For November 2018, I’m writing daily posts where I explore different things people have said to me, then the internal thoughts those remarks stirred.
I couldn’t disagree with you more. I daresay autism is equally common in males and females; the gender divide is the result of male-focused medical research, nothing more.
But haven’t you figured out we live in a world where money is invested in boys before girls?
Women with autism face three major issues:
- Funding for autism is funneled into research that focuses primarily on boys;
- The signs of autism look different in women, so we fall through the cracks of diagnostic criteria, often until well into adulthood, when we may or may not have the capacity to search for answers ourselves; and
- If we develop a special interest in social skills and/or acting, (and many of us do, in response to the pressures placed on school-age girls,) we learn to hide our negative autistic traits for short bursts of public time, while flexing our positive autistic traits, so we appear odd, peculiar, gifted; and that separates us yet further from the truth of our developmental disorder.
Because I experienced the “what’s wrong with me?” rollercoaster keenly through high school and undergrad, I’m passionate about this issue; so I won’t swallow these wrongful ideas that autism is limited to men, and if I can, I’ll dispel any attempts others make to spread ignorance.
Haven’t women been marginalized enough? Have you seen how the field of psychology once treated us? Have you any idea how harmful the falsehood of “women don’t have autism” can be if it continues to undulate through our community?
We autistic women, and the people of color who live in low-income school districts, are the most likely to go through childhood undiagnosed; and the more of us that are brought to light, the bigger the “autism epidemic” will seem.
It’s a societal growing phase we need to go through. The prevalence of autism is a statistic we need to let balloon.
Autism isn’t increasing in frequency because it’s spreading; it’s increasing in frequency because wholesome, inclusive diagnosis processes are more and more common by the year.
This isn’t an epidemic.
This is truth.
Kourtnie has an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno and a BA in English from CSU Fullerton. When she isn't writing or making art, she's moonlighting as a professor at community colleges. Read her writing at Kourtnie.net or Wattpad.com/user/KourtnieNet.