Gender differences in self-reported camouflaging in autistic and non-autistic adults by grelb32 in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[S,M] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I'm really excited by this study, as I view it as a big win for the female autism community. To the best of my knowledge, it's the first to quantitatively show that females with autism camouflage better than males. I just hope that as more and more studies like this are published, we are able to update our assessments to accurately reflect our changing understanding of gender differences in autism.

Compensatory strategies below the behavioural surface in autism: a qualitative study by grelb32 in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[S] 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply! These are some great suggestions, and I will definitely have to try them all. I probably should have specified that the special interests are my current social struggle. I didn't actually know really anything at all about autism until I met my wife, who figured out that she's on the spectrum a couple years ago. The more I looked into it, the more I realized how much it explained things I went through in highschool. Caring too deeply for people who didn't care back, buying them things and writing songs for them and giving my all when they weren't even interested in talking to me. Took me a long time to figure out how to not open up to people who didn't care back and to only invest myself in people I could trust. I also couldn't figure out why people didn't want me to join in on their conversations/hang out with them, so I learned to be content with being alone and found out that people liked me more that way, at least until they got to know to me better and they realized I wasn't normal. It also took forever to learn how to talk to people, but I figured out that if you ask them about themselves they tend to like you more. But you have to be careful, because sometimes people don't like you remembering things they said 3 weeks ago and asking about it, so it's a fine line that's difficult to know when and what to ask about. I still mess up on that one periodically. Anyways, I've figured out a lot of strategies now. I still stick out like a sore thumb, but at least people view me as eccentric instead of disliking me. I'm not lonely at home, fortunately. My wife and I understand each other really well in that respect. I feel extremely lonely at work and with my parents/siblings though, and I relate to the kids I work with a million times more than I do my coworkers. I'm sorry that you don't feel understood at home. I've come to find that being loved by family (my parents, siblings) but not understood is just the way it's going to be and no matter how many times I try to explain it they're not going to understand. I told them I thought I was on the spectrum and they were like "okay?" If it helps, I understand you. Everything you're saying makes perfect sense to me, which is really refreshing. I don't have to pretend to be something I'm not to conform to social norms, and I don't have to exhaust myself trying to remember all the unspoken rules of a conversation. So thank you for that.

Development and Validation of the Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q) by grelb32 in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I know he's definitely controversial in the autism community, so it's very interesting to hear your take on him from having worked with him. It saddens me to hear that he was (is?) like that. I just thought it was nice that the test attempted to assess camouflaging, as it's a step in the right direction. I'm reading a book for school right now that addresses assessing autism, and it noted that for adults, really the only valid/reliable assessment is SBC's Autism Quotient, which is extremely gender-biased. I really hope that someone comes up with better assessments for adults with Asperger's/ASD that are applicable to both genders in the future, because it saddens me to think of how many women are being told they don't have ASD because they didn't answer questions like "I'm extremely interested in train timetables" or "I memorize license plates or football scores."

Special interests by grelb32 in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[S,M] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Another thing I would like to know is why certain things become special interests to people. Is it based on attachment, fixation, obsession, sustained attention, self-stimulation, self-soothing, or some other psychological or biological process? Further, is it something that's learned or is it innate? For example, I've seen children at work who come in on their first day and instantly attach to a book or stuffed animal, even to the point of naming it and making the stuffed animal take it's own turn while playing a board game. However, my special interests have started out as broad topics that I was interested in and became increasingly more narrow and specific the more I learned about them. So, I would be very interested to know what processes lead to one's special interests and what function they perform for the individual engaging in them.

Development and Validation of the Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q) by grelb32 in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[S,M] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This test was developed by Hull, Mandy, Lai, Baron-Cohen and others to assess if an individual is or has engaged in masking. Though the assessment hasn't been published for purchasing, the supplemental materials found at the end of the article include the actual assessment and can be downloaded and viewed for free (which is always awesome!)

Asperger and Autism Spectrum: Women and Girls by Kehra in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[M] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This is very helpful! I think it's also beneficial to add in items like not being able to read social cues/body language, struggling to identify emotions in oneself or others, and burnout from engaging in social situations. Though I'm sure everyone doesn't experience these things, I would guess enough people do that they might be helpful to add to lists like this.

Compensatory strategies below the behavioural surface in autism: a qualitative study by grelb32 in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[S,M] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

That's fair. I agree with the services part; that would definitely be helpful. I still would like to know on my part because I keep going back and forth on whether I have it or not. Several people have told me they think I have it (not to mention the countless times random people have called me Sheldon, robotic, monotone, emotionless, etc) but I don't meet some of the important criteria. I can read body language, identify emotions, infer others' intentions, engage in joint attention, and make eye contact with no issue. However, I have extremely narrow interests which make it hard for me to relate to people or have meaningful relationships with them. For example, I only listen to classical piano sonatas or concertos because I am obsessed with the form and medium. I will only play, write or listen to piano music and even then I am only interested in sonata form. It makes it difficult to relate to others because most people who like or play music don't listen to classical music, and even the ones who listen to classical don't listen to classical piano, and even those who play piano don't only listen to sonatas. So when I try to find common interests with others, even others who play or love music, I can see their eyes glaze over and their bodies inch closer to the door when I'm talking about piano sonatas. It makes me feel lonely because nobody else likes what I like, so I don't have a lot of deep relationships with people. I think it would help to receive a diagnosis because then I don't think I'll feel as lonely anymore. Thankfully my other special interest is atypical presentations of autism that prevent people from receiving a diagnosis, such as people who can mask or only meet half the criteria. I still feel lonely when I try to talk about it at work or with my parents/siblings, but at least here I can talk about it and people understand me/don't give me blank looks.

Compensatory strategies below the behavioural surface in autism: a qualitative study by grelb32 in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[S,M] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Do you wish you could get a diagnosis, or are you content with just personally knowing? I personally would love to get assessed, as it would explain a lot. However, I don't think I'd get a diagnosis either. Most of my symptoms tend to fall under restricted/repetitive interests and need for routine. Social deficits tend to be masked by "lecturing," aka going off on spiels about my special interests. I think it would be helpful if people could get a diagnosis based on one of the two domains instead of both of them, kind of like ADHD. For example, "autism spectrum disorder, predominantly social presentation" or "predominantly restricted/repetitive interests/behaviors presentation." If that were the case, I would get diagnosed for sure.

Time by Kehra in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[M] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/time-perception-problems-may-explain-autism-symptoms/

Here is an article that explores this question. Though they do not have definitive answers, they note that processing time involves working memory and executive functioning, all of which have deficit correlations in autism. However, from personal experience, I know some of the kids I work with have exceptional working memory, so I would be interested to know if the majority of people experience difficulties with processing time or just certain people?

Compensatory strategies below the behavioural surface in autism: a qualitative study by grelb32 in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[S,M] 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I found this study to be very interesting, as it highlights the difference between camouflaging and compensation. Camouflaging is described as a "hiding" or "blending in" strategy, whereas compensation was described as finding alternate cognitive strategies to process and engage in social interactions. I wonder if compensation could explain why trying to follow social norms is so exhausting, as it requires expensive cognitive resources to produce (problem solving, creative thinking, error monitoring and correction, etc). Further, it talks about how learning new compensatory strategies could lead to late or missed diagnosis. Finally, I was impressed that their sample included 97 females and 29 males, all above the age of 18, as this is a strong representative of adult females with autism and as such can appropriately be generalized to this population.

Welcome to Female Autism! Please read this post first! by Kehra in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[M] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You are more than welcome to do so! Autism is such a multifacted and eclectic topic that the more specific one can get, the better support they can find. As a broad topic, it can be very challenging to find others who have gone through the same experiences as oneself.

Welcome to Female Autism! Please read this post first! by Kehra in femaleautism

[–]grelb32[M] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

As a sub, we're trying to promote a broad overview of all females with autism. Though we appreciate and encourage any subgroups who also fall under the category, we still are going to use language that reflects the broad group as a whole. If you would like to use any specific terms that refer to a specific group, we are happy to do so either on posts that relate to that specific subgroup or on a subgroup that specifically applies to that subgroup. Otherwise, we will simply assume that subscribers and their posts apply to the broad group itself and the language that applies to this subreddit. Hopefully this helps, and thanks for the discussion!