Autism in Girls….
People assigned female at birth can indeed present differently to what's widely believed to be typically autistic but so do many other autistic people….. it isn't because of a different type of autism!
A super helpful individual called Mandy (sarcasm) even came up with something he called "female autism phenotype" (yep, that's right, FAP), which suggested that AFAB individuals we're purposely "camouflaging" their true selves.
Way to victim blame!!! Sneaky autistics!
Some other helpful person called Simon Baron-Cohen came up with "extreme male brain" and said (and I quote) "ASC involves a hyper-masculinized cognitive style."
He also came up with theory of mind where he says that autistic people lack theory of mind, and theory of mind makes us quintessentially human …. Yep… Autistic's aren't human #FacePalm.
Recently though, he's said stuff like " The next frontier is neurodiversity and it will become ordinary. People won't think twice about it." This is what I refer to as BACK PEDDLING AT PACE but not admitting you were wrong! Sweep under the carpet, anyone?
Less about him because he annoys me if you can't tell. But if anyone wants to crowbar him out of the 1980's feel free..
Back on topic… it is relevant though, to understand the bias in research.
It's not gender. It's prejudice!
Let's look at societal expectations placed on AFAB children. They are expected to be quiet, organised, practice their housekeeping skills, gentle, pretty etc etc…
On the flip side, there is the old chestnut "boys will be boys". Boys are expected to be aggressive, boisterous, etc etc …. If your child is an externaliser, they will undoubtedly be easier to spot and diagnose.
We are creating internalisers and externalisers with stereotypes! We are prescribing masks.
But what else are we missing?
What about non-binary people?
What about AMAB people that internalise?
What about black and brown autistic people?
What about people that communicate differently?
What about people that have co-occurring differences?
What about when it's considered shameful to be disabled or different where you are?
There are also cultural differences to consider. In some places, it's deemed rude to make eye contact, yet over here, it's an unofficial diagnostic criterion if you don't make enough eye contact or the right kind.
The list is non-exhaustive….
The entire diagnostic criteria is based on young white boys that externalise! The most recent estimate is that one in 50 people are autistic.
How many more autistic people are out there struggling?
Haven't been identified because of a very narrow window of what we are looking for?
How about we think about what we know about autistic experience and apply that knowledge to a person as an individual rather than creating a one-size-fits-all tick list?
Maybe even ask autistic people?
That would be something, wouldn't it?
Hope that helps?