• January 23

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The Scary Truth About Hidden Things

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I read this article on BBC News about six (seven, actually) British women who have autism. The crazy thing-these women had no idea they had autism until they were adults.

Apparently, it’s a lot easier to detect autism in boys at a young age. Girls tend to want to conform to the social norm much more often than boys. For every five boys that are diagnosed with autism, only one girl is diagnosed. According to the article, “autism is under-diagnosed in females.”

The six women were all interviewed extensively and shared their stories on how they discovered their autism. Their stories were interesting and enlightening on the truth about autism. It’s much more common than we think. One lady said everyone just assumed that she was shy, so she thought that was what caused her to feel uncomfortable socially. In fact, this is how all of the interviewed women grew up.

These girls all tried to fit in as little kids since they were much more pressured to be like everyone else. Hannah from Cambridgeshire said that “women and girls often have a natural drive to fit in socially, and so the symptoms they present with aren’t stereotypically ‘autistic.’ They can be more compelled to make friends – and so they learn to mimic non-autistic people.” In most cases, autism in males can be detected almost right away. Most boys at that age aren’t barred by the same things that females must overcome, like the crushing need to fit in. This is an excellent example of the issues in our society. These are little girls. They have to hide how they truly feel-anxious and unable to connect-and they fake it til they make it.

Hannah continued on, saying “[doctors] thought [she]  might have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Looking back, [she thought] that was quite frustrating. [Hannah thinks] it’s a gender bias. Girls are better socially and so can be diagnosed with BPD rather than autism.”

The name of the article is “it all made sense when we found out we were autistic.” These gorgeous ladies all struggled through life as a socially awkward human (or alien-if you read the article), and had no idea why it was so hard. When they were diagnosed, things became much clearer. Maura Campbell said that “when [her] autism was identified, it felt like taking off a corset [she] didn’t know [she’d] been wearing.” Amanda from London said “it was a relief” when she discovered there wasn’t anything wrong with her; she was “just autistic.”

Kinda makes you think, huh? Could I be autistic? Does that make me weird? Am I messed up? NO! Autism is not to be feared. Some textbook signs of autism are: inability to make eye-contact, poor social skills, severe anxiety, difficulty in making and/or keeping relationships, difficulty in answering direct questions, and much more. Knowledge about autism and its many forms is growing every day with new discoveries in the medical field.

 

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The Scary Truth About Hidden Things