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Kinnery
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19 Feb 2009, 11:17 pm

"Although there are 4 boys for every girl diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), high-functioning girls with autistic spectrum disorders may not be as easy to recognize due to a number of differences in their social interactions and behavior. This results from the fact that girls are more inclined to adopt effective strategies to hide their differences in social situations.
Invisibility Strategies

Girls with AS are adept at disappearing within a large group, staying safely at the periphery without really interacting socially. Because they are less inclined to be “bitchy” or “fickle” in their interactions, such girls are often befriended by at least one more socially skilled girl who feels compassion for her naive companion. The establishment of one or more such friendships can make it appear as though the girl with AS has a “normal” social life. However, it is the other girl or girls who generally make the friendship overtures, and some girls with AS prefer to spend time with boys, as they are often more straightforward and thus send fewer confusing social signals.
Camouflaging Strategies

Girls with AS may appear to use ordinary gestures and facial expressions during a conversation and to reciprocate appropriately. However, in many cases they are basing these gestures, facial expressions and responses on someone they have observed who is socially adept. Additionally, they use their intellect rather than natural social intuition to choose the correct responses.

Due to the need to copy a more socially skilled individual in given situations, girls with AS will often wait quietly on the sidelines in new social situations until they learn the rules of the game, after which they are able to imitate the correct responses that other children have made. However, if the nature of the game changes the strategy fails, and the social deficits become apparent.
Seemingly Normal Interests

Autistic spectrum disorders are characterized by narrow, obsessive interests. Although boys who are obsessed with trains or bus schedules tend to stand out, there are few who question a young girl’s obsession with dolls, horses, or even building toys such as LEGO. However, a girl with AS who likes dolls will usually prefer to play with them alone rather than with other children. She will probably have a much larger collection than other girls, and she will spend time arranging them in various configurations (such as alphabetical order). She will have more interest in organizing and categorizing than creating social storylines for them.
Avoiding Physical Activities

Because girls are less inclined to engage in rough-and-tumble play, their difficulties with motor coordination may be less apparent. Girls with AS may avoid physical activities in which their motor skill deficits would be noticeable.
Anorexia Nervosa

Girls with AS may suffer from other disorders that mask the underlying problem. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa are common among those with autism spectrum disorders. Up to 23% of all girls who suffer from anorexia also show signs of AS.

Those with autistic spectrum disorders may refuse foods that have particular textures, tastes or smells due to sensory hypersensitivity, or have unusual food preferences and meal or preparation routines. However, because eating disorders are so common among adolescent girls, they are rarely identified as problems related to AS.
Psychological Escape

Individuals with AS may escape into their imaginations, in some cases creating an entire imaginary world that is more hospitable than the one in which they find themselves. In such cases, the children simply appear creative or imaginative, and few suspect AS, particularly among girls.
Reactive Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Reacting to social difficulties, those with AS may lapse into depression in adolescence, becoming socially withdrawn and self-critical, or suffer from severe anxiety disorders. This depression or anxiety is caused by the conflict between the importance placed on social interaction and the child’s lack of social skills. However, because adolescents are prone to depression and anxiety, conditions which are more common in girls than boys after age 11, the underlying cause may not be identified.
Key Differences

Overall, girls are raised to be sociable, and as such, girls with AS tend to devote more effort to learning the required social cues and scripts. Girls will turn their considerable intellectual skills to the task of analysing social interactions and conventions. Additionally, they are less inclined to develop the conduct disorders that attract notice among boys with autism spectrum disorders.

Girls with Asperger’s Syndrome will in many cases come across as “little professors” in the same way that boys do, speaking in a pedantic manner, displaying an impressive vocabulary and talking obsessively on subjects of interest. However, due to their stronger social abilities, such behaviors in girls are more likely to be taken for general intelligence than as evidence of an autism spectrum disorder."





http://autismaspergerssyndrome.suite101 ... s_syndrome






Tony Attwood had some very interesting ideas about gender differences in his book on Asperger's, which is actually what first led me to suspect that I had Asperger's in the first place... The way which he described females and their more intense quest to fit in really hit home with me.



ladyasd
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20 Feb 2009, 4:29 am

Woah. That is a spookily acurate description of my life. 8O



Kinnery
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20 Feb 2009, 1:55 pm

I know! I had always ignored any suspicion I had that I might have aspergers, because the male manifestation did not seem to fit... This, however, sounded like I had written it.



poopylungstuffing
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21 Feb 2009, 1:06 am

It is spookily accurate up to a point in regards to myself. My childhood obsession with dolls was almost exactly the way it is described in the passage. I had a big collection that I would play with by myself and rearrange. I think I invented personalities for them. I STILL make and collect dolls and stuffed animals as an adult, only now my collection is gigantic. I arrange them according to size and category. Only a few are assigned specific personalities.

I wanted to point out parts of the passage that did not qute apply to me, but it turns out, it pretty much all does.

I was never really a "quietly on the sidelines" sort of girl...I was more of a "plunge right in with no concept of boundaries or consequences"....sort of girl



cassandra
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21 Feb 2009, 1:43 pm

It is interesting how the difference in gender is quite pronounced and not so easily picked up with girls as with boys.



Morgana
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22 Feb 2009, 5:06 pm

Most of that article applied to me too, except that my motor coordination problems were very apparent. Learning to dress myself was hell (I still remember that), but my parents insisted I do it. Which is good I guess, it just felt so hard at the time, and I totally wore out their patience.

I had other motor coordination problems as well, some of which I was teased about. But I was really good at some things, for some reason, like the balance beam.


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Morgana
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22 Feb 2009, 5:18 pm

poopylungstuffing wrote:
It is spookily accurate up to a point in regards to myself. My childhood obsession with dolls was almost exactly the way it is described in the passage. I had a big collection that I would play with by myself and rearrange. I think I invented personalities for them.


I also named all my dolls, established relationships- (who was friends with whom, which dolls were sisters, etc.), and ascribed a personality to each one. I would actually dream up more stuff in my head, and basically "play with them" in my head more than actually play with them in person.

What´s funny is, about a year ago, my little niece wanted to play dolls with me. I didn´t really know what to do! I kind of followed her lead, but it was really boring. There´s not much you can actually do with a doll when you´re limited with a real doll. I had much more flexibility in my head. As I was also quite literal, I could imagine things in a big, literal way, rather than being limited to only the objects that were around.

I did used to sometimes just have 1 favorite doll though, whom I toted around with me wherever I went, so she just basically experienced life with me.


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