Unge jenter og autisme
Her om dagen kom jeg over en post på Facebook som fikk meg til å huske på at jeg skrev om Aspergers syndrom hos barn i april. Innlegget ble postet av Autism Goggles og jeg vil gjerne dele litt, men ettersom det er på engelsk så tar jeg resten av denne bloggposten på engelsk også.
Young girls and autism
I saw a post on Facebook a couple of days ago which reminded me of the blog entry I wrote in April regarding Autism and children. The Facebook post is from Autism Goggles, and I want to share some of it but since it’s in English I’m going to write the rest of this post in English too.
It is unacceptably difficult to get an accurate diagnosis for bright, verbal, autistic girls.
Don’t take my word.for it. The research tells the tale: in young children, only one girl is diagnosed for every 5.5 boys.
By adolescence, it’s 2.3 boys for every one girl.
By adulthood, the prevalence is 1.8 to 1.
This is something I’ve experienced myself. It took 4 years from when I started going to psychologists at BUPA (childrens psychiatric therapy) until I got 1 of 2 significant diagnoses. The social anxiety, agoraphobia and panic disorder weren’t really diagnosed properly until I was 22 (in 2017) either. That’s a long time. By the time I was 22 I’d been in the system for 11 years, on and off – but mostly on. I just couldn’t get anyone to take me seriously. They didn’t talk about the «elephant in the room» which was my often depressed mood, anxiety, weight loss and self harming (I once lost enough weight as a 12 year old to lose my period, and I had small but very visible cuts up and down my arms). What they did talk about was things like how I was doing in different subjects at school and if the teachers were nice etc. I keep asking myself why, why wouldn’t they address my REAL issues? The ones that counted? The ones I could’ve gotten help with in a way that made me being able to finish school and get an education – and eventually a job, instead of ending up on disability benefits at the age of 19. I was a troubled child, and my mom did everything she could to ease the pain at home. She tried at school as well, but again – I wasn’t taken seriously.
I still remember the day I got a major breakdown and the security people at the mall had a long talk with me. I remember calling my cousin who’s a nurse, who came to get me, and how my mom brought me to BUPA the morning after and demanded that I’d get help. I still remember the sound of her voice when she said «we won’t walk out of here until my daughter gets proper help!». That day is etched into my memory. I remember that they barely took me seriously at that point, even though it was clear to everyone who saw me that I was a very mentally ill 15 year old girl due to neglect from the system.
After 1.5 month living in the hospital I got the Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis. It helped. A little bit. I still experienced neglect from the system as I was told «you don’t have enough Asperger’s to get help» from a guy that worked with autistic children, teenagers and adults.
There were clear signs (which we’re pretty obvious was autistic syptoms) through my whole childhood that should’ve been addressed by professionals.
Currently, at the age of 23, I’m in therapy arranged by the municipality and I also see a private practice psychiatrist. They’re the ones that keeps saving me every week, every month, every year. Finally. Sadly the past is still very much present, and it’s stated that I most likely won’t get rid of the anxiety no matter how hard I work – and because of the mix of two diagnoses that creates havoc together it’s a 99,99% chance of not being able to finish school or get a job.
Yep. We collect dolls, stuffies, Archie comics…and I’m betting some of you autistic mommas collected (and still have!) Beanie Babies.
Oh ya! Autistic girls are either uber cool and artsy in their fashion sense OR totally indifferent and confused by the fixation people have about what they wear. For the latter, girls may dress in clothing not suitable for the weather or the occasion long after their peers have figured this out. Some girls don’t want to dress in stereotypical ‘girly’ clothes, and are androgynous in their look or decisively ‘boyish’. This is 2019. We should understand and accept these differences and let our children be who they are and wear what they want.
Many autistic girls immerse themselves in reading. The imaginary worlds are less confusing than the ones we are expected to navigate. The heavenly combination of alone time and the quiet solitude of reading make it a great way to decompress from the demands of the day .
Autistic girls feel deeply and have deep emotional empathy. When overwhelmed by demands, they may not be able to inhibit their distress. Girls with autism-like boys–benefit from being taught how to recognize feelings in their body, then learning what they can do in response to those feelings. In the meantime, and without a concerted effort to teach these skills, girls will be labelled drama queens, out-of-control, unstable, difficult, or aggressive
This is one of the ways we autistic girls hide our social confusion. We may hone in on a cool kid, dress like her, pick up her expressions, her likes and her dislikes. Basically, we grow up ‘acting’ all day long, always feeling out of sync, never feeling accepted.
The young autistic girl may talk to some of her toys as though they are her friends
Autistic girls may appear to manage just fine through the school day or when attending a social event, but the emotional and physical cost can be huge. In order to recharge, an autistic girl might seek the solitude of her room and be unable to socialize with anyone for a period of time. She may spend hours drawing, listening to music, watching YouTube videos, or sleeping–anything but interacting with other people