American Asperger's Association Support Group

Latest topics
» Chambers of Hope (COH) and American Aspergers Association (AAA)
Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:29 pm by csweepigirl

» Introductions
Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:39 am by earthenvessel

» June 4th 2011
Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:22 am by csweepigirl

» Free Home Speech Practice Home offer
Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:21 pm by csweepigirl

» Support group meeting and hbot volunteers
Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:35 am by Dr. Ron

» Favor....Locals..read..please...
Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:46 am by bondgary009

» Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is hosting the first of its best practices webinars
Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:51 am by csweepigirl

» We need to start this website back up again!
Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:33 am by man of a million names

» Group Home Manager is Yelling I Need Help
Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:10 am by csweepigirl

» Facebook
Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:27 am by KelleyNNelson

» Support Group Meetings 2011 *EDITED*
Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:57 am by KelleyNNelson

» community happenings!
Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:01 am by asg_tlm@hotmail.com

» Asperger's (how it is diagnosed and treated)
Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:27 pm by csweepigirl

» What do you do when people look at you by the pills you take vs. the person you are?
Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:01 pm by csweepigirl

» Items under your nose that are gluten free, and cheap too!
Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:59 am by KelleyNNelson

» Adam
Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:19 am by man of a million names

» Looking for friends
Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:51 pm by channing28105

» Maas-Rowe Carillon Questions
Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:51 pm by channing28105

» Video Emails from Dr. Ron
Tue May 11, 2010 1:40 am by Dr. Ron

» Ah, it's good to be back.
Sat May 01, 2010 5:03 am by man of a million names

» 1st Annual Aspergers Volleyball Tournament
Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:03 am by Dr. Ron

» free event: Therapeutic Recreation Adapted Sailing and Kayak Clinic
Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:20 am by csweepigirl

» Help! I Seem to be Getting More Autistic!" ARTICLE
Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:22 am by csweepigirl

» Was this teacher out of line?
Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:31 pm by lovethefish

» OMG THE PLACE IS REMODELED!!!!
Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:38 am by KelleyNNelson

» Got Plates?
Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:19 am by KelleyNNelson

» Local IEP Advocate!! THANKS VAL!!!
Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:16 pm by csweepigirl

» Pinellas ESE advisory board meetings
Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:31 am by lovethefish

» Dentists who use sedation.. thanks Dr. Ron
Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:28 am by lovethefish

» Hey GAB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:25 am by csweepigirl

» Autism in the news: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A hormone thought to encourage bonding between mothers and their babies may foster social behavior in some adults with autism, French researchers said on Monday.
Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:01 am by csweepigirl

» **********echo*******************
Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:16 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Any ideas on how to make a gluten regression easier for both child and family?
Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:47 am by csweepigirl

» Hi! Long time no see.
Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:04 am by KelleyNNelson

» Hellooooo? Need some freakin' help here.
Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:50 am by man of a million names

» Cats or dogs? Summer or winter?
Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:47 am by man of a million names

» Mozark and the whale *aspergers movie* on showtime on demand.. SUCKED by the way
Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:42 am by man of a million names

» Adult Aspergers Syndrome
Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:07 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Asperger’s Syndrome: A Developmental Puzzle by Michael McCroskery
Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:22 pm by csweepigirl

» Really Cool Super Awesome Thing! Kim And Kelly You Have To Read This!
Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:24 am by man of a million names

» 2 Articles of Interest Re: Aspergers
Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:15 am by csweepigirl

» Accidently stubled across some info about meletonin oops!
Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:41 pm by csweepigirl

» Lack of Services for ASD
Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:04 pm by Dr. Ron

» New and having a hard time
Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:40 am by lovethefish

» Sorry I haven't been around as much (update)
Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:53 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Having a hard time again
Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:35 am by man of a million names

» Important paradox/riddle! Anyone care to help with it?
Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:46 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Follow through or not.
Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:01 am by csweepigirl

» New Pediatrics Autism Study Putting Prevalence at 1 in 91
Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:45 am by csweepigirl

» Different Directions
Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:41 am by csweepigirl

» AS is a very difficult diagnosis to make.
Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:47 pm by csweepigirl

» How is everyone?
Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:48 pm by Jerry Graham

» CD to benefit the AAA ~!!!!! Check this out!!
Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:14 am by bassfiddlesteve

» I met Joe Diffie's son!
Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:01 am by csweepigirl

» Anyone feel like helping me smack the crap out of my former boss?
Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:56 am by csweepigirl

» Lazy or Aspergers?? or both?
Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:20 am by man of a million names

» The right thing?
Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:27 am by man of a million names

» Mark Fowler and his wonderful work.
Sun Sep 13, 2009 5:51 am by man of a million names

» A.A.A. RESEARCH STUDY. Do you see any differences between females with Aspergers vs. males with Aspergers
Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:49 pm by csweepigirl

» What happened?? because I don't know, do you?
Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:24 am by man of a million names

» Haha, Funny URL.
Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:15 am by man of a million names

» Dude! Kim, I forgot to tell you... and maybe anyone else at the last meeting...
Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:59 am by man of a million names

» My son is making strange noises!
Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:41 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Terrible sound on video
Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:30 am by man of a million names

» Aspian or Aspergian?
Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:22 am by man of a million names

» If you, or you know someone who needs a BIG/HUGE carseat..
Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:33 am by csweepigirl

» Just a quick hello
Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:37 am by man of a million names

» We started the FLDRS process...and here's what we found out so far
Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:19 am by man of a million names

» Support Groups
Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:31 pm by KelleyNNelson

» (Aspergers) Boy Meets Girl Movie
Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:13 am by man of a million names

» I give up, with trying to ever just relax, really.. I'm so flustrated!
Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:15 am by man of a million names

» Basic White or Yellow Cake
Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:33 am by man of a million names

» When did this category get here?
Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:55 am by man of a million names

» Pork Fried Rice
Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:17 pm by man of a million names

» Why Are The Private Messages Still Disabled????
Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:48 pm by man of a million names

» Sorry I've been M.I.A.
Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:04 am by man of a million names

» 5Km Run For AS!
Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:30 pm by man of a million names

» Help for a mother.
Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:01 pm by Dr. Ron

» Aspergers and empathy
Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:41 am by csweepigirl

» We are the three amigo(a)s!Aanyone care to join?
Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:42 am by man of a million names

» Vaccinations, Red Book, What?
Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:21 am by Dr. Ron

» What is the first step?
Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:14 am by Dr. Ron

» Children who can’t cuddle
Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:27 pm by csweepigirl

» Challenging popular myths about autism
Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:59 pm by Dr. Ron

» I NEED your HELP!!
Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:41 am by melissa

» Ok..what do I do? any suggestions..
Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:53 am by melissa

» Back home!
Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:10 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Any spanish speakers willing to help an aspie in spain?
Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:34 pm by csweepigirl

» Gluten Free Simple Bread
Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:49 am by csweepigirl

» More research (genetics)
Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:43 am by csweepigirl


You are not connected. Please login or register

Article: Asperger’s Syndrome in Women

View previous topic View next topic Go down  Message [Page 1 of 1]

1 Article: Asperger’s Syndrome in Women on Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:41 am

csweepigirl

avatar
Admin
Asperger’s Syndrome in Women: A Different Set of Challenges?

Catherine Faherty Asperger’s Syndrome in Women: A Different Set of Challenges?
By Catherine Faherty
Call Quote: We have far to go in understanding the unique challenges that women with autism or Asperger’s face.

BIO
Catherines Since 1990, Catherine has worked as a psychoeducational specialist at the Asheville TEACCH Center, one of the regional centers with the TEACCH Program through the University of North Carolina. She participates in weekly diagnostic evaluations for children and adults with autism, is a parent consultant and child therapist, consults to school programs, trains teachers and other professionals locally, nationally and internationally, and runs social groups for adults with autism. Catherine is the author of Asperger’s: What Does it Mean to Me? (2000, Future Horizons) and is a frequent presenter at conferences across the U.S.


A young woman who has participated for several years in a social group for adults with high functioning autism and Aspergers sponsored at our TEACCH Center in Asheville, recently remarked, “There aren’t a heck of a lot of women who have Aspergers or autism. The majority are males, and although we get along with the guys, there are some issues that they are never going to understand. I wish there was more information specifically for women who have autism.” Her comment prompted the initiation of the first women’s group at the Asheville TEACCH Center. While talking with this woman, who is in her 20’s, I was reminded of my own early adulthood. I remember the strong comradery and support of “women’s consciousness-raising groups” that sprouted up on college campuses and in living rooms in the 60’s and 70’s. While struggling for and demanding equality between the sexes in the society at large, we discovered that there were important distinctions that needed to be honored. Together we explored and defined what “being a woman” was about, in the company of other young women searching for self-awareness. Being a member of a women’s “CR” (Consciousness-Raising) group was educational, exciting, exhilarating, emotional, relevant…and never boring.

According to Tony Attwood and other professionals in the field, women with high functioning autism and Aspergers may be an underdiagnosed population. If this is true, some of the reasons may be attributed to gender differences.

Are there behaviors that are seen in girls with Aspergers, but not in boys, that we haven’t yet identified as part of the profile… or certain gender-related behavior that might fool us into ruling out the diagnosis? What about the “pretend play” that has been observed in many young girls at our center, which on the surface appears to be quite creative and imaginative? There seem to be many girls (on the spectrum) who are enamored with princesses, fantasy kingdoms, unicorns, and animals­­. How many diagnosticians observe these interests and skills as imagination, and rule out a diagnosis based on these behaviors? Might this interest in imaginary kingdoms and talking animals be more common among girls than boys, yet still exist alongside other autistic/AS traits?

And what about one typical response to confusion or frustration­­--hitting or other such outward expressions of frustration? Does this type of acting out occur more often in boys with autism than in girls? Is confusion or frustration simply easier to identify in boys than girls because we already look for it? Among the general population, it is commonly thought that boys do “act out” more than girls. (You sometimes hear teachers complain there are too many boys in his or her class, and its impact on the class’ personality!) Is it easier to identify boys as having autism because these behaviors are more obvious, than girls who may experience inward or passive signs of aggression?

Professionals whose task it is to diagnose individuals with autism or Asperger’s need to learn more about the full range of qualities and personality differences unique to girls and women on the spectrum.

And what about the girls’ and women’s route to self-understanding? Indeed, several women I have worked with who have Aspergers have talked about the unique challenges they experience because they constitute a “minority” within this special group of society.

I believe that in order to gain self understanding, each person with - or without - autism needs to see his or her own reflection in the world. I call this ‘seeing one’s place.’ For people with autism or AS, who already are challenged in this area, it becomes imperative that they meet, listen to, talk with, read about, and learn from others with autism. What happens as a result of this coming together is that they are able to see their ‘reflection’ and better understand their own unique styles of thinking and being. Women with autism, although benefiting greatly from getting to know other people with autism, often find that they might be the only woman (or one of a very few women) in the group.

When I asked the women we see at our center if they would be interested in being in a women’s group, I had hoped that the group could fill a gap in our services. I also hoped that I would learn more about what it means to be a woman with autism. The more I meet with these women, the more I realize we have far to go in understanding the unique challenges that women with autism or Asperger’s face.

One woman explained that, from her perspective there is subtle interaction between two sets of issues. “Problems related to the[autism] spectrum are combined with problems of society’s expectations of women. How one looks, what one wears, how one is supposed to relate socially, that a woman is supposed to have a natural empathy towards others, expectations about dating and marriage…” Women are affected by autism in the same ways as are their male counterparts; however, they are doubly challenged by the added assumptions that society places on the female gender.

At the risk of stereotyping, any man who is a rational thinker, and not emotionally in tune with others, is often thought of as having “typical male behavior” (think of the TV show “Tool Time”). A woman exhibiting these same personality traits might be regarded as odd, annoying, cold, or depending on the situation, even mean-spirited. Autism, with its particular effects on personality, causes one to appear more rational and less emotionally responsive or empathetic to others. Women with autism note that these expectations indeed may weigh more heavily on them, just because they are women.

At the first meeting, the group members requested specific topics for discussion, topics that they encounter in daily life or ones which they are currently pondering. These topics included issues that are relevant to women at large such as personal safety; dating and sex; or being taken advantage of when your car needs repair. Other issues they raised were felt by group members to possibly be more significant for women with autism, but common to all--being pressured to conform by getting married; to “act like a lady”; and issues about one’s appearance--to have to “look a certain way”.

However, there were topics that all agree are a direct result of being a woman with autism, such as common behavioral and social expectations by the society at large. At the top of the list were the expectations of being sensitive to others and displaying empathy.

Women with autism have expressed that they feel that more is expected from them than from their male counterparts, simply because of their gender. Members of the group felt these expectations to be sensitive and empathetic, typically attributed to women, are unfair and difficult to meet. Discussion centered on how these behaviors require skills like the ability to accurately read and respond to body language, along with the inherent desire to “take care of others, emotionally”. Interestingly, after discussing these issues, the first requested topic to explore was reading body language and how to tell if someone is trying to take advantage of you.

The topic that generated the biggest emotional response from the group was the personal experience of feeling like one was “being treated like a child”. Parents, in general, are often more protective of their daughters than their sons. Daughters with autism talked about feeling overly protected into womanhood. In many cases, this is needed, although without understanding the parent’s perspective, the adult daughter can feel unfairly babied. Some women talked about the resentment they felt toward people, who for many years had been trying to teach them “socially appropriate” ways of acting. “Enough already!” was a common response.

The desire to be respected as an individual, and as a woman, was voiced clearly and strongly. Although this desire is probably equally shared among grown men with autism, the women voiced these desires clearly, with deep emotion and passion, when talking with other women.
==============================
A personal note from Catherine Faherty:
I want to thank the members of this first group who have given me permission to share this information. It unveils for those of us who live with and work with women with autism, a new perspective on how we must think about and relate to the disability. I applaud and encourage other women with autism and those who care about them to form women’s groups for support, encouragement, and, in the words of one group member, “…understanding from like-minded peers.”

BIO
Catherines Since 1990, Catherine has worked as a psychoeducational specialist at the Asheville TEACCH Center, one of the regional centers with the TEACCH Program through the University of North Carolina. She participates in weekly diagnostic evaluations for children and adults with autism, is a parent consultant and child therapist, consults to school programs, trains teachers and other professionals locally, nationally and internationally, and runs social groups for adults with autism. Catherine is the author of Asperger’s: What Does it Mean to Me? (2000, Future Horizons) and is a frequent presenter at conferences across the U.S.

"Reprinted with permission from the July-August 2002 issue of the Autism Asperger's Digest, a bimonthly 52 page magazine devoted to autism spectrum disorders. Published by Future Horizons, Inc. For more information: www.autismdigest.com or call 800.489.0727."

View previous topic View next topic Back to top  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum