I admit that this article really weirded me out, not becuase it’s a surprise that the medical commuity has failed to understand or diagnose Ausperger’s in girls particularly because their symptoms present differently (as the same for true for many years for women & heart disease, for example) but because her description of the way Ausperger’s presents in females is a little too close to the bone for me. I’ve already come out as an introvert, after all.
Girls slip through the diagnostic net, said Attwood, because they are so good at camouflaging or masking their symptoms. “Boys tend to externalise their problems, while girls learn that, if they’re good, their differences will not be noticed,” he said. “Boys go into attack mode when frustrated, while girls suffer in silence and become passive-aggressive. Girls learn to appease and apologise. They learn to observe people from a distance and imitate them. It is only if you look closely and ask the right questions, you see the terror in their eyes and see that their reactions are a learnt script.”
Girls also escape diagnosis, said Attwood, because they are more social than boys with the condition. Their symptoms can also be missed because it is the intensity of their interests that is unusual, and not the oddity of what they do.
“The impairments to their social life or interests tend not to stand out in the same way as boys’ do,” he said. “They might have one friend, while boys with the condition won’t have any. Also, boys hyperfocus on facts and certain interests, such as trains or weather. Girls escape into fiction. They have imaginary friends, live in another world with fairies and witches, obsessively watch soap operas or become intensely interested in celebrities.”
Hrm. The boldfaced bits pretty much describe my childhood & teenaged years in a nutshell. Frightening.