According to the Centers for Disease Control, one female is diagnosed with Autism for every 4.5 males diagnosed. This is not necessarily due to a greater commonality for presenting Autism in males. In fact, studies show that most of the information we have gathered about Autism presentation has been predominantly male specific. Studies are now being focused on the reactive regions of the female brain in order to better understand the differences between females and males. Females generally present Autistic characteristics in a more “mainstream” and “high-functioning” manner. Autism Spectrum Disorder can be very difficult to diagnose in women and girls.
Misdiagnosis is a problem for young adult women on the Autism Spectrum. When they are children and adolescents, they are being diagnosed with anxiety/depression, ADHD, Borderline Personality, and Bipolar Disorder. Their behaviors get misconstrued as acts of defiance when, ultimately, these young women are struggling with sensory overload and attention-seeking patterns due to lack of emotional connection.
Females are typically more socially motivated than males with autism spectrum disorder. They make slightly more eye contact and respond consistently to facial cues which enables them to mimic their peers’ social interactions. Their desire for connection but lack of understanding of healthy relational boundaries can leave women on the Autism Spectrum vulnerable to being taken advantage of by unhealthy relationships, abusive partners, and predators.
Understanding and embracing the correct diagnoses can add clarity and reasoning behind their behaviors. Women on the Autism spectrum will be able to gain awareness of their emotional and social needs and begin to learn how to self-regulate accordingly. Brightstone’s aim is to coach young women through this process in a safe and empowering environment.