I know that this has been a long time since I last wrote in my blog. I had to come away from it for a while to regather my thoughts and also to know what I was hoping to accomplish for my channel as well as this blog site that I hold close to my heart. I want to try and be true to you all either via through my writing as well as through my channel when you see me in the flesh or not as a human too.
I was doing a collab with Eneida Capaldi who’s from the UK and she’s a mom to an autistic son and she came to me by finding me on Instagram and was sharing with me that she wanted me to participate in a collab for her thesis based on her paper that is stated above in this title of my blog entry.
Before I begin, I did some videos based on this topic about Dating and Relationships for Autistics which you can find by clicking on the link to the playlist here:
(Reference: Autism/Aspergers Syndrome & Dating & Relationships – Help Central)
We came to an agreement and understanding about how for many of us autistics especially females, we are invisible and majority of what is shared is based on a male perspective or experience of whatever that given topic is. It’s also known that with Autism/Aspergers Syndrome it was known to be a male diagnosis. In most cases, people receive an autism diagnosis in childhood, usually after the age of 4 years or even as young as 2 years old and this is usually for males. Research shows that Autism Spectrum Disorder is more prevalent in males than females by a ratio of three to one. But there is increasing evidence that this gender difference may be slimmer than we think, and that autism symptoms in women and girls are frequently overlooked and misdiagnosed.
However, some adults live with undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder. Even people with more severe symptoms may not have received the correct diagnosis.There are some similarities between Autism Spectrum Disorder and certain other disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.A survey conducted in the United Kingdom by The National Autistic Society found that compared to males, women and girls are more likely to be misdiagnosed, with 42 percent of females diagnosed with a mental disorder other than autism when being assessed, as opposed to 30 percent of males.
There is no clear explanation as to why women with autism are often misdiagnosed. Child psychiatrist Meng-Chuan Lai, a clinician-scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says that while there is a range of different reasons why women receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder later in life, one possibility is that autism characteristics aren’t so evident in females: “Girls and women may be more able to master ‘Camouflaging,’ so ‘Typical’ autistic characteristics could be masked when they learn social skills.”
Lai describes this as the ability to learn neurotypical social behaviors such as eye contact, gestures, holding conversations, and the utilization of social scripts. These neurotypical behaviors represent those who are not on the autism spectrum, in contrast to the neurodiverse behaviors which refer to differently wired brains and cognitive styles attributed to those on the autism spectrum.
In the foreword for Safety Skills for Asperger Women by Liane Holliday Willey, Tony Atwood describes this “Camouflaging” phenomenon, reporting that young girls mask the symptoms of autism by socializing and interacting with their peers, causing a delay in diagnosis.
Lai notes that another possible reason for the misdiagnosis is that women and girls tend to have restricted and repetitive behaviors that are less likely to be recognized:
“The issue is that some of these narrow interests of autism in males, if you only look at the content, are more traditionally male-typical such as trains, dinosaurs, trucks, and they are most easily recognized by clinicians because of our own stereotypes of autism. For girls, their restricted and repetitive behaviours might not be captured by standardized instruments as they are deemed as less noticeable.”
Recent research has touched on the idea of bias in the way autism is diagnosed. One study showed that girls are more likely to be diagnosed if they had additional intellectual disabilities or behavioral issues. However, without these, many women are receiving incorrect diagnoses or none at all. Hannah agrees: “Sometimes you might feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, everything everyone thinks about autism is male-biased. However, as slow and painful as the journey is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It takes us a little bit longer to get to it, but it is worth the journey.”
In a study looking at sex differences between children with autism, researchers recommend new strategies for improving autism recognition in females. In fact, Australia is the first country to form new national guidelines to help increase early diagnosis of women with autism. Considerations of social camouflaging, anxiety, sensory overload, and depression are being included in these new guidelines.
If these guidelines are implemented, it will be possible to decrease the number of misdiagnoses in women and girls who have autism, leading to less frustration for these women and more time to learn how to manage their diagnosis.
I talked about some of the Reference: Characteristic Traits in Females with Aspergers Syndrome which you can click here to find out more:
Receiving an Autism Spectrum diagnosis later in life can be helpful for many reasons, but particularly because it can provide people with better access to services and support.
I shared briefly about diagnosis in females that has autism on my channel which you can check the link here to view more about this: Reference: Female Aspies Young and Old on the Spectrum
Eneida Capaldi answered me the following questions to her thesis paper and they were as follows along with some of my answers in response to it which you can read and also listen to soon on my channel.
Reference: To find out more on this collab, you can find me answering more to the questions of what she asked me during the collab on my channel here is the link to it:
- How do you describe/define a romantic relationship? What does it involve?
My definition of a romantic relationship is especially for autistic females coming from myself as an Autistic female adult would involve like similar workings as for Neurotypicals that they would have an emotional and spiritual connection between them (Male and Female) or whatever their gender type is. Platonic love from my understanding starts out as being friends and then it grows more into another level of the relationship. Most friendships begin as either personal or professional. In the latter type of relationship, the connection is intellectual and revolves around a common work interest. Loving others means understanding them in a special way, and as author Judith Blackstone (2002) says, “The ability to love goes beyond having an emotional response to or understanding another person. It requires a capacity for contact, and this contact does not necessarily have to be physical. It can include how you speak to them, the emotions you display to them, and the awareness you have about them. It’s about being in tune with another person.”
- How is it different to other types of relationships?
As we are aware that there are many different types and stages in a personal relationship that we go through in our everyday life. They may vary from person to person yte it works the same as you continue to grow a relationship of any kind. Yet, these are just a few based from Terry Hatkoff, a California State University sociologist, has created a love scale that identifies six distinct types of love found in our closest relationships.
- Romantic: Based on passion and sexual attraction
- Best Friends: Fondness and deep affection
- Logical: Practical feelings based on shared values, financial goals, religion etc.
- Playful: Feelings evoked by flirtation or feeling challenged
- Possessive: Jealousy and obsession
- Unselfish: Nurturing, kindness, and sacrifice
Researchers have found that the love we feel in our most committed relationships is typically a combination of two or three different forms of love. But often, two people in the same relationship can have very different versions of how they define love.
3. What should healthy romantic relationships be like from your perceptive?
A healthy romantic relationship always starts the very beginning of any relationship and that is built on friendship, trust and honesty. Along with that you will have commitment and communication, being able to accept one another’s differences in their ways of who they are and what they are as well as accepting the faults, flaws and imperfections. Being willing to stand by them through the good and the bad times.
Characteristics of a healthy relationship:
While in a healthy relationship you:
- Take care of yourself and have good self-esteem independent of your relationship.
- Maintain and respect each other’s individuality
- Maintain relationships with friends and family
- Have activities apart from one another
- Are able to express yourselves to one another without fear of consequences
- Are able to feel secure and comfortable
- Allow and encourage other relationships
- Take interest in one another’s activities
- Do not worry about violence in the relationship
- Trust each other and be honest with each other
- Have the option of privacy
- Have respect for sexual boundaries
- Are honest about sexual activity if it is a sexual relationship
- Accept influence. Relationships are give and take; allowing your partner to influence you is important; this can be especially difficult for some men.
- Resolve conflict fairly: Fighting is part of even healthy relationships, the difference is how the conflict is handled. Fighting fairly is an important skill you help you have healthier relationships.
(Reference: Conflict Management/8 Steps to prevent anger with someone who has Aspergers – Link to video:
4. What is an unhealthy romantic relationship from your perspective? What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship?
At times all relationships will have some of the characteristics listed below. However, unhealthy relationships will exhibit these characteristics more frequently and cause you stress and pressure that is hard to avoid. This tension is unhealthy for both members of the relationship and may lead to problems in other areas of your life.
While in an unhealthy relationship you:
- Put one person before the other by neglecting yourself or your partner
- Feel pressure to change who you are for the other person
- Feel worried when you disagree with the other person
- Feel pressure to quit activities you usually/used to enjoy
- Pressure the other person into agreeing with you or changing to suit you better
- Notice one of you has to justify your actions (e.g., where you go, who you see)
- Notice one partner feels obligated to have sex or has been forced
- Have a lack of privacy, and may be forced to share everything with the other person
- You or your partner refuse to use safer sex methods
- Notice arguments are not settled fairly
- Experience yelling or physical violence during an argument
- Attempt to control or manipulate each other
- Notice your partner attempts to controls how you dress and criticizes your behaviours
- Do not make time to spend with one another
- Have no common friends, or have a lack of respect for each other’s friends and family
- Notice an unequal control of resources (e.g., food, money, home, car, etc.)
- Experience a lack of fairness and equality
If some of your relationships have some of these characteristics it does not necessarily mean the end of that relationship. By recognizing how these characteristics affect you, you can begin to work on improving the negative aspect of your relationships to benefit both of you.
- What diagnosis do you identify with it? Can you tell me a bit about how you realised?
I shared about my diagnosis with Aspergers Syndrome on my channel which you can find me on YouTube:
AS Denied AS Diagnosis – My Story
Life of an Aspie/Part 6.1 My Life Story with Aspergers Syndrome
To be short and brief about how it all came about for me in the way of my diagnosis. When I was younger about sometime before I hit my early pre-teens that my parents found that something about me was different. I used to struggle in school and also when I was in kindergarten. I used to go through speech therapy when I was in primary years to play catch up as well as also during my primary or intermediate years of schooling my parents decided to take me to also see a person that specialises with children with Special Needs especially with specific learning disabilities which is known as SPELLD NZ. When I was in my intermediate years of schooling while I was being tested that I was diagnosed or misdiagnosed as having ADD/ADHD and then in my early teenage years or about to be diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome to confirm this at the time when I was 16 years of age.
Most of my topics I have shared so far on my channel is now also in a book that was written in 2016. Here is a playlist of my Animation/Audiobook of “Life of An Aspie”. This is also available online where you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Aspie-Everyday-Aspergers-Syndrome-ebook/dp/B01D6NM4HO
- Please describe the romantic relationships that you are or have experienced.
- How did the relationship begin?
- How would you describe the relationship?
- If ended: could you tell me about the ending of the relationship
- If still together: could you tell me about what’s helped you to stay together?
- What works/worked well?
- What are/were the challenges?
- How have your romantic relationship experiences affected/changed you?
- Autism and romantic relationships (based on your own experiences)
- How does being an autistic effects (if it does affect) your romantic relationships?
- Has it positively affected your experiences of romantic relationships in any way and why?
- Has it negatively affected your experiences of romantic relationships in any way and why?
- What context or situations have influenced or affected your experiences of romantic relationships?
- Have sensory differences (if any) been significant?
- Have social skills differences (if any) been significant?
- Has verbal and non-verbal communication (if any) been significant?
- Were/are there any barriers/difficulties in the romantic relationship?
- What would help you to achieve the romantic relationship that you want?
- You and your partner
- How do you think your romantic partner(s) see you?
- How do you see your partner?
- What qualities would you look for in a partner? Has this changed and why?
- What kind of romantic relationships would you like to have? Has this changed and why?
- What are your hopes or expectations for the future, in terms of romantic relationships?Is there anything else that you want to share or explore further in terms of romantic relationships?
Organisations and books might be a source of further support and/or information:
Organisations providing information about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome:
· The National Autistic Society: www.autism.org.uk
· Ambitious about autism: www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk
Websites and articles:
· Asperger’s Syndrome and their neuro-typical loved ones’ based in Richmond, UK: http://thegirlwiththecurlyhair.co.uk
Organisations providing support for domestic violence and abuse:
Books written by/for women on the spectrum:
· Asperger’s Syndrome, A Love Story. By Sarah Hendrickx
· Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder. By Sarah Hendrickx
· Love, Sex and Long-Term Relationships: What people with Asperger’s Syndrome really want. By Sarah Hendrickx
· Asperger’s in Love. By Maxine Aston
· Ultraviolet Voices: Stories of women on the Autism Spectrum. Edited by Elizabeth Hurley
· The girl with the Curly hair. By Alis Rowe
· 22 Things a Woman with Asperger’s Syndrome Wants Her Partner to Know. By Rudy Simone
· Aspergirls: empowering females with Asperger Syndrome. By Rudy Simone
· Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum. By Jennifer Cook O’Toole
· The Asperkids’ (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Guidelines for Teens and Tweens. By Jennifer Cook O’Toole
Books written by or for professionals or parents:
· The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. By Tony Attwood
· Asperger’s and Girls. By Tony Attwood and Temple Grandin.
· Girls Growing up on the Spectrum: What parents and professionals should know about the pre-teen and teenage years. By Shana Nichols, Gina Marie Moravcik and Samara Pulver Tetenbaum.