Autism has long been considered a boys’ condition, but there is more to this story. The truth is, autism looks different in women and girls. They’re much better at “pretending to be normal” by masking their autistic characteristics.
How can we look behind the mask to recognize autism, when it has been so well camouflaged? Recognizing Autism in Women and Girls: When It Has Been Hidden Well provides the perspective needed to see how autism manifests in gendered ways, allowing for a more accurate diagnosis.
In addition to describing each point in the diagnostic manual to include feminine presentations, Dr. Marsh has created “Seven Fictional Female Figures” who’ve been misdiagnosed because they also display symptoms of other similar conditions. She describes their behaviors, both obvious and hidden, from early childhood to adulthood, and demonstrates how these behaviors meet diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder. The “Behind the Mask” section provides helpful questions to ask during the autism assessment process to allow the professional to recognize autism, even when it has been successfully masked. In addition, each chapter contains “In Her Own Words,” written by autistic women who describe their personal journeys from masking to diagnosis, and what it means to them.
Being recognized at last for who they truly are frees autistic women to stop hiding behind a mask and begin opening doors to success.
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