Signs of autism in women as Christine McGuinness highlights the gender gap in early diagnosis

Autism is neither a disease nor a disease. It simply means that your brain works differently than others. Unfortunately, many women with this condition tend to be misdiagnosed and misunderstood. This discrepancy has also been highlighted by Christine McGuinness in a new documentary. Fortunately, being aware of the signs that women may show can be the first step in seeking help.

Contrary to popular belief that autism predominantly affects men and boys, there are also women and girls among autistic people.

Christine McGuinness, 34, has opened up about her life with autism in a new BBC One documentary titled Christine McGuinness: Exposing My Autism.

The presenter and broadcaster also highlighted the gender gap in early autism diagnosis.

Speaking in the documentary, McGuinness said: “I was very nervous when I was making a documentary about autistic women and girls because there are boys and men who are also autistic and I didn’t want it to look sexist.

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“But there are so many women who are diagnosed later in life because it is misunderstood and they mask or don’t show it.

“It’s so important that it’s changing because these women probably needed help and support when they were girls in school.

“I remember it was the worst time of my life to the point where I didn’t want to study.

“There was so much going on in my head. It’s sad to think that there are teenage girls who feel the same way.”

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According to Psychology Today, about 42% of women and girls with autism receive at least one misdiagnosis before they know they have autism.

In addition, the National Library of Medicine reports that, on average, girls with mild symptoms of autism are diagnosed two years later than boys.

The National Autism Society explains that the gender gap in diagnosis exists because of stereotypical ideas about what autism looks like.

At school, autistic girls may be part of a group of friends, so teachers may not notice their differences.

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Their academic achievements may also mask difficulties in other areas.

The charity states: “Some of the main characteristics of autism are ‘repetitive behaviors’ and focused interests.

“Stereotypical examples of this include rocking back and forth and being carried away by trains.

“However, in autistic women and girls, these behaviors and interests may be similar to those of non-autistic women and girls, such as curling their hair and reading books, and therefore may go unnoticed despite the greater intensity or focus typical of autistic people. ”

According to experts and charities, other signs of autism in women may include:

  • Copying people who don’t have autism to fit in and hide the signs
  • Be quiet and hide feelings
  • Work “overhard” to fit in and prepare ahead of time for social situations (eg, rehearse possible conversations).

The National Health Service recommends seeing your GP if you suspect you may have autism.

For more information and advice about autism in women and girls, visit the National Autistic Society here.

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