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Because Autism is NOT just for boys

Founded to improve the understanding of the prevalence and needs of females with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). We aim to raise awareness and promote the development of knowledge of female ASC, how to better identify and support those affected.
Our aim is to collect as many stories of  the identification and diagnosis of female ASC so that we can build a resource to help the girls of the future.
Please get involved and share your stories- we look forward to hearing from you.

ASC indicators in girls 

Through our research it is clear that there are many different signs of potential ASC in girls-to summarise the findings is difficult as it risks devaluing some traits but this is our initial headings. For more please click on 'Our Checklist' tab...

  • Immaturity - Girls will appear much more immature than their peers- in terms of speech, interest, dress, academia

  • Co-ordination issues - Girls will often have poor co-ordination, find things like tying shoelaces, handwriting, PE difficult.

  • Social relationships - Will often be described as loners. Will have one or two special friends rather than one of the pack.

  • Play - can be unimaginative and repetitive. Often needs an adult to structure.

  • Anxiety - is very high.

  • Interests - can be very specific- such as movies / toys or could be none at all

  • Co-morbidities - Autism often exists alongside many other conditions- such as dyspraxia, ADHD, Tourettes, depression.

  • Emotions - are often heightened – the slightest upset can bring many tears!

  • Sensory Processing - Some girls with ASC  find it difficult to make sense of visual, oral or other sensory information. They can find it hard to pull out the main message in a text or conversation.

  • Sense of Justice - Girls like rules and find it really stressful when rules are broken. 

  • Communication - Initially girls cope well as they mask their difficulties and learn a social code. In early teens girls may start to show signs such as monopolising conversations and parrot words / phrases.

  • Learning -  difficulties in sensory processing can mean that they often get left behind in lessons.

The How

  1. Increase societal awareness of female ASC through: campaigns, adverts, leaflets and workshops

  2. Raise money for research into female ASC and to increase the recipients of our work and effectiveness of our campaigns

  3. Hold and deliver workshops to clinicians, and professionals working with children (including schools and mental health services) on female Autism.

  4. Provide resources and support directly for females with Autism.

The Who

  • We are the first charity with the mission of raising awareness and increasing the understanding of females with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)

  • We aim to gain support to highlight this issue and to increase our network.

The What

There needs to be:

  • An appropriate diagnostic criteria for Autism in girls .

  • Better informed Education and  Mental Health Services to improve identification of ASC and to establish appropriate treatment.

  • A greater awareness of  and more research into Female Autism

The Why

  • There is a lack of understanding and awareness of Autism in females which this has led to the under/mis-diagnosis of the condition and other related disorders. 

  • This is because…

    • Female Autism is under researched - little is known about the symptoms.

    • The current diagnostic criteria is based on males and inappropriate for girls.

    • Professionals working with children (teachers, doctors, social workers, paediatricians) and Clinicians working within Autism and Mental Health Service lack an understanding of female Autism.

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The risks

  • Without a diagnosis girls may:

    • Be misunderstood

    • Be socially isolated 

    • Struggle daily

    • Suffer from low self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing

    • Not receive sufficient support: emotional, social or academic 

    • Experience serious, preventable mental health conditions (Depression, Anxiety, Eating disorders, OCD) and then not access appropriate treatment. 

    • Be less able to reach their potential and therefore are being ‘lost’ and ‘failed’

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Some possible signs traditionally are...

  • Rely on other children to speak for them

  • Be highly passionate, restricted and have specific interests

  • Be unusually sensitive to sensory stimuli

  • Limit conversations to personal interests

  • Struggle to tolerate feelings when frustrated

  • Suffer unusual depression, anxiety and moodiness 

  • Struggle to make and keep friends - struggle to ‘fit in’ and recognise social cues

  • Be quiet and shy

  • Be unusually passive

  • Fall behind with social communication with age as masking becomes harder

  • Suffer epileptic seizures

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What we do...

Support Groups

Holding regular drop-ins for girls with Autism, parents, carers and those concerned.

Raising awareness

Promoting the understanding of the general public of female Autism through our leaflets, posters and capaigns.

Educating clinicians/teachers

Providing teachers, practitioners and such like in the workplace with information regarding female Autism.

Activities

 and workshops

Holding activities and events for Girls with Autism and workshops for parents, carers and females with Autism on common struggles often faced.