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

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

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

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

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

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

What exactly makes you feel different from your peers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How long can you socialize for before feeling tired?

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued in Part 2 and many more examples coming 

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I Am AspienGirl

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I Am AspienWoman

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Copyright 2013-2018 http://www.aspiengirl.com, http://www.taniamarshall.com, taniannmarshall.wordpress.com

Do Autistic or Neurodiverse people attract abusive and toxic people? Yes

A recent FAQ and theme in the thousands of Neurodivergent people I have worked with is, “Do I have an S (sociopath), a P (psychopath), an N (narcissist) or an L (loser) on my forehead???”. Yes, I have seen this time and time again. Toxic people are everywhere. 1 in 100 people are Psychopaths. They are at your work, they may be your boss, a colleague, a friend, a family member, a partner, or your own child.

 

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Neurodivergent people are more susceptible to these types of toxic people than Neurotypical people. Having said that, neurotypical people find it challenging to associate and untangle themselves from these kinds of people. Neurodiverse people (whether male or female) have a unique combination of traits that can set them up for being open to being taken advantage of. Susceptible people can also include: highly sensitive people (HSP), Empaths, intuitive individuals and co-dependent individuals.

Just some of the characteristics and traits include: social naivety, taking what people say literally/believing in what people say to them, misreading other people intentions, a dislike of conflict and/or confrontation, a lack of boundaries, being passive, not understanding the unwritten social skills (let alone the Dark triad’s language and behaviors), having Alexithymia, and a lack of assertiveness. There are many more traits.

It is critical that socially naive people learn the Dark Triad Personality’s language, words, actions and behaviors and understand that it is not their fault and that being with a toxic person can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is also critical that Neurodiverse people learn boundaries, how to assert themselves, including how and when to get out of a toxic relationship.

The Molotov Cocktail is a video series that covers all this and more, from what makes a person more susceptible, to learning the Dark Triad language and their tactics, to what to do about it, how to respond or NOT respond and many tips. The series can be found here.

Starting at Episode III of her video series, Tania discusses in a 6 part series, why Neurodiverse people are vulnerable to abuse and/or attracting the dark triad (often Narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths) into their lives, why and how they often are taken advantage of, the red flags to look out for and what to do if they have toxic people in their lives. She helps Neurodiverse individuals to understand those with this personality type to and how to avoid them in the future.

Part 1 is an introduction and answer to the question, “Do I have an S, N, P or L on my forehead?” Why is the dark triad attracted to me? Tania discussed the uniques qualities that make you a target for being set up to be involved with a toxic person.

Part 2 reviews the unique qualities of Neurodiverse individuals, how the ‘dark triad’ find or seemingly find or are attracted to you, the red flags to look for in a toxic person, learning the ‘dark triad’ language (yes, they have their own language), helpful tips and actual case clinic illustrations.

Part 3 delves deeper into the ‘dark triad language’, delves deeper into the characteristics and traits that you may have that attract them into your life, learning assertiveness, boundaries, how to speak to a toxic person, and including more case illustrations.

Part 4 discusses what to do if you are married or have been married and/or have children with this personality type, the court system and how the dark triad uses it against you (communication is just one weapon they use). She discusses what a Neurodiverse person can do when you find yourself in this type of situation, strategies to keep calm and how to or how not to communicate with your dark triad ex or current toxic partner. Tania uses a case illustrations to illustrate her points.

In part 5, Tania teaches Neurodiverse individuals the tools for understanding how to untangle yourself from a dark triad individual, how to identify and avoid this personality type in the future and obtain the appropriate professional treatment, if necessary. She also shares case illustrations to educate and help those individuals who are or have been conned by a toxic person. She also discusses what she has seen occur in therapy, from either side.

In part 6, Tania concludes with successful and positive examples of neurodiverse people becoming detangled from the toxic individual in their life, answers some FAQ’s, discusses more helpful tools and tips and more. Please keep in mind this series is an introduction the ‘Dark Triad’. 

Tania uses case studies from her work to illustrate each topic in her video series because she understands how powerful these can be to the listener and many people have told her they feel “less alone”.

If you would like her to discuss a topic in a future video, please email her. She can be reached for both male and female adult impressions assessments via Skype or other platform or in-person for training, presentations, collaborations, problem-solving sessions, educational and professionals consultations or training at tania@aspiengirl.com
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“Thank you, Tania, for sharing your work from your lengthy career. It is life-changing”.

“Tania has a unique and positive refreshing view on those who are often entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box thinkers, utilizing their strengths to make meaningful contributions to the world”.

“Thank you for your work and dedication to supporting females on the Spectrum. In particular, your work regarding the ‘dark triad’. I am Neurodiverse and can not tell you how many times I have ended up in what you describe as a “living hell” and the hell continues.”

If you have found yourself in a toxic relationship, tell us when and how you found out, what you did about it, and what worked or didn’t work. Leave a comment below and take care out there. Safety first!

 

Copyright 2018  http://www.aspiengirl.com   www.taniamarshall.com vimeo.com/ondemand/femaleautism   Tania Marshall

Aspienwomen: Moving towards an adult female profile of Autism/Asperger Syndrome

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Updated SEPTEMBER 8th, 2021 (originally written in 2011 and published 2013)

Tania Marshall© 2013-2021. All rights reserved. Aspiengirl and Planet Aspien are trademarked. Thank you.

Aspienwomen : Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome. This blog has been viewed well over 1,000,000 times, been reblogged and translated into multiple languages. It gained international recognition in 2013 and was the inspiration for Tania’s second book, released August 29th, 2015, Foreword by Dr. Shana Nichols, and now an international bestseller. I am AspienWoman received a 2016 IPPY eLit Gold Medal award in the ‘Women’s Issues’ category. This book and Tania’s first book, I Am AspienGirl, the autistic female profile of children and teenagers, is available at Amazon and other fine bookstores. Due to Tania’s education, training, experience, blog and award winning books, international consultant work and lengthy career, she is considered to be a world expert on the Autistic or Neurodivergent profile, across the lifespan. Tania is Neurodivergent herself, specifically Twice-Exceptional. Twice-exceptionality is discussed below in the ‘cognitive’ section. She was one of the first psychologists to detail the profile of Autistic or Neurodivergent females, across the lifespan. This blog was written to address the autistic female crisis and does not mean that other genders do not or will not identify with this work.

Neurodivergency is a complex area encompassing a large group of individuals with a wide variety of neurotypes including, but not limited to: ADHD, Autism, highly sensitive individuals (HSP), LGB, sensory processing sensitivities (SPS), different learning styles, and more. Each individual has their own unique profile. There are many subtypes and expressions. She has 30 years of experience neurotyping and profiling individuals of all ages, from a wide variety of cultures and countries and is a trauma-informed therapist. She is a strengths-based therapist who works in a person centred way and closely aligns with Dr. Ross Greene’s work in CPS. She attended his two-day training and met him. She believes strongly in the human right for young children to access and be provided with therapy and counselling, free of any bias. She believes in a holistic approach, a bio-psycho-social spiritual model and believes that many, but not all, “mental health disorders” are a normal reaction to what has happened to a person. She is trauma-informed and was trained in EMDR during her Masters degree. She believes that unbiased therapy is ethical therapy. She believes that all humans have the right to ethical evidence based unbiased health-care.

Tania is available for fee-based Skype/Zoom remote assessments, consultations, problem-solving sessions, intervention, and support. She also works regularly with a variety of professionals in many countries, in the areas of referrals and assisting individuals to obtain and/or receive an assessment, diagnosis and/or support in their own country. She can be contacted at aspiengirl@gmail.com regarding fee-based assessments, intervention, support, problem-solving, referrals, her diagnostic impressions assessments, booking inquiries and translations, publishing inquiries, media enquiries, workshops and/or conferences. Tania is available for consultation online ONLY, with the exception of working in her capacity as a consultant to Law enforcement, intelligence and forensic settings. Tania welcomes all clients, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, religion, or political stance.

She consults with workplace organisations and employees who work at Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Tesla including intelligence agencies in relation to providing workplace accomodations for their employees. She has assisted individuals working in these environments with environmental changes best suited for them.

Tania consults regularly with Police, cyber-intelligence and the defence force, in relation to crime, the rapid increase in radicalisation, body language, micro-expressions, facial affect, camouflaging, psycho-linguistic analysis and statement analysis. For consultations, click below and schedule your own fee-based appointment:

SCHEDULE YOUR OWN ONE-ON-ONE CONSULTATION WITH TANIA VIA CALENDLY!

Tania offer a wide range of services in a number of different roles. To book in with Tania, please go to CALENDLY

We are receiving emails from individuals all over the world wondering if they have adult ADHD in a female and/or are burning out, have burnt out, are on leave from work and/or feel they are at breaking point. Whilst we are not a crisis service, a legitimate assessment can help you understand how your life got to this point, place a ‘hold’ on what is happening to you and assist you with a valuable life-changing individualized ‘What Next’ plan for getting you not only back on track but on a better track towards thriving in a system/world that was not designed for you. Click on the link above to schedule a fee-based session.

The following list is an official detailed working screener document consisting of the unique characteristics and traits of adult women with Asperger Syndrome, or the Autistic female profile. It is not a research-based formal assessment tool. It is an anecdotal clinical screening tool based on the thousands of females I have worked with over 30 years. I have assessed, observed, diagnosed and worked with Neurodivergent individuals across the lifespan. Over my career, I have assessed individuals from 18 months to 80 years of age, from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. 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. Autism is a heterogeneous condition and as such, whilst people may share similar abilities and challenges, no two people with Autism are alike. This is a descriptive anecdotal profile, much like the early day descriptions that Asperger, Kanner (3 girls), and Frankl described of the boys they observed.

***Please be mindful that research often lags many years behind anecdotal, observational and clinical work.

***This list does not characterise all people and Autism is a heterogeneous condition. It presents itself differently in each person

***Research shows that everybody has Autistic traits. Out of a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle, everybody on the planet has a couple or a few pieces. Those that have 60 pieces would be said to have Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP) and those with 80 or more pieces are diagnosable or diagnosed with the condition.

***Self-diagnosis does not equal a formal diagnosis. Some people who self-diagnosis do not have Autism or Asperger Syndrome and some do. There can be false positive self-diagnoses.

***The reported prevalence of autism has increased substantially. This increase in the rate of autism spectrum condition (ASC) may be driven by “Autism Plus”. Autism Plus refers to autism with co-existing conditions/disorders (including but not limited to intellectual developmental disorder, language disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and this may be what is being diagnosed by clinicians as ASC. In clinical practice, a diagnosis of ASC is done so that a child will receive support at school and in the community, which may not be the case for other diagnoses. In the past the co-existing conditions were given diagnostic priority and the “autistic features” might, or might not have been mentioned as the “plus bit” in the diagnostic summary. The co-existing conditions (sometimes even more important than the autism), must came back on the diagnostic agenda and be addressed. Autism is but one of the Early Symptomatic Syndromes Eliciting Neurodevelopmental Clinical Examination (ESSENCE), along with many others (See Gillberg).

The following profile was created for females who are self-diagnosing or considering formal diagnosis and to assist mental health professionals, legal and forensic professionals, and body language professionals in recognising Autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD and other co-exiting conditions in adult females.

Females with Asperger Syndrome experience their symptoms at varying levels, so while some
Autistic females are highly introverted, others are not. Many women would not meet formal criteria for a diagnosis due to their coping mechanisms. They would be defined as “sub-clinical”, “residual Aspergers”, or “shadow traits”, otherwise known as Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP). Females with Asperger Syndrome or Autism tend to be discriminated against due to the wide spectrum of abilities or levels of functioning that exist. The majority of females do not receive a formal diagnosis until well into their adult years. They are know as the ‘lost generations’.

This list typifies many of the adult Autistic females I have worked with. These traits also depend to some extent on the severity, whether you’ve been assessed and diagnosed and/or received support and intervention, and also whether there is a co-existing condition(s) (for e.g., a personality disorder) present. There is research that points towards late-diagnosed adults as having both Autism and a personality disorder.  This is common.

CRUCIAL ADVICE WHEN OBTAINING AN ASSESSMENT

This profile is used by researchers, mental health professionals, doctors, school personnel, forensic personnel, educational organisations, teachers, allied health professionals and those self-diagnosing. It has been cited in multiple papers, dissertations and books, courses and training’s worldwide. It formed the basis of my two award winning and best selling books. For more information:

THE CHILD/TEEN AUTISTIC PROFILE

CAMOUFLAGING

RED FLAGS AND FIRST SIGNS OF AUTISM IN YOUNG GIRLS

I AM ASPIENGIRL BOOK AVAILABLE HERE

I AM ASPIENWOMAN BOOK AVAILABLE HERE

In obtaining an assessment from a practitioner, it is critical that you see someone who is both trained and experienced in working with Autistic females, across the lifespan. They must have worked with (ideally under supervision) with a minimum 100 Autistic females, across the lifespan, to be able to observe the many varying expressions and syb-types. They must also be able to do a thorough family history, differential diagnosis, assess trauma and provide you with a comprehensive “What Next” Section. They should be trained and experienced in differentiating between twice-exceptionality and Autism, HSP and Autism, ADHD and Autism, trauma and Autism, Camouflaging (Masking, Assimilation, Compensation), Personality Disorders and Autism (including the common presentation of both). They should also be trained and experienced in investigating Synaesthesia, Propagnosia, Irlen syndrome, 7 types of ADD, trauma and adult PDA. They should be aware of the unique spikey cognitive profile in addition to differentiating between Giftedness and Autism and Twice-Exceptionality. Make sure you’re assessed by professionals who are aware of the unique presentation and needs of both diagnoses.They should be able to tell you what kind of thinker you are and your neurotype profile, and address learning disabilities. An IQ test can be important in adulthood and can provide additional meaningful information. A thorough comprehensive assessment includes both quantitative and qualitative information gathering. the most important part is family history and obtaining as much information about you as an infant, toddler, child, teenager up to the present day. This should include reviewing childhood and adult photos and information from family members. The primary diagnosis should be listed followed by all secondary diagnoses by clinicians.

1.  Cognitive/Intellectual Abilities

Diagnosis is complicated. A large group people with autism score at 70 or below on intelligence tests. The smaller group have anywhere from average to profound intelligence. Giftedness can mask the symptoms of autism, and autism can mask giftedness. Gifted children at times exhibit behaviors (for e.g., obsession with facts, intense interest with an area of interest, a lack of interest in peers) that are characteristic of autism. Children with autism can develop such expertise in their particular intense interest that professionals initially miss the fact that they are not as ‘smart’ about navigating the social world. This is why an accurate evaluation is very important. This allows the fleshing out whether a child is gifted and talented, autistic, or both. This is crucial in order to provide the child/adult with the correct supports and services. 

Twice – Exceptionality. Giftedness is not measured just by an IQ score alone. There must also be talents present. Giftedness is rare and these individuals tend to have superior to very superior to genius intelligence (as measured by a formal IQ test), often (but not always) with significant splits between verbal and perceptual reasoning abilities, lower working memory and/or processing speeds and learning disabilities (for e.g., dyscalculia, dyslexia, reading comprehension). Generally, a FSIQ is NOT the best indicator of intelligence. Individual sub-test scores and inter-domain test scores are usually spikey. There is a difference in the sub-type of expression between those who are Gifted (IQ = 130+) and those of average to high average intelligence. There are also levels of Giftedness within the Gifted group that make it challenging for professionals to understand. For example, an individual with an IQ of 150 presents quite differently to an individual with an IQ of 130. What is also rare are Savant Syndrome and splinter skills.

Superior long-term memory

Weaker short-term memory, slower processing speed

May need academic accommodations in University

A distinct cognitive learning profile consisting of a spiky profile of strengths and weaknesses, peaks and troughs, learning disabilities/differences

Often have a rigid negative cognitive thinking style, inflexible black or white thinking style or rigidity of thinking

Context Blindness

Despite IQ, a lower social IQ and emotional IQ. May look like the a lack critical thinking skills and/or common sense.

A history of deep thinking, leading to painful existential crises or Existential OCD, as shown by a history of going from one religion to another, one spiritual movement to another, one group to another, or moving between seemingly opposing groups, over time in the search for meaning. At the extreme end of this, this can lead an individual into joining dangerous “cults”. There is often present an early deep and meaningful questioning and thinking process observed in the child, leading to patterns of involvement in groups over the course of their lifetime. Taken to the extreme, this appears as existential OCD, the obsessive drive to over-analyse every event, person, situation, group and the circumstances and the meanings behind them.

A group within the larger group are natural born systemizers and tend to work in, but nor limited to: Science, Technology, Engineering and or Mathematics.

May be a pattern, visual and/or Word/Fact thinker

2.  Education/University Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.  Career/Work

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

May miss days of work due to social exhaustion. This may lead to autistic burn-out

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

May make up excuses for not attending work/staff functions

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

Hard-working conscientious worker

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

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

Tries very hard to avoid making mistakes, forgetting things

Tries hard to please others

May burn bridges or ‘ghost’ others (for e.g., walk out or quit jobs or relationships without notice or without discussing with boss)

4.  Social and friendships/relationships

Extreme social naivity, and therefore may be at greater risk of being recruited into a cult or extreme group OR supporting or engaging in extremism. Some individuals can be “manipulated” into supporting/engaging in extremism.

May appear narcissistic, self-centred, egocentric or caring only about her/himself due to not understanding the unwritten social rules

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

May obsess over one friend to the extreme

Preference for friendships with men as they are easier to understand than women. They also find the interests of their peers boring and uninteresting

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

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

Social Anxiety leading to Social Phobia: analysing social interactions where they overthink (on a ‘loop’), about what they said, did, did not say, should have said or not said and what they wished they should have said. On the other side of this is continual stressing about what the other person is thinking of them. This is usually done to the extreme that it can be incapacitating for the person.

Strong preference to engage in conversation related to their special interest

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

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

An intense dislike of lies, but may lie to others herself. Many have admitted this to me.

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

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

Has great difficulty asserting herself, asking for help, setting boundaries or inappropriately assertive

May need to drink or do drugs to be able to socialize, perform (sing), be with and/or around people

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

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

May find herself in social situations or relationships that she is unhappy with, but not know how to remove herself from them. Is highly at-risk for being with a toxic abusive person die to her nature. See ‘The Molotov Cocktail’ Series at http://www.vimeo.com/ondemand/femaleautism

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

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

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

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

May be considered the “black sheep” of the family

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lack of insight

A lack of social awareness

Social Naivety: may believe anything told to them by others (gossip, stories, jokes, and teasing), difficulty interpreting the intentions of others, misinterprets other peoples intentions, often jumping to conclusions about others, may be described as “gullible”

Information in Camouflaging can be found here

5.  Communication

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

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

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

May offend others by saying what she is thinking, even if she does not mean to; may appear aggressive or too intense

May point out other people’s mistakes

May give too much detail and end up boring others unintentionally

May ask embarrassing questions (usually when younger)

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

The tendency to take things literally, missing what people are trying to say

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

May talk too much or not enough

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

Poor pragmatic language skills

Struggle with eye contact and listening to someone at the same time

May have auditory processing issues

Struggles to understand non-verbal communication cues

Often overshares in inappropriate ways, not understanding the steps to a friendship or relationship

Is not about to manage the complex interaction of a group and communicated better one-on-one

May speak in a manner that is copied from cartoon characters and repeat phrases. May speak formally as characters on television do.

Culture Differences

In many countries where the language is informal, this can be noticed (for example, in the middle east informal Arabic is spoken), however in Autistic individuals, they may speak formally as characters on television, social media, and so on.

6.   Physiology/Neurology

A. Highly Sensitive

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

B. Sensory Processing Disorder/Condition

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

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

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

May be clumsy or uncoordinated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D. May have auditory processing issues

E. May have Irlen Syndrome

F. May grind teeth or have lockjaw (anxiety)

G. More often than nor, they have strong Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or traits

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

I.  Usually has ADHD or more appropriately ‘executive function difficulties’ (i.e., time management, planning ahead, organization)

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

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

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

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

N. May have Dyspraxia

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

P. May have Synaesthesia

7. Physical Appearance

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

May dress “over the top” or unusually for occasions

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

May have a special interest in fashion and femininity

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

Looks younger than her years

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

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

Physical appearance may change to extremes over the course of her lifetime

8. Lifestyle

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

She may love quiet, solitude, peaceful surroundings

She may be ultra-religious or not at all. Buddhism appears to be common as does extreme religious association

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

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

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

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

A history of moving house, cities, states/provinces and/or countries several times.

9. Relationship Choices/Sexuality/Gender

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

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

May be ‘hypersexual”, fascinated by physical sexual contact

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

May not have wanted or needed intimate relationships (asexual)

There is a greater flexibility in sexuality and/or gender. Maybe heterosexual or may be asexual, gay, bisexual or transgender

May be androgynous and prefer to wear men’s clothing

May be or have a history of being promiscuous OR asexual or inappropriate (i.e., following someone they like although they don’t know how to engage in the art of dating or flirting. This can lead to stalking someone and eventually the Police becoming involved)

Prone to safety issues due to not being aware of surroundings

10. Special Interests

Current research shows that individuals on the Spectrum do not have “restricted interests”, but rather a lifetime of intense interests that can vary from one deep interest to another. A special interest may involve the person’s career, Anime, fantasy (think Dr. Who, superheroes, and Harry Potter), just to name a few, writing, animals, reading, celebrities, food, fashion, jewelry, makeup, tattoos, symbols and TV Series (think Game of Thrones). This is not inclusive. This trait is an obsessive form when focused on other people and/or unhealthy interests can lead to an individual having contact with the law or law enforcement.

A special interest in sexuality, personal appearance and.or gender identity

A special interest in the meaning of life, of on’s sense of purpose and/or of making sense of one’s sense of meaning-making and purpose in life

May attend ComicCon, SuperNova, love dressing up as a character. May love Anime, Manga, and other suck art.

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

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

An intense love for nature and animals

Often not interested in what other people find interesting

May collect or hoard items of interest

Introspection and self-awareness. Many women spend years trying to understand themselves, reading self-help and psychology books and wonder why they feel so different, from another planet or that the “Mothership has dropped me off on the wrong planet”.

Justice Issues, sometimes leading to activism and/or extremism

Special Interest in religions, spiritual movements, and/or cults, often moving from one to the other.

Astrology, new thought leaders, numerology and related areas

May know every lyric to a song or every line to a movie from repetitively watching them or listening to them

May be driven to careers when she is able to utilize her natural debating skills

An obsession on oneself, how one looks, one acts, one talks, one appears to others. This obsession can lead to an obsession on transgendering as an answer to one’s problems

11. Emotional/Mental Health Issues

Feels things deeply (Category 5 emotions) and may be inconsolable (cannot be calmed down). Often has “over the top” reactions to events

May have severe “depression attacks” that last for a few days; may feel the world is about to end

Does not DO calm, stress, conflict, conflict resolution, mediation, confrontation or fighting

Most do not have a “core self” or a stable identity or sense of who they are. This can lead to a personality disorder. Psychotherapy is highly recommend for identity and core self issues, to develop a unique core self and prevent personality disorders and other mental health conditions.

May develop mental health issues due to being Gender Non Conforming (GNC). Think of hte many creative ‘gender-bending’ artist of the 1980’s. Not all Autistic individuals are GNC.

Struggles with degrees of delight  and distress of emotions (Alexythymia)

Think that people are laughing at her or making fun of her when they are not

Facial expressions do not match the situation. May have an inappropriate emotional expression to the situation

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

Tends to be very sensitive to emotional pain

Emotions may be delayed so that for e.g., she can be a great ER doctor, but may fall apart a few days later about a traumatic work situation

Anxiety is a constant from the very early years and is often overwhelmed by the amounts of tasks that need to be completed. Triggers for anxiety are varied from too much thinking to catastrophizing to change in routine, change in general, people, perfectionism, fear of failure, sensory issues, the feeling of not fitting in, the stress of feeling that he/she has to do things right, any environment that is noisy, has a lot of people in it, perceived or actual criticism

Deeply moved by arts, music, certain movies

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

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

Difficulty regulating emotions and managing stress

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

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

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

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

Often too sensitive and possesses too much emotional empathy

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

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

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

Many create their own fantasy worlds

12. Personality characteristics and/or traits and abilities

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

High levels of introversion OR can be extroverted

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

Has a high sense of justice and fairness, is a truth-seeker, sometimes to his/her own detriment

Highly creative and may have ‘rushes’ of original ideas

Dislikes change and may find it disorienting and stressful

Highly sensitive to criticism or perceived criticism

Dislikes being observed when having to perform (performance anxiety)

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

Is perfectionistic (may have attended a perfectionism group program)

Attention to detail

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

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

shutterstock_99170477

Camouflaging

Masking: as above in this picture, giving off the illusion that everything is great or fine, when is it not. The mask often comes off at home with crying, meltdowns, or shutdowns. To the trained eye these unnatural facial expressions are obvious. To the untrained eye, they may appear ‘odd’ or even natural.

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

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

Tend to be very serious, often too serious at times

Is intense in everything she does

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

Highly imaginative

May have trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality

Does not like it when people move or touch her belongings; people interpret her as rude and aggressive

13. Past and/or current mental health history

A history of self-harm

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

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

May have tried a variety of medications

Experiences social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder or selective mutism

Often has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or traits

May have one or more of the 7 types of ADHD

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

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

A history of many doctors and counselors visits throughout university life

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

May have been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia

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

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

May have ROGD or be transgender

Had imaginary friends as a child/youth and often as an adult. This can be misinterpreted as schizophrenia

Eating Disorder

14. Coping Mechanisms

Compensatory Mechanisms are unfortunately what lead many an individual to receive a diagnosis much later in life when they cannot keep the mask on anymore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Withdrawal and/or Avoidance

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

Transgendering into the opposite sex

15. Sixth Sense, Intuition, Psychic Abilities

Has the ability to feel other people emotions, take on the emotions of others

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

May be a professional psychic or medium

Possesses one or more psychic abilities

Is an “empath”

Sensitive to other people’s negativity

Often confused by the feelings she/he is having

May take on the pain of other, aka Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia

16. Unique abilities and Strengths

May have perfect or relative perfect pitch

Autodidactic – teaches herself

Intelligence craves knowledge and loves learning

Can teach herself just about anything she puts her mind too

Has a strong will, is determined and independent

Perfectionistic

Have a remarkable long-term memory, photographic memory

A great sense of humor

Can work very well in a “crisis” situation

Deeply reflective thinker

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

Attention to detail

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

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

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

May be gifted with art, music, writing, languages, programming, acting, writing, editing, singing, an athlete

May be highly intuitive

Capable of deep philosophical thinking, females with Aspergers often become writers, vets, engineers, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, poets, artists, singers, performers, actresses, doctors, entrepreneurs or professors.

Driven to rule bound careers, professions, organizations involved in teaching others or enforcing the rules (for example, law, religion, the military, the police)

17. Challenges

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

Keeping up appearances, passing for normal

Managing emotions and getting easily hurt by others; even if the other person was innocent

Learning difficulties

May get very upset with an unexpected change

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

Challenging to work and function within a group

Have a need for a highly controlled environment to sleep in

Great difficulty and very sensitive to conflict, stress, arguments, fighting, wars, gossip and negativity, however ironically may engage in it

Can be very negative and have catastrophic feelings; can be very self-deprecatory toward self

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

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

May find it challenging to understand what others expect of her

Being taken advantage of due to naivety, innocence and trusting others too much; this often leads to being in toxic relationships or friendships

Boundaries issues

A sense of justice taken to the extreme

Executive function challenges: May have difficulty filling out forms, doing paperwork (completing taxes), budgeting money, finishing a task or job, planning (meals, the day, the week, answering the phone or talking to people on the phone, how to start a particular task and get it completed, knowing where their possessions are, going to appointments, waiting in line or at an appointment

May have difficulty recognizing or remembering faces (prosopagnosia)

May have Alexythymia: cannot verbalize their feelings as they are often unsure of what they are feeling

May have Synaesthesia

May experience existential dread

Has difficulties with unexpected visitors just “dropping over”

Extreme gullibility or social naivety can get them into enormous trouble. Will often take at face value what a person says about another person

18. Empathy

May have a lack of cognitive empathy and hyper-empathy (for e.g., too much affective or sympathetic empathy)

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

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

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

Sympathy: often has too much sympathy, placing her in danger, for example, I once had a young client who brought a homeless man home because, as she said, ” he had no home”

19. May have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, poor muscle tone, connective tissue disorder, double-jointed, fine and/or gross motor skill issues

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

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

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

23. May have tocophobia, the fear of childbirth or other fears (death, dying, a changing body, for example)

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

25. Photographic visual memory

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

27. Hypermobility Syndrome

28. Typical sex difference has been reported (i.e., female advantage), in relation to the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test (Eyes test), an advanced test of theory of mind.

29. May be a high systemizer leading her to go into engineering or programming. High systemizing women seem to feel the “weirdest” of the collective.

30. May struggle with who she is gender-wise.

31. Subtypes. The varying expressions and subtypes confuse many professionals. One person on the Spectrum is one person on the Spectrum with their own individual Autistic profile.

32. Camouflaging. Most professionals do not understand camouflaging not how to observe this in clinical practice. Most individuals attending therapy, assessment or other appointment are actively camouflaging and often report not wanting their therapist to see underneath the mask. Masking, assimilation and compensation of often used, regardless of whether or not the individual is aware of using them. It is a myth that camouflaging can be achieved to the level that others cannot see it. It is not possible to the “trained eye”. Observers are aware that copying, mimicking and other strategies are being used, because they are out of context with the situation. This leads to others often misinterpreting the camouflaging. To the trained observer, camouflaging is relatively easy to see. For information about Camouflaging read my 2013 blog here and my recent blog on facial affect and camouflaging here

33. Forensic History. May include contact with law enforcement. The pathways include: stalking and harassment, domestic violence, mental health issues, a history of false complaints about others (to the government, law enforcement, infiltrating Autism groups under pseudonyms with the intention of calling CPS on vulnerable and unknowing parents (calling child protection services on the parents of parents of Autistic children), the misuse of social media, hacking, involvement with child protections services themselves, contact with the Police leading to being sectioned or jail, involvement in radical extreme cults, being arrested for disorderly conduct, possession of child pornography, being arrested for participating in extreme radical activism and rarely, for their involvement in terrorism and murder (usually family members).

Within a very large group of females, we begin to see variations, preferences, expressions and heterogeneity. Whilst all females struggle to some degree with social communication, intense interests, sensory issues and many traits as mentioned above, there is not one “type” of presentation. The most commonly known presentation of females in the Spectrum is the “Tomboy”, how there exist other presentations and it is important to talk about these, as it is these females who may never receive a diagnosis.

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

Common pathways to a late/very late diagnosis:

A late diagnosis is any diagnosis after starting school. However, for the purposes of adults, I am referring to late diagnosis and very late diagnosis, from 18 years of age and older.

  1. Suspect they may have adult female ADHD and/or Autism. Not all people with Autism have ADHD
  2. Referral from another mental health professionals (therapists), psychiatrist, GP’s, agencies, organisations
  3. Contact or involvement with the Police, law enforcement or time spent in jail, youth justice
  4. Contact with Child Protection Services
  5. Referral from workplace or self-referral due to work conflict or recent loss of job
  6. A family history of Autism, i.e., having a child on the Spectrum
  7. Works in the field of Autism and sees the traits in herself
  8. Many previous ‘labels’ and seeking diagnostic clarification
  9. Autistic burnout/crisis
  10. Works in the ‘caring’ professions
  11. Psychologists and other mental health professionals/professionals seeing the traits in themselves
  12. Working with NeuroDivergent children and identifying with their traits
  13. Eating Disorder
  14. Gender Dysphoria
  15. Works in STEM
  16. A history of belong to a variety of “cults” that meet the criteria for the definition of a cult, may have exited a cult and wanting to renter and/or reintegrate to society.
  17. Relationship OCD (ROCD)
  18. Thriving in lockdown during the Pandemic, which is seen as ‘odd’ by professionals
  19. A breakdown in mental health
  20. Motherhood, having children and ADHD/ASD
  21. Trans-Identifying and/or Transgender/Transsexual

Common fields of work:

Rule bound careers, the arts, STEM

PROTECTIVE FACTORS

Temperament, personality style and mental health of parents

A higher social IQ and emotional IQ

Parenting style

Strengths-based view whilst supporting challenges

Strong boundaries

Personality traits such as resilience, determination

A strong faith

Higher SES

Education

Early diagnosis and appropriate support/intervention

Access to ethical and unbiased Mental health Supports

An environmental fit that promotes thriving

Appropriate Intervention and support throughout adolescence

The combination of resilience and attitude (self love and self worth is protective factor (Ignorant obvious to passive aggressive bulling and other comments)

High achieving personality

To be cont…

UNIQUE VULNERABILITIES, RISK FACTORS AND RED FLAGS FOR DANGER IN A SMALLER GROUP of the LARGER GROUP

Most of us are brainwashed on a daily basis by media and propaganda, however, Autistic individuals are uniquely vulnerable to social influence. This is why assessment and diagnosis is critical. Social naivity, combined with concrete thinking can lead an Autistic person (diagnosed or undiagnosed) to blindly follow groups or persons of influence and power. Many have histories of belonging to fringe groups, cults, being recruited into cults and/or have a lengthy history of going from one cult to another and are extremely vulnerable to suggestion, influence and/or being taken advantage of. There is a tendency to take what others say literally and at ‘face value’. This vulnerability, in combination with a number of other factors can lead to self-destruction and/or vulnerability to being radicalised and a number of irreversible consequences.

A lack of social skills training. For example, not knowing that looking at child pornography is wrong

Unwell parents, parenting style, a lack of boundaries, sexual abuse

Drugs and addiction

Mental health

Severity of traits

Unmonitored use of social media

Extreme black or white and concrete thinking, literal thinking combined with a lack of understanding others intentions, social naivity, negative thinking, trauma and intense obsessive interests on a person, school shooters, serial killers, horror movies and so on, is a molotov cocktail for destruction and must be red flagged with anti radicalisation organisations, national security, mental health

Adverse Childhood Events (ACE), the more ACE the more higher the chance of leading to psychopathy

Some ACE include: sexual, emotional, psychological, physical abuse. These experiences cause trauma leading to damage to the brain

No diagnosis or a late diagnosis and/or no support, treatment, assistance. A lack of diagnostic clarification

A lack of services, unable to afford services, few choices in services

A denial of appropriate therapeutic services

Radicalisation leading to a late diagnosis. More on radicalisation, coming soon

Predators often directly recruit Autistic individuals, of all ages, online, because they know they are socially naive. They are targeted and infiltrate Autistic groups online. They may say they are Autistic as a means to recruit Autistic individuals. This recruitment can be directly related to child trafficking, human trafficking, cults, sex trafficking and/or radical groups and/or terrorism. The use of language and wording within these groups are red flags.

About Tania Marshall

Tania Marshall is an award-winning author, presenter, trainer and Clinical Psychotherapist and educator/trainer. She holds a Masters of Science in Applied Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She completed an 18-month full-time post-masters externship at a private special needs school, working with many neurodiverse people, K-12 and their families. During that time, she also worked in private practice under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. She was nominated for 2019, 2016 and 2015 ASPECT Autism Australia National Recognition Awards, all in the Advanced category for her work advancing the field of female Autism. Her first book entitled I Am AspienGirl: The Unique Characteristics, Traits and Gifts of Young Females on the Spectrum, Foreward by Dr. Judith Gould, is an international bestseller and an IPPY 2015 ELit Gold medal award winner. Her second book entitled I Am AspienWoman: The Unique Characteristics, Traits and Gifts of Adult Females on the Spectrum, Foreward by Dr. Shana Nichols was released late 2015, is an international bestseller won a 2016 IPPY eLIT Gold medal in the Women’s Studies category.

Tania is a self managed and plan managed NDIS Provider. She regularly provides diagnostic assessments, impressions assessments, support, problem-solving sessions, coaching and intervention for neurodiverse individuals of all ages across the lifespan. She sees people of all ages who are are artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, gifted and talented, supermodels, singers, authors, performers, dancers, celebrities and/or Twice-exceptional (2e), just to name a few.

Tania has contractual obligations as a consultant to forensics, however her books are open to genuine inquiries. She does see individuals on a case by case basis. Please email her at aspiengirl@gmail.com if you would like to work with her.  She has a large referral base of professionals, agencies and organisations that she refers individuals too. If you are a provider and would like to add your name to the list, please email Tania at aspiengirl@gmail.com with ‘PROVIDER’ in the subject heading.

If you are seeking an impressions assessment, please email with ‘ASSESSMENT in the subject heading

If you would like to hire Tania for Police training, please email with ‘POLICE’ in the subject heading

If you would like to hire Tania to present on the Autistic female profile, assessment and diagnosis and therapy, please email with ‘TRAINING’ in the subject heading

If you would like to get on the mailing list for Tania’s training courses, webinars, please email with ‘COURSES’ in the subject heading

If you are interested in Tania’s research, please email her with ‘RESEARCH’ in the subject heading

If you are a publisher interested in Tania’s work or want Tania to write a book or article(s), please email with ‘PUBLISHER’ in the subject heading

If you are an organisation or agency, researcher, psychiatrist, law enforcement, public or private and you are interested in the specific sub-type and profile most likely to be successful in intelligence, counter-terrorism and solving of crimes, OR If you are law enforcement and wish to consult with Tania about the unique subtype most vulnerable to recruitment OR you are interested in learning more about the Autistic female profile in relation to forensics and the research OR you want to learn how to better interpret Autistic body language, including facial affect, body language, social-communication, sensory sensitivities in relation to DECEPTION, please email with ‘INTELLIGENCE’ in the subject heading

To enquire or book Skype/Zoom assessments, problem-solving sessions and/or support, interviews, articles, publishing inquiries, translations/translating of her books, presentations, workshops, conferences, Police, cybersecurity, intelligence enquiries and trainings, please e-mail Tania at aspiengirl@gmail.com

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