she also has learning disabilities which makes her stress levels even higher but is good in school its just when she comes home she lets it all out and make mine and my other 3 daughters life so hard, if you could suggest any reads to help me understand what she is going through and how to deal with her I woukd find it very helpful, its really hard from me to understand so I cant imagine what she is going through thank you

  134. I need some advice.
    I found that I really relate to the article in many ways. I’m currently 19 and am seeing a counselor for anxiety issues. I feel like it is helping somewhat but I truly think my problems are more than just that. I have always felt that other people were in on some big secret and I was just to stupid to figure it out. Conversations were just very draining and I was never invited to those coveted sleepovers and when I was invited I hated it. Who would want to spend the night in someone else’s home with a bunch of screaming girls and never actually sleep? Now I have just finished my first year at the community college in my area and still have no idea what my major should be. All of my friends from high school have known what they want to do since our junior year and seem to have done great away from home, I don’t really know for sure because I fell out of contact with them.
    I have always had a hard time of making and keeping friends because I tend to talk about the same topic all the time and don’t realize i’m doing it until we are no longer hanging out. I have told my mom that I have been researching aspergers and think that I have it, but she says i’m just acting like that because i’m reading about it so much. Can you make yourself have symptoms by reading about them? I feel like I have acted no differently than before and am just stuck on what to do. Do you think I should look into getting a diagnosis or normal and blowing things out of proportion? Any comments are helpful.

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  136. I recently told by my psychologist that she strongly believes I’ve got aspergers which was a shock because I didn’t go to see her for a diagnosis but for anxiety I’ve been struggling with,but at the same time it’s really not that surprising since I’ve got a older brother who has autisim and when I read about the symptoms it was like reading my own personality,also it made me reflect on all my life from how I behave and why I struggled with people and relationships,also I always have had intense interests in certain things like barbie doll collecting to comic books,which sadly one time I bored a guy I went on a date with when I kept on talking about comic books he didn’t see me again,but before this I always wondered why I felt so different and alien to everyone else but I couldn’t put my finger on it and through the years I was misdiagnosed with the wrong things which I knew even then wasn’t right,I am 31 years old and it took that long for someone to pick up on the symptoms which has made me think of “what ifs” if this was found out earlier maybe things would of turned out differently for me.

    • I’m 32, and totally get you. I oftentimes wish I understood how Neurotypical people think. I will be talking about something interesting, and they find it a complete bore…even after they ask questions. I wish I knew how to speak to people, what the right things are to say, boundaries on topics, and the like. I’ve shut down because I don’t understand why communicating is so hard, and am tired of feeling like I’ve done everything wrong.

      • Yeah like I mentioned I got interests but if not too careful I can go on about it too much like recently I’m fascinated by the butterfly life cycle ever since I found a caterpillar on a pot plant at the front of my home and watch it become a butterfly,so I ended up talking ages about butterflies to my husband,but like you I just wish I could be able to speak better because there is no happy medium with me I’m either extremely quiet that people either think I’m a mute or a snob or I’ll go on non stop about something,i always been socially awkward since a little girl but it took a long time for someone to consider aspergers which was both a shock but not surprising since my older brother has autism plus how I behave shouldn’t have come as a big shock to me.

  137. Reblogged this on 'Up'ping the Appeal, from Curb to the 'Burbs and commented:
    We can’t assume everyone fits under the same label with the same “symptoms.” A fingerprint is still a fingerprint–until you look closer and see each one is different.
    I’m very proud my daughter is how own unique fingerprint, and that she has an amazing support system at school as well as home.

  138. My current Psychologist has completely ignored my concerns and thinking I have Asperger’s. I’ve been seeking counsel for approximately 9 years, from a few different Counselors, and have been diagnosed with Unspecified Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. The PTSD stems from an abusive relationship with a diagnosed Sociopath. I was bullied as a teen, called weird, inhuman- for having, and adhering to high moral standards, crazy, the list goes on. I ask a lot of questions to try and gain the perspective of others, and have been accused of being rude, and mean spirited. That one baffles me still to this day…

  139. I am 38 and am just starting the assessment process. I didn’t know much about ASD in any form prior to having children, but was always aware of finding things difficult and feeling different. Now with 2 ASD children, one with a diagnosis of PDD but no sensory profiling and probably slightly mis-diagnosed and one (girl, now 13) probably Aspie but no formal diagnosis, my knowledge has grown. I have gained understanding about myself through finding out about my children. My youngest, neuro typical, child has brought some relief into the household and highlights just how “eccentric” the rest of us are! The system for assessment is absolutely horrific, though. As a parent you have to battle to even get a child into the system, let alone be seen by someone adequately qualified to diagnose. If you manage to get through the battle, there is another one waiting to get support, therapy, or even acceptance.

    • DO NOT give up! Get a Referral from your Family Doctor, to see a Mental Health Professional regarding a “Psychological Assessment” — that is what i pushed and pushed for 2 years for til finally getting an appt. but that was after 10 years of fighting every system. that was for my 1st daughter who is just diagnosed NOW as TEEN….so late. now, i am in search of same for my 5 yr old, we are awaiting 1st the Family Doctor sent Referral to a “Developmental Pediatrician” Good Luck, keep the faith. i totally understand all your going through. i lost 35lbs in a few months & can no longer work fighting for my childrens rights, needs, proper schooling, and medical attention. we are all just finally getting the support we need from a new doctor and mental health team of professionals. ! keep pushing mum!

  140. My daughter is now 13 and until she hit puberty was a quiet homebody who was very intelligent with great memory skills and would only go places without us with her sister. After she hit puberty she began coming home from school and would be set off very easily by something small and her reaction would in no way fit the situation and would be considered extreme in nature. My son is 20years old and a aspire they used to get along very well but now battle each other constantly. She can be very explosive or very sweet. She has a lot of anxiety when having to go into new situations without a member of her family to the point she won’t do things she wants to due to it. She feels really bad after each episode and can’t move on unless you accept her apology and once you do acts like nothing happened. She only sees her side and always feels everything is unfair. Do you feel she may have aspergers?

  141. What do I do if I think I have aspergers? And how do I tell my mom? I have a friend that has aspergers and they said I show all the signs of it. So we took an online test and out of 200, I got 199 points. What do I do?!? Please reply asap!! Thanks!

  142. TaniaAnnMarshall I am so happy you are here sharing. my first daughter was FINALLY just diagnosed. after years, years, years, 10 to be exact of her being misdiagnosed, emotionally verbally & otherwise misunderstood by teachers, school staff, school board staff, regular medical health community,and MUCH Family Strain by our local Child Protective Services (or ours calle Childrens Aid Society) putting us through literal HELL at accusations of Child Abuse of sorts because of how much SCHOOL MY daughter MISSES! …..straight all the way up to Pediatric Neurologist at world renowned Sick Kids Hospital Doctor: whom suggested she “sleep more and eat breakfast” …..i have heard it all ….we have heard it all ACCEPT A.S.!
    FINALLY when i heard the Diagnosis i cried with relief for someone finally KNEW MY DAUGHTER as i did these years! my only problem is i never thought AS “looked” like that. i never knew enough about it. i am soo grateful for this sharing you are doing and supporting others as you have been. WE NEED TO spread the word more about these young girls. my daughters story COULD have been WAY WORSE by now but, i am eternally grateful for the PSYCHOLOGIST whom FINALLY brought this diagnosis to light for our family… it has been quite an exhausting fight. thank you. i look forward to reading more about you within this space. thank you tania! keep talking, sharing, and getting others to talk about their experiences with female as…. thank you

  143. I begin to wonder about myself. I have intense feelings, I tend to hide from others. When I do reveal them to those closest to me, I’m treated as a brush off or irrational. Having been a past target of severe bullying as a child; I’m now being bulled by administration in my work environment (teacher).

  144. My initial response is early intervention is crucial and traunnbg and education for proffesionals and parents. My daughter is six going on seven and I began to seek advice and support when she she was two. I have been on courses, attended mettings and worked in partnership with school nurse, health visitor, preschools, G.p, school, occupational therapy, I could go on. I have moved my daughter schools and have evidenced her social, emotional and behaviour problems. She had been assessed by an automatic specialist who recognised her high intelligence acedemiclly and recognised her autistic trates and her hypo sensory seeking. Yet STILL no refferal to a educational psychologist??? I have over 16 years experience working with children with additional needs and two other children who are not labeled as naughty or mean yet my opinion means nothing! Our systems in education are not supporting early intervention for the children that are high functioning academically, but not socially and emotionally. Eventually I know as my daughter gets older the impact of her lack of friends ships, lack of empathy and need to control her work will impact on her learning and I may see an Educational psychologist then. Then is to LATE!! My daughter needs support NOW!! Our government needs people who understand autism making the policys and legislation.

  145. Hello,

    Please help. We live in the UK and we have just recently realized that our youngest precious daughter has Aspergers or Aspergers tendencies. There is now formal diagnosis in the UK unless you go private and where we live, middle of nowhere, no one to ask. She said that she had looked up on the computer whether she had Aspergers and I said no, because I was unaware of the spectrum. How do we help her self-recognize this or talk to her about this? We believe she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God and we delight in her and want to support her in every way. She has been home educated her entire life.

    Thanks

    Tim

  146. My eldest was diagnosed with HF autism at 12 in the UK. She was pushed through the school due to some very serious issues. But my middle child also has problems. She fits the Aspie description more, but because she has a gifted level intelligence, the school aren’t bothered, until she comes home…melts down and we have 5 hour long violent out bursts. The waiting list for diagnosis is long. We have heard nothing in over a year. 😦 We fear we may never hear anything because the school are not bothered and my daughter will just be lost. She has high level anxiety, self harming and worries at just 7 years old. I too fit the Aspie description. I had anorexia (diagnosed) and have quite severe OCD. I struggle in social situations… I am quiet, withdrawn and don’t do well in work…and I am crippled with social anxiety but at 36… I am too old for a diagnosis and I cannot afford a private one. So I just struggle through life. I just have to hope that my daughters futures are brighter and better than mine.

  147. this rings so true, at the age of 20, after many years of fighting, my daughter went through the diagnosis process. after much discussion she was given diagnosis of “social anxiety disorder with very strong autistic traits”, she failed to get an ASD diagnosis because she showed empathy when reading a child’s picture book, i did point out her age is often at the stage where she loves young children s toys/books, but she also has a gcse in maths. this leaves her in limbo, mental health services say they won’t work with her as she isn’t ticking their boxes, yet autism services won’t work giving her support without an ASD diagnosis. I was, off record, assured she is definitely on spectrum but my area follows old style rules and hardly ever diagnosis girls. its so frustrating as now her life just consists of her bedroom, and her anime obsession and hardly any outside contact.

  148. Man, it really is incredible, reading through your article, then seeing just how many people have commented and replied with their own stories.
    I’m a 16 year-old undiagnosed (but undoubtedly) Aspergirl, with a father who also has undiagnosed AS. He was taught by his mother so strictly about social cues that he managed to ‘slip through the cracks’, and now, he’s so good at going through the motions, that no one outside our family, even my mother’s sister, can believe he has it. My parents were quick to realise I probably had Aspergers, but both decided not to get me diagnosed so I would learn to cope with the issues on my own and with my parents’ help, rather than not even try because of that safety net to fall back on. While it is something I can respect my parents doing, when I was finally told that my mother believed I had Aspergers two years ago, I still couldn’t quite believe that was the decision they’d made.
    Since I learned what Aspergers was and identified with more and more as I read more about it, I have become more self-confident, more self-forgiving, and have actually managed to find a group of friends to call my own, something I struggled with immensely through every part of my life. I still struggle through most social cues, and end up embarrassing myself more than I care to admit because of it, but I firmly believe that those girls out there need to learn why it is that they struggle so, and that if others actually knew more about Aspergers, and what it means, perhaps it would be easier for them to understand us.

    Thankyou greatly for being one of those who spreads the word about this topic, and about those who slip through the cracks.

    • Sarah – You probably *think* you are embarrassing yourself more than you actually are. Like your parents, I decided not to have my daughter officially diagnosed until later, but we always told her she had Aspergers, so maybe that helped her a bit. My daughter is 18 now, still struggles socially, but attends college and is interested in doing activities to meet others. I had a hard time socially as well, but do not have Aspergers.. just had a big case of the “awkwards”. I know it’s not the same, but I know I felt very out of place in my teens as well. I believe you, like my daughter, will get there in your own time. You seem very self aware (like she is) and that’s a big hurdle in and of itself. Hugs to you and good luck with your journey 🙂

  149. Hi, I was recently Diagnosed with High Functioning Asperger Syndrome at about the age of 19, just after graduating high school and just shortly before losing all help and support from my therapist and my doctors. Is there any way you would be able to give me about what to do in a situation like mine?

  150. My mother first heard about Asperger’s in the nineties and very quickly realized that my father had it. I remember reading through a book about it because I wanted to better understand how not to incite my father’s rage. (In addition to Asperger’s, he also had a rough, abusive childhood, and he became a fairly aggressive and hurtful adult.)
    As I was reading through the symptoms, I identified with a lot of them, but I felt like I couldn’t possibly have this thing, because I am too empathetic. I even asked my mom, do you think I have this? And she said no, because I was so sensitive and kind to others. So I put it out of my mind and didn’t think about it.

    Fastforward to three days ago, and I found myself reading a list of traits that females on the spectrum have. It felt like I was ticking every single box. I went through the list and then I took some online quizzes (knowing that the results would be heavily skewed towards more male traits), and I still scored in the medium range. Not severe, but definitely diagnosable.

    When I brought it up to my boyfriend he seemed to think I was being silly, so I dropped it. His son has AS, and I felt like if I persisted in telling him about how females on the spectrum differed, that he would think I was trying to claim an identity that wasn’t my own, and I didn’t want him to think I was stupid or a hypochondriac.

    I don’t really know what to do next. I am 32, and I have been managing my anxiety issues and meltdowns for years on my own, but there are cracks in my exterior and I am always afraid of getting “found out” as not normal, or a weirdo, or too strange, especially at work. I want strategies, and I want a diagnosis, so people (like my boyfriend, or my mother) will take me seriously, but I am at a loss as to how to proceed. Also, I don’t know that I would even qualify for an autism spectrum diagnosis, now that American psychiatrists and psychologists have eliminated Asperger’s from the DSM V.

    I don’t really know what my question is. I think I just wanted to tell someone, and there’s no one else I can tell.

  151. I got diagnosed around a year ago, and am 17 now. My mom struggles with chronic pain, and is a single parent on disability with no other income. It’s been really hard for us just worrying about our living situation. Do you have any book recommendations?

  152. Hi Tania,
    I have a recently turned 15 year old daughter who has experienced school refusal for the past 18 months due to severe anxiety ( social and performance). She also has very low self esteem and sensory issues. She is a very quiet, deep thinking child who over thinks most thinks and needs to have her life planned out to feel relaxed. I have been thinking more and more about whether she has Aspbergers. My question is…is there any real value in getting a formal assessment done given her very low self esteem or will this compound her feelings about herself? She is not open to talking to psychologist or any strangers really. Sue

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