Moving Towards A Female Profile: The Unique Characteristics, Abilities and Talents of Young Girls and Teenagers with Asperger Syndrome or Autism

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The following list is an official screening document consisting of the unique characteristics and traits of young girls and teenagers with Asperger Syndrome, or High Functioning Autism. This list comes from the many young females I have worked with over the years and currently work with. I have assessed, observed, diagnosed and worked with thousands of girls and women of all ages. This document is based on my clinical anecdotal evidence and research by other well-known professionals. I will be modifying and/or updating this list from time to time. This list was written from my reflections, observations and experience, and is written in no particular order. No-one person needs to have every trait, and it is rare that a person would identify with every trait. ***This list is not a research-based female profile.  It is an official descriptive clinical profile, much like the early day descriptions that Asperger, Kanner and Frankl described of the boys they observed. Please be mindful that research often lags behind anecdotal, observational and clinical work. Updated September 8th, 2021

The following profile was created for children, teens and family members or health professionals and researchers who are considering a formal diagnosis and to assist mental health professionals in recognising Asperger Syndrome or Autism in young females. Please be mindful that he current statistics are 3:1 to 2:1 for males to females. I personally believe it is more likely to be 1:1 and that the research will find this in the future.

Females with Asperger Syndrome/Autism/ESSENCE experience their symptoms in varying levels, so while some Aspiengirls are highly introverted, others are not. Females with Asperger Syndrome or Autism tend to be discriminated due to the wide spectrum of abilities or levels of functioning that exists. The majority of females do not receive a formal diagnosis until teenagers or well into their adult years. This list typifies many of the girls and teens I have worked with. This document is based on my clinical anecdotal evidence and research by other well-known professionals. My clinical work is discussed in my award winning books I am AspienGirl here and I am AspienWoman here

I will be modifying and/or updating this list from time to time. This is current as of September 8th, 2021. This list describes females who may be described as twice, have Aspergers. Not all Autistic people are gifted. A significant proportion of Autistic people are Intellectually Impaired (II). Giftedness refers to scoring in the 98% on an IQ test and also having significant Talents. Twice Exceptionally refers to those who are GT and Aspergers/Autistic/ADHD/ESSENCE

  1. Natural born leaders, seen by girls who are strong willed, often very serious, intense, independent, “My Way” and/or stubborn and bossy
  2. Intelligence. Bright with an Intense and insatiable curiosity about the world, people, how things work, what people are doing. May be seen in the persistent asking of questions. Usually high average to genius level, uneven profile of abilities. This is knows as “twice-exceptionality”
  3. Intense emotions and mood swings
  4. Highly Sensitive and sensory issues (visual, hearing, smell, touch, balance and movement, intuition). A feeling of being different to their peers.
  5. Social skills differences, which may be displayed in a variety of ways that vary from their same-age peers. For e.g., may be shy in social situations, have one best friend or be a floater (floats from one group to another and having superficial connections with others). A less developed or little understanding of facial expressions, social context, non-verbal body language, theory of mind.
  6. Self-taught. The ability to teach themselves or learn about anything they are interested in. A preference to direct their learning, rather than teacher-directed learning.
  7. A high sense of justice and fairness (empathy for the “underdog”) and adherence to rules about how the world and people should operate and/or behave
  8. Perfectionistic and high standards towards self and others
  9. Anxiety and/or fears, including negative all-or-nothing thinking and/or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or obsessive tendencies.
  10. Gifts or Talents, which may include but are not limited to singing (perfect pitch) and/or music, writing, reading, artistic creations, languages, self-taught, fast learner or other talent(s)
  11. Fine and/or gross motor difficulties, clumsiness, a lack of co-ordination
  12. Difficulties understanding the human social hierarchy, age groups and roles within a group, family
  13. Sleep issues (difficulty getting to sleep due to thinking too much and/or worrying about events that happened that day or what may or may not happen the next day), often not a morning person, tend to prefer staying up later at night
  14. Stomach issues (cramping, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, gas) are quite common, due to gluten, wheat and/or casein allergies/intolerances
  15. Hyperfocus. May not respond to their name being called due to being fully engaged in thought or an activity
  16. Hyperempathy, emotionally empathic and very caring (for e.g., may lead to bringing home stray or injured animals) but difficulty with cognitive empathy
  17. Intense love and/or interest in animals, nature, celebrities, fiction, art, mathematics, languages and/or other cultures. May be obsessed with a person, real or fiction, in an unhealthy manner. Other common special or obsessive interests may include but are not limited to: philosophy, psychology, history (for example, Ancient Egypt or Rome, hieroglyphics), languages, Wicca, Vampires, Occultism, psychological profiling and/or criminology/serial killers/detective/FBI/forensic psychologist, science/space/NASA/Stephen Hawking, technology and programming, physical appearance (for example, Gothic, ultra-feminine, tomboy), fantasy, English literature, Law, make-up artistry, art, acting).
  18. Usually stand out as different from her peers, in terms of her dress (some girls are ultra princess-like in their clothing choices while others prefer to wear more comfortable and functional clothing, yet other stand out as anti-conformist
  19. Facial expressions may not match the situation or her mood (for example, smiling or laughing in a serious situation)
  20. May have interests that are mature/advanced AND/OR immature for her age (for example, a young child’s interest in english literature, opera or creative writing
  21. May be advanced in reading ability OR have trouble with reading comprehension
  22. May be advanced with mathematics/numbers OR have difficulties (dyscalculia)
  23. May have Irlen Syndrome
  24. May have Dyslexia
  25. May have Auditory Processing Disorder
  26. May have attention/focusing/impulsivity/hyperactivity issues (see Dr. Daniel Amen’s 7 types of ADD/ADHD at http://www.amenclinics.com/conditions/adhd-add). Usually have the anxious ADD type
  27. In social situations, she may be shy, quiet, even mute at times OR loud, very verbal and/or aggressive, imposing on other’s boundaries
  28. Has difficulty with asking for help when needed, saying “no” or asserting her own personal boundaries
  29. As mentioned previously, she may have trouble with her own boundaries, in addition to the boundaries of others
  30. May be naive, vulnerable and have a tendency to be taken advantage of. Often confused socially, saying she knows what to do in a social situation when she really does not. 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.
  31. May bring home stray animals, homeless friends or homeless strangers, much to their parents chagrin

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32. May avoid demands that cause her anxiety (Pathological Demand Avoidance, see http://www.thepdaresource.com/)

33. Usually has a low frustration tolerance

34. May have a different voice, for example, younger than her age, talks “babyish” for her age at times, speaks in an accent or in a monotone voice.

35. Avoids complying with requests from adults and may have difficulty with authority figures

36. May be clingy with one or two friends and has trouble sharing her friends with other children

37. “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE”. Gender Non Conformity (GNC) and Identity. GNC is not a new thing. In the 80’s there were ‘gender bending’ artists. In every generation, there have been ‘gender-benders’ who were anti-patriarchy and anti-matriarchy ‘out of the box thinkers’. They may be tomboys one day and a fashion diva or a princess the next day. They may be both on the same day. They may spend months vacillating between the two or variations of these presentations. Some may or may not be interested in looking feminine. For those pre-pubertal and going through puberty, this is the highest vulnerability time for mental health issues, being taken advantage of and safety issues. In my clinic, I have worked with thousands of teenagers who, before the transgender trend, the explanation that they must be ‘gender dysphoric’, ‘trans’ or non-binary, I (and other professionals) spend a great deal of time energy and work assisting Autistic teenagers with identity, core self issues, self-esteem, self-talk, social skills, boundaries, asserting themselves, GNC issues, eating disorders, depressions attacks, trauma, sexual abuse, child abuse, bullying, ADHD, depression, anxiety, immaturity, social and communication skills restricted and obsessive unhealthy interests, language skills and sensory processing/fine and gross motor issues. Autistic girls/teens/adults who remain undiagnosed have little idea of who they are and exist in others people world and dont know they are doing that. This is for a variety of reasons and I am currently writing a book about my experiences with my clients as a psychologist operating an Autism Clinic. Many have no awareness and their issues are never resolved until they receive their diagnosis and treatment.

There remain serious ethical and moral safeguarding issues in relation to transgendering Autistic and Aspergic girls and teens. Some of them I briefly outline below:

The Autistic Brain and the core features of Autism (social-communication, sensory processing, fine and gross motor skills issues, restricted interests and speech and  language issues/comprehension) and common co-existing conditions (ADHD, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, trauma, etc.). One area of the Autistic brain consists of enlarged Amygdala’s (emotion centers of the brain) and enlarged hippocampus. Puberty is described as “hell” by my teenagers. In 2018, Sir Simon Baron Cohen conducted some fantastic research on the effects of puberty, menstruation and medical conditions including PCOS that affect Autistic women. You may find that here:

The Immature Prefrontal Cortex. It is known that children and teens do not become mature until at least age 25. What this mean is they do not have mature skills in planning ahead, time management, Organization, making decisions, remembering things, considering the consequences of their actions, time management, staying on-task, completing tasks, being responsible, and more.

The inconsistent and uneven cognitive profile of Autistic females. A higher IQ but a lower social and emotional IQ

The lack of accurate assessment, diagnosis and identification of the ‘systemizing’ drive in Autistic children and teens

Cognitive thinking style consistent of rigid black and white thinking or concrete thinking (all-or-nothing, context blindness, poor mentalizing skills, a lack of ‘safety’ skills, a lack of understand other people intentions, being taken advantage of, are often ‘time-blind’.

The sense of being ‘right’, despite reality suggesting otherwise and/or others pointing this out to them

Obsessive and restricted interests on unhealthy topics including people, themselves and that transgendering is the answer to their unhappiness and will resolve their issues. Sadly, for most of them it does not. Autism or ESSENCE and the challenges (and strengths) must be supported appropriately.

Strong dislike of change

Gender NON Conformity and ‘out of the box’ thinking (TBC)

38. May not be interested in fashion at all or be obsessed with it. May be obsession with creating and recreating a ‘personality’ that meets society’s expectations, as presented to them by their peers, in magazine, on social media, television. Often change their appearance significantly

39. Experiences social exhaustion or “social hangover”, from an inability to socialize as much as her peers are able to.

40. Many females can look people in the eye and have superficial conversations with them

41. Often well-behaved at school and has “melt-downs” at home (usually due to social exhaustion)

42. May play with younger or older children

43. May have language issues, particularly in semantic-pragmatics and expressive and/or receptive language

44. May prefer to talk and/or play with boys and do not relate to their same-age peers (females)

45. May not apologize when she has made a social error OR may appease and apologize too much, even when she does not have too46.

46. May watch and/or observe others playing before joining in

47. May copy, mimic or clone herself on other girls, also known as “Social Echolalia”, a mirroring of other children, giving her a superficial social confidence and skill-set by acting the part of another person. However, the complexities of the next step of unwritten social skills soon becomes apparent when she has to navigate the expectations and demands that come with reciprocal relationships and maintaining them. This is both confusing and exhausting for her. Please see my 2013 blog on Camouflaging here

48. May have imaginary friends and/or imaginary animals

49. May spend more time setting up a play scene, rather than playing with the characters in the scene

50. May be obsessed with fantasy worlds of fairies, witches, imaginary friends, imaginary animals, dragons, anime, fantasies of self-image, the way one looks, appears to others

51. May be highly visual, creative, more imaginative then her peers

52. She may dominate when playing or talking with other girls OR be passive, quiet and “invisible” within the group. If she is dominating, her play tends to appear to be shared with others but she dominates and insists that others follows her rules and themes. If and/or when others refuse to be engaged she continues on with her own ideas or play. Her play tends to be mostly repetitive. If she is passive, she’s more likely to be compliant and may not come across as having social impairments. She may also be shy, embarrassed, coy, naive, innocent, unassuming, and hide or “camouflage” her difficulties, even lying about whether she needs or understands something or needs assistance or help. She is most likely to be described as “flying under the radar” or “blending in with the walls”.

53. A tendency to collect information on people rather than things. May be interested in psychology, social work, nursing, teaching or helping others. May grow up and become a clinician.

54. A tendency to ask a lot of questions, often challenging her parents or other adults, who are unable to provide her with the appropriate or the right answers; may correct the adult or teacher and point out their mistake

55. A tendency to imitate other girls in order to initiate social contact but then have great difficulty maintaining and keeping the reciprocal friendship going. It is this part that often girls find stressful and they will often ruminate about the social situation, what they could have said or done differently, often late at night

56. She may appear to have a rich imaginative world but the quality is atypical, tending to be a blend of fantasy and reality. This is currently see in the transgender trend. Before that it was usually seen with the anime, manga trends, pretending to be animals, pretending to have imaginary relationships with others.

57. She may have an intense interest in the family pets, who may be her best friends, rather than other children or her peers

58. May have motor tics, Tourette’s Syndrome

59. May have a different quality of eye gaze/eye contact. May stare at others

60. May not have a best friend, but be a “flitterer”, having many acquaintances, some to whom she may refer to as a best friend

61. May have difficulty completing tasks

62. May be highly organized, ordered and/or clean OR unorganized and have hygiene issues

63. May follow other children closely, studying their mannerisms, actions, words, and so on. others children/teens pick up on this and this can cause social problems.

64. Intense and serious. There is no other word for it. AspienGirls have an intensity in everything they do. If they cannot do it right, do it properly, do it right the first time, they tend to refuse, avoid, and or express frustration/distress. When taught to persevere, to develop frustration tolerance, to manage their emotions, they are most often successful in whatever they pursue, to the point of becoming an “expert”.

65. Superior photographic memory and weaker short-term memory

66. Can be obsessive about people, especially if they feel or perceive that they have been “wronged”. This can get them into trouble at times for hurting others or taking revenge. May obsess over or stalk people. May have a misguided sense of justice that leads them to getting in trouble with other people, lawyers or the legal system/law. An obsession with a human/humans never leads anywhere good (except if a detective after a terrorist).

67. May question why they are “different” or what is “wrong” with them or why they can’t seem to “fit in” of feel that the “mothership dropped me off on the wrong planet and I’m just waiting for it to pick me up”

68. Lack a clear sense of identity, “core self”, who they are and their place in society and seek to find meaning in their existence, life and how they fit in with larger society.

69. May be described as “serious”, “shy”, “odd”, “eccentric”, “adult-like”, “weird” in some ways, yet “babyish” in other ways. AS children they are viewed as “mature” and adults they are viewed as “childish:

70. A tendency to not be accepted by her same-age peers, across the lifespan.

71. High likelihood of being bullied and/or teased, overlooked or ignored

72. Intense dislike of disagreement, conflict, arguments, people yelling or shouting at them or around them. This them tends to an avoidance of conflict causing more serious communication difficulties. For example, this may be observed in a person who is unable to deal directly with a person they may have an issue with, but rather engages in talking or gossiping about their issue with that person with everyone else. Some do like debate, starting arguments, creating disagreements and this si a source of stress for families.

73. An inability to handle and/or cope with stress, conflict and/or change

74. An inner resilience, strength and ability (strong will and determination) to bounce back from stress and setbacks time and time again. This does depend on particular internal and external factors at play.

75. Some strengths, abilities, talents and interests may include: enjoying fantasy worlds, fiction, acting, modelling, art, mathematics and numbers, music, song-writing, perfect pitch, writing fiction, languages and/or translating, caring for nature and/or animals, research, learning and studying, intelligence, teaching, helping others, science and medicine.

76. May invade other’s personal space or stand too close to them or be unaware of boundaries

77. May dislike people looking or staring at her. This is often a huge barrier for talented and gifted performers (for example, singers performing in front of others or crowds, actors being on the red carpet).

78. May be perceived as being “just shy and quiet”

79. Most often confused by the conversations of their teenage peers

80. May walk on her tip-toes or have an “odd gait”, motor difficulties

81. May be very social, very loud, extroverted and make continual attempts to be part of a group. Her attempts are clumsy and her peers may see her as not quite fitting in. She lacks social skills and a social understanding to help the interactions go gracefully. Her peers don’t quite understand her social awkwardness and may be be mean to her, ostracize her and/or make fun of her, taking advantage of her naivety. She may appear to “flitter” from one person to the other or one group to the other, unable to have a typical friendship, due to smothering people or groups. Her peers take advantage of her, make fun of her and/or will be mean to her, saying they are her friend one day, but their actions prove otherwise. The issues revolve around girls being mean to her and cutting her from the group. She often smothers others and doesn’t understand the levels of friendship or social boundaries.

82. Thumb-sucking may last well-past pre-school age, until 9 or even 10 years of age.

83.  Often as a teen, spending breaks/lunches alone in the hallways, toilets, library, or with a teacher, due to not being part of a group and/or having no friends.

84. May have Alexithymia, an inability to identify and describe emotions in the self 

85. May have Synaesthesia, in particular mirror-touch synaesthesia. Research studies hypothesize that empathy is experienced by a process of simulation. So for example, when we see someone feeling happy or sad, the same neural circuits used to make them feel happy are activated in our brain. Since mirror touch synesthetes have heightened activation of mirror systems, it can be hypothesized that that these individuals may also experience higher empathy, and this has been confirmed by research in this area. Mirror touch synesthetes experience more empathy than non-synesthetes. A research study by Michael Banissy et. al  determined this by using the empathy quotient (EQ), consisting of three main scales: cognitive empathy, emotional reactivity, and social skills. Mirror touch synesthetes showed significantly higher EQ scores in emotional reactivity than in controls. However, synesthetes did not show higher scores in cognitive empathy and social skills. Thus empathy is multifaceted, and the tactile mirror system may not be fully responsible for the ability to empathize (For more information, check out Banissy, Michael; Jamie Ward (July 2007). “Mirror Touch Synaesthesia is Linked with Empathy”. Nature Neuroscience 10 (7): 815–816. doi:10.1038/nn1926).

References

Kopp S, Gillberg C. Res Dev Disabil. 2011 Nov-Dec;32(6):2875-88. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Gould, Judith and Ashton Smith, Jacqui. (2011). Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis? Women and Girls with Autism and PDA

FAQ: Why do your pictures include visuals of girls or women in superhero outfits? In my clinical experience and work, I never cease to be amazed by an Aspiengirls’ ability to bounce back from stress and setbacks time and time again. I refer to Aspiengirls’ abilities as “aspienpowers” because there is no other group of girls or woman I know of with the unique profile of abilities, traits and characteristics (aspienpowers) that enable them to be highly successful in their chosen careers and/or life, given the right environmental fit and support.

About Tania Marshall

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Tania holds a Masters of Science in Applied Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is a best selling author, Clinical Consultant Psychotherapist, Forensic Consultant, child and family psychotherapist and Autism Expert. She is an NDIS provider. She was formerly an APS Autism Identified Medicare Provider, a Helping Children With Autism Early Intervention Service Provider, a Better Start Early Intervention Provider, a Medicare Approved Mental Health Provider and a Secret Agent Society (SAS) Trained Group Facilitator.

Her areas of interest include: Gifted and Talented, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Twice-Exceptionality, Highly Sensitive Individuals, Learning Disabilities, Performance Anxiety and Psychological Profiling

She regularly provides diagnostic assessments, support and intervention and divides her time between private practice, writing and research.

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

Tania has now completed the first two in a series of books on female Autism. She is now writing a book series.

Her book series is available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com

To inquire about interviews, articles, workshops, presentations, or translations/translating of her books, please email Tania at taspiengirl@gmail.com

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Planet Aspien Book Series

Tania Marshall© 2013-2021. All rights reserved. Thank you.

81 thoughts on “Moving Towards A Female Profile: The Unique Characteristics, Abilities and Talents of Young Girls and Teenagers with Asperger Syndrome or Autism

  1. I don’t think I ever grew out of the very vast majority of these traits and I’m almost 30 already XD It would be good if you could proofread the last line of the FAQ though, that’s a highly distracting note to end the page on. It should say “their chosen careers and/or life.” Other than that, it’s a really insightful list ^_^

  2. we are in the early stages with our daugther’s assessment for Autism or A.S.D. (I’m at a loss as to how we define this with the new diagnostics – our son is two years into his A.S.D. diagnosis & even then we pushed to determine if we should be reading up on Aspergers from the diagnosing Psychologist and she said yes…) ~ but this list speaks to “me” & I’ve been working through this for about 4 months now… and at the same time – it really speaks volumes about our 4.5 year old daughter! The most surreal part is that I have a sister who has been on my mind a whole lot since our son was first being screened for Autism as she was most certainly the one in our family who was eccentric at an early age & demanded all kinds of focus in parenting and in time and in attention – I am older so I too was put into the caregiver role and recall a lot of her childhood and journey with an undiagnosed (but somewhat supported) learning disability. I became aware of differences in our family in a big way – we were just more colourful or odd/eccentric & then started to show social issues around Grade 5 but looking back – I’m sure it was evident earlier – just with my sister’s needs and struggles and challenges being at the forefront I think it was just I lost in the shuffle for others & for me too.

    Thank goodness you offered your link(s) via the Aspergers Society of Ontario Facebook Site ~ you are amazing & the information & support you provide within this Blog is INVALUABLE – hope to share as often as possible!
    & now I need to take charge & work out my own AsperPowers (is that the right term) & ensure we are on track for our daughter & of course our son – this is all so enlightening but also – forgive me here – but a bit of a burden too – as focusing on one of the family seems so much easier – yet the more we know ~ The More We Know ~&~ the More We Can Work on Our Family -Our Whole Family (which should always be the balance but is just a tad bit different now) – or the Family As A Whole!

    Thank you…. & I might camp out on your Blog for the next month… if that’s okay – provisions at the ready!

    • Hello Chyanne, thanks you for your message. Yes, siblings with ASC do take up more time from a parent and this can have sibling effects. I am glad that the Aspergers Society of Ontario Facebook Site post led you to read it. I hope to be able to have every country in the world become familiar with the female profile. Yes, I will be writing much more about AsperPOWERS in the future and camping out here is jsut fine. All the best!

  3. Tania,
    This is just a terrific piece! I have printed it, and after school I am going to share this with my nearly-ten-year-old (suspected) AsperGIRL. When she was tested, her results were based on the traditionally “male” scores and characteristics; I think they missed the boat, because she clearly fits into your documents’ categories…I also think I’ll be making an appointment with the new Spectrum Center in our region. 🙂

  4. My daughter fits so many of your listed characteristics except for the ability to bounce back in the face adversity. In fact, that is one of the reasons it was suggested to us she might have Asperger’s and was tested/ diagnosed late (early 20s); time and time again she would catastrophize life events into incredible tragedies and not really recover from each one. Over time they piled up until in college, the stress of not being able to navigate the social minefield finally took it’s toll. It’s been a heart breaking decline of the young woman we use to know who had so much promise; she just can’t cope with “rejection” that comes from not being able to relate to others or others relate to her. The result is a “not so little girl lost” who doesn’t know how to find her way back.

    • Hello D.S. and thank-you for your message. I meant to put that characteristic in my Adult womens profile, which is forthcoming. In my experience, mant aspergirls of all ages experience depression creeping up on them, difficulties in relationships, communicating, suicide attempts, and so on. Many of them have “bounced” back, kept going, are still alive, despite many hardships, depressive episodes, learning difficulties, and more. I know many who are successfyl in career, families, realtionships, despite such setbacks. They may have lost a small battle, but in my experience they pick themselves up and keep going. It is truly remarkable!

      • Thank you for all of your work. Will be anxiously awaiting your adult woman list! 💗😊💗

  5. This was fascinating to read. I have been wondering why I am not like other people for my entire life and now I think I have the answer. I have to say, I don’t necessarily want to be like other people – I like being me – it’s just that sometimes I find being around people completely exhausting.

    • Hello Jill, thank you for your message and kind words. Asperger Syndrome’s core feature difference is social. Being around people causes what I refer to as “social hangovers”. Learning where your social limits are is they key, and as Temple Grandin says, something like “if we were all social, we’d all still be back in the cave days!” Take care.

      • The problem though, is that the world is geared towards high sociability.

        A person nearly always has to have someone else, in order to do so many things – from going on an affordable holiday, to attending a much loved play (without feeling and/or drawing attention, if you are alone).

        I think the bigger problem is the general paranoia towards difference in general, within the average person. …i even had a person who was like a grand mother, reject me because I had slipped into depression and anxiety after severe bullying. She had seen me as eccentric or odd before, but after developing an anxiety disorder, she rejected me outright – as if I were a psychotic murderer.

        Her example may be more extreme, but it demonstrates how chronically small minded many people can be. …what is it that Robin Williams says in “Dead Poets” – when the crowd says, “That’s baaaa- aaa- aaaa- d!” ….well said. People are often a dumb flock of sheep.

  6. I never think of myself as a success in life due to never having had a career, and also struggling with being a mother/housewife, but I sometimes think I don’t give myself enough credit. It’s been incredibly hard struggling through on the spectrum and not knowing until I was 40. I still have anxiety and depression issues that I’m working on, but I am never giving up on myself. This list helps me to see I also have resilience and many other positive qualities. Thanks.

    • Hello and thank-you for your message, Aspergirls and Asperwomen are very hard on themselves. It is quite common for women to question why life seems so hard for them and not for others. Being a mother/housewife is a “success”, to me. Asperwomen are very resilient (that is not to say they don’t “feel” like the wind blows them over all the time) and have this ability to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep going, as you will do too:-) I wish you all the best.

  7. This describes my 7 yo daughter so well – she is indeed intense, there is no other word for it! Thanks so much for putting this together – it’s great to see the many strengths listed as well as the weaknesses.

    • Hello Kirsty and thank-you for your message. Yes, I use the work intense when I ask parents about their child, as it is indeed a valid and common characteristic. Intense and serious. Aspergirls have many many strengths and I will be blogging about this in the future.

  8. My miss6 fits into most of these,aside from the diagnoses of anything other than supposed Dyslexia.
    Thank you for sharing this,as I never would of thought to look at this,and if this is the case,then we can learn to work with her rather than against her!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Jess

    • Hello and thank-you for your message. It is often teh case taht something gets picked up (for example, you said dyslexia) and I will see girls with prior diagnoses of anxiety or an eating disorder, but then a full developmental history and diagnostic assessment reveals Asperger Syndrome, in a girl. All the best!

    • Hi Emma, I have been asked this alot. I do often see males too in my clinical work. I am planning on doing piece on the similarities and differences, gender-wise in the future. Take care.

  9. I find this blog very interesting. I am a 48 yr old female who is undiagnosed for many things. These traits are very reminiscent of my past as well as my present. I often wonder if having assessment done at my age would be helpful. Particularly since I have bounced back from so many high stressors except the last one which has left me permanently emotionally scarred in that I can no longer handle any type of stress without crying. Keep on with the blog, if will help many as your audience grows. Cheers

    • Hello Lady Vee, thank-you for your comments and your kind words. There are many reasons to seek a diagnosis. I have provided diagnoses for individuals aged 2 years to late sixties. A most important reason is self-understanding and knowledge. Asperwomen have an uncanny ability to bounce back from life events and keep going. Keep on going on ok (and I’ll keep blogging)?:-) All the best!

  10. That’s me. This knowledge might be useful, my half-brother has had a torrid time through his teen years being heavily (and largely unsuccessfully) medicated for “psychosis”. After my son was diagnosed with autism we all started to suspect he in fact has Aspergers and now in his mid-twenties he is still pursuing that DX. It’s not been an easy path for him but knowing that his (half) sister also comes under the same umbrella might help him to carry on pushing for it.

    • Hi Janine and thank-you for your comments, it has been my experience that some teens/adults are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed appropriately. Then when a family member (usually a child) is diagnosed, other older family members are then appropriately diagnosed. I wish you all the best.

  11. i think you must have met my daughter,or at least studied her for a while..I could only find maybe 3 things i wasnt 100% convinced were her…mostly because i wasnt sure what they meant…A little further investigation…and yup she has that too.My lovely loopy teen :).It is also remarkable to realise the differences as the years go by,some problems disappear and others join in for a while…but the major ones are there all along.

    • Hello Fiona and thank-you for your message. Yes, I have met, worked with, studied hundreds of individuals, all ages. Yes, some traits become more or less apparent, all depending on age, environment, development, severity of symptoms, and so on. Take care.

  12. So many of these traits are me….it’s uncanny. Especially the ability to bounce back. I’ve always classed myself as one of life’s “copers”. I have had stress after stress after stress thrown at me (father died when I was 11 years old, mum describes my growing up as ‘lurching from one crisis to another’, I was married at age 24, 2 daughters, and then divorced at 30. Went through separation, house move and divorce without taking time off work. Undertook a work-heavy post grad course at the same time as working full time, completed a Masters while working full time, etc, etc!). I eventually cracked under the strain last year, when a chaotic way of working fried my brain too much and I couldn’t cope with the change. After 7 weeks off work, I came back to work, and carried on. I’m just starting a MPhil/PhD. I keep on going, but it’s exhausting. I have a Dr’s appointment soon to ask for a referral for Aspergers, as I feel it is time to recognise my traits and seek diagnosis. Almost everything you say in this blog post fits me…..I think I will take it to my Dr.

    • Hello Erika, your story is not unusual in terms of the ability of asperwomen to keep going. It’s remarkable and in fact, I believe it to be a asperpower! Thank-you for your story and comments. I am sure others will identify. I wish you all the best in your diagnosis. Take care and keep going!

  13. I’m dyspraxic, and it has been found that is has a fair few overlaps with Asperger’s in certain areas. And I know someone who has both.

    Reading through this list I found myself ticking off a fair few items that I either remember doing/have been told I did as a child, and a fair few I still seem to deal with as an adult.

  14. Gosh… I turn 50 this year and have only just found out why I am like I am. I have a new stepson and have been looking into Asperger’s so I have an insight into his life, and randomly did ‘the test’ myself, lo and behold… Your list is just like describing myself. I have been so different all my life with no idea why. I used to use alcohol to try and fit in but had to stop over 17 years ago. Since then I have been almost social-phobic but try very hard not to be which is exhausting.
    I can’t wait to see more of your blog, I only found it today. It’s like having the lights switched on for the first time in my life. Thank you.

    • Hello Karen, thank you for your message. Yes, it is quite coommon for people to use alcohol or other drugs to socially cope, attempt to fit in or manage intense emotions, anger and/or anxiety. I will be uploading an adult female profile very soon. All the best.

  15. Pingback: Tendencies, Traits, Talents: Aspergirls | Accidental Thong

  16. What should you do if you think you might have Asperger’s but don’t want to tell anyone in case you’re wrong? Is there a test that you can do online? Sometimes it makes me really upset because I can’t do stupidly easy things that everyone else can do – like sarcasm and pointless conversation all the time. It makes me so tired trying to “fit in”. Then when I’m tired of it all, they’re all like ‘What’s wrong?’ and I don’t get it; because there’s loads of things that are technically wrong (like the lack of a blue-coloured sachet of tea in a Clipper tea selection box, to name but one) but I just don’t get what they want me to tell them. This was the first time I heard of ‘social exhaustion’ but that really seems to fit. Most of the time I’m fine with it all – I don’t really get on with people my age, but that doesn’t matter; they think I’m strange and I think they are – just every now and then it makes me feel like a failure I guess. Is there anything that can help with this? Or is this just how life is going to be?
    Oh, and thank you very much for the article – it is at least encouraging to know there are other people who feel and think a lot of the things I do; even if I don’t understand it!

    • Hi Rebekah, have you read my blog called “Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome?” Does that seem to fit? You could also read some biographical books by women with Asperger Syndrome, if you so choose. I highly recommend Asperger’s and Girls, with Professor Tony Attwood et. al, by Future Horizons and/or a DVD by Professor Tony Attwood called Asperger’s, Autism and Girls, Understanding and Apperciating the Female Perspective, Future Horizons. If you do decide to seek a formal diagnosis, I highly recommend searching for a professional who is qualified and experienced in the area of females and Autis. Good luck!

  17. Pingback: Adult Dyslexia And Related Conditions: Irlen Syndrome

  18. This. Wow. Speechless. I am a grown up version of this description completely. This explains so much. I have been so hard on myself for my failings and now I see I must be proud of myself and a lot more gentle towards myself.
    You are awesome. Thank you for your work.

    • Hello Belle, thank you for your kind words. You should definitely be proud of yourself! There are many grown ups who are discovering they have Aspergers and like you are quite hard on themselves, some have even committed suicide. This is just one of many reasons for a diagnosis. Continue to be gentle on yourself, read all you can from good quality sources, learn about your gifts and talents and take care:-)

  19. Thank you for this list. I discovered my Aspergers at age 38 and my daughter seems very much like me – but most lists out there still contain traits like “lacks empathy” which is so infuriating to me. This one is particularly comprehensive and helpful. I especially like your AsperGIRLS FAQ statement at the end because the ability to bounce back after extreme stress is so true!

  20. Many thanks to someone of your ilk, one who cared to further investigate this issue of females presenting differently from males with Aspergher’s… Due to a work situation where it felt like I was being bullied from a new leader, and simultaneously by a team I lead (where one phoned to warn me something ” bad” was happening behind my back and didn’t like it), I think I just had a frustration implosion of sorts.
    I just found your information and currently think my Dr. May suppose this syndrome is my diagnosis along with depression and agoraphobia bouts I’ve had lately…
    Have waited years since seeing the movie Mozart and the Whale, or something like that, and thinking the female protagonist was so much like me~ don’t know what I’d do without my daughter who knowingly or not, has lovingly helped me see what is socially appropriate/ and not, (she’s 21), all while growing up. I recall her telling me a decade or more ago that I wouldn’t survive a day in 7th gr., lol.
    I’d dropped out of school in be 8th grade due to bullying – and did not get that, and a technology diploma and U of C degree until 2006!
    All the wasted time for earning income, the times I’d drop out of a night- class because some classmate was getting too close, and I wouldn’t know how to tell him to back off, etc.. Being way to forward with relative strangers about very personal things- born FILTERLESS I tell you…I hope my doctor, should indeed I end up with a diagnosis, Thereby helps me to forgive myself for so much perceived oddness that I’ve been trying to understand my whole life.
    Calgary , Alberta

  21. Tania, can I cite this in my studies please? I’ll have to run it past Amanda Webster though I think as we can only use peer reviewed, evidence based research and she said today on the teleconference that we won’t be able to use most resources on the internet unless they are government policies or reports. She said to steer well clear of Jenny McCarthy and Jacqui Roberts agreed! (I’ve never heard of her, have you?!) Anne

  22. This sounds like me. I went to a psychologist but they said I have social anxiety disorder. I think they are wrong.

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  24. Hello,

    Thank you so much for this article. I identify so many of these traits in myself. I’ve just been diagnosed (I’m 31) but some of the information just doesn’t fit me (but I appreciate it’s a spectrum disorder). This is the most relevant information I’ve found.

    I’d just like to point out though that you have two items listed as 31.

    • Hello Christy, Thank-you for your message. Whilst a diagnosis at 31 is seen as a late diagnosis, it is never too late to learn, improve and so on. Not all of the information will fit everyone, as you say, and yes, I have an assistant who helps me try to keep current with the amount of emails, comments, requests, blogs, and so on, and grammatical mistakes will happen. Thank-you for letting us know. I wish you all the best.

  25. Oh wow, this almost completely describes my now 14 year old daughter, and when I scrolled to the bottom and saw the little girl dressed as Thor, wow, my 14 daughter wears her Thor helmet all day, only takes it off to go to school, has done this for a couple of years now. My daughter has never been diagnosed, but my younger sons have been with Aspergers and Tourette’s. So I am guessing she was an Aspiegirl all along.

  26. Reblogged this on Felicity Moore, Psychologist and commented:
    Tania Marshall is a Clinical Psychologist working on the Sunshine Coast and specialising in Autism and Aspergers in girls and women. Her blog has A LOT of helpful information. This article is about the behaviours and traits that can be common in girls who are Aspergien.

  27. Hi Tania,
    Is it possible to have some/many of these traits and then when under stress find yourself slipping more towards having a higher intensity of them?
    I don’t think I have aspergers, however I read these and there are some that I really click with.
    Stress and stressful situations bring on a much higher level and is that just because everyone is on the scale?

    • Dear Caroline, thank-you for your message. I do believe that stress levels certainly intensify the traits. For example, I know many females who have great empathy, however when stressed or under stress, can appear or act the opposite. Stress and anxiety is the number 1 challenge adults with Aspergers find challenging. Every one has some traits of Aspergers, but that does not mean they have Asperger Syndrome. It is the number of traits and how much those traits or symptoms interfere with daily living and daily functioning.

  28. I found this a very interesting article, though I have some questions. I’m wondering if this list of characteristics of more than one mental condition. Does the term Asperger’s describe one or several conditions?
    What is your working definition of Asperger syndrome?
    Also I’m wondering if you think there could be potential for confusion in the medical field leading to Introverts being labeled as having Asperger Syndrome when they are simply introverted or those who truly do have Aspergers being labeled as just Introverted?
    I ask because I’m fairly introverted, several of these characteristics describe me quite well, and I have never actually fully understood the true nature of what Asperger syndrome really is.
    Thank you for your time!
    Rylan

  29. I’m 71 and as yet undiagnosed as an autism sufferer, I’ve looked for answers all of my life and feel now that I’ve found the answer.

      • P. S. I loaned her the books so that she would understand me better after my diagnosis, which occurred about a year after our son’s diagnosis. I’m 99% my father has Aspergers and possibly my brother too!

  30. Almost 80 of them are pieces of my life. Some I have been able to hide from others, some were true when I was a child and I finally learned behaviors to replace the ones that annoyed everyone else.

    I sucked my fingers until I was eight. My front teeth were pushed forward and “bucked” because of it – and that certainly did not help with my social problems. Ugh!

    I smiled at #83. I had a few secret places around campus I loved, but the library became a wonderful haven for me.

  31. I wonder if you could recommend a therapist for my 13 year old niece. She is a brilliant young woman who is really beset by anxiety – some of which is just to do with being thirteen, but I think most of it can be explained by her having Aspergers, not understanding it, and having really intense emotions. We live in Philadelphia.

  32. Pingback: Autism Articles – Miscellaneous | lovenlearning

  33. Pingback: Girls and Women | lovenlearning

  34. Hi! I’m from the Philippines. Thanks for this article. All of the symptoms of Aspergers’ Syndrome are the very characteristics of me. I’m a former staff nurse in a nursing home who was recently terminated because of my “ADHD” but I believe it was mot the cause, but my “autistic-like” traits which was diagnosed back in my infancy. I hope there will be more awareness of autism spectrum disorder in females, especially in my native country so that there will be less ASD girls struggling to fit in the neurotypical world by acceptance and accommodation. Thank you.

  35. Pingback: Assessing the behaviors, traits and abilities of young females on the Autism Spectrum | Tania A. Marshall, M.Sc.

  36. Pingback: About that ‘security blanket’ ~ a shout-out to the #ActuallyAutistic bloggers… (100th post) – the silent wave

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  38. If only a revised version of this was included in the DSM. However, the Felicity House in New York is a one of a kind. Reading this was like reading autoboigraphy of myself. My name is Ariel Edwards. I am 18 years old and I live in Snellville, Georgia. I would like to be formally identified but there are so many barriers towards disgnosis such the cost and avialibility of doctors (espically in the United States) who do not have an age or gender when working with females. Persoanlly I preder the term discovery over diagnosis but that can be for another time. I am not really sure where to go for an approrriate evaluation of ASD.

  39. I would love to see a book regarding surviving the workplace for Women with Autism. There’s a book out regarding this topic for people with Autism. But I didn’t feel like it really fit the challenges women with Autism face (bullying, sensory issues, how to talk about challenges and limitations with management)

  40. Pingback: Why I Choose to Speak Publicly About Being Autistic – PUSSY VIPER TALKS AUTISM

  41. I am getting an assessment for ASD/PDA beginning of June. My daughter has a dx of ASD and ADHD (I suspect her to have PDA but undiagnosed). Having read this, I believe we are both AspienGirls! This list describes me; most of it actually. Girls go under the radar as they have the ability to mask and try to fit in – consciously or subconsciously. I’ve printed this out to read again. I’ve felt different all of my life, like an odd piece of jigsaw that doesn’t quite fit the puzzle. I have however managed to pave a career for myself as a project manager, rather successfully and bounced back from loads of crap in my life. I do struggle emotionally though. Thank you for this Tania.

  42. Missed this list when I read your other list! Great information here for me to add to my research! Again I fit so much of this list! I love that term ‘social echolalia’… I have heard of mirroring before and acting the required part but not heard it being called social echolalia! This is something that I have done all through school and to this day! I think this is why I make friends OK but then come undone and struggle to maintain friendships. The older I get the harder it seems to maintain friendships… Sometimes the thought of masking makes me tired so will more often opt to stay home.

  43. What about the learning aspect?
    I found it hard to be at school or to do my course recently, I could see others were grasping it much quicker than I was, I would need more explanation of the task that was needed of me. I could see I was falling behind, took lots of notes, screen shots of the white board where the notes written or the slides shows, but really they meant nothing in the end when I had to go over them.
    I’ve been in admin when I first started work, loved it, getting paid for doing mundane work, loved pleasing my colleagues. Later got a job as a receptionist, to me it was the same kind of role, with the added task of answering the phone. Soon found out taking long winded notes was a nightmare for me, I could feel the anxiety, couldn’t keep up. Spelling was hard and writing people’s names was hard, especially if it was a foreign name, I would have to ask them to start again, got conflicting advice, ask for them to spell their name, then, don’t get them to repeat themselves…. ahhhh.
    Loved it when voicemail was introduced into the office environment or was accepted to transfer clients to the appropriate person so they could leave message on their office phones. (They would know better what they are mumbling about, if you could even hear then properly)
    Then I worked as a switchboard operator, loved it, not message writing, just transfer to the appropriate department.
    I would have loved to have been a supervisor at some time in my life, but I feel I didn’t have the mental strength for it.
    Would any of these issues /downfalls could have been due to being autistic?

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