In related news: girls are complicated

By Mir
September 20, 2015

Hey, I wrote some advice-y stuff and forgot to tell you about it, but then I remembered: I wrote a thing about girls and autism because someone asked, and also because I find it a totally fascinating topic.

Having a kid or two with special needs means a lot of adults who were never diagnosed in childhood end up learning important things about themselves and going OH MY GOD THAT’S WHY as they go along just trying to meet their kids’ needs. I, myself, am not autistic (although—GEE I AM SURE THIS IS SURPRISING—boy am I having a ton of conversations lately about ADHD Inattentive Type because… what were we talking about…?), but I have found myself lucky enough to befriend a significant number of autistic women who have taught me a TON about my kids. Even better, they’re just plain some of my favorite people. (We all know I appreciate a well-placed lack of brain-to-mouth filter, and, well, autism is good for that.)

Girls are different. Girls with autism are especially different. You can read more at Alpha Mom if you’re so inclined.


  1. Kate C.

    Link broken :(

    • Mir

      Fixed, thank you!

  2. Brigitte

    Egg-zackit-ally! ;-)

  3. meghann

    I was one of those people. As we underwent everything getting my boys diagnosed, one day the lightbulb went on, and I was like “OMG, that explains my childhood!” (e.g.-my mom never could figure out why I’d totally shut down during an argument and be unable to talk, noise bothers me, I have a long list of sensory issues, and I have a hard time making eye contact sometimes.) I learned to hide most of it, but every once in a while, it still jumps up to bite me in the butt.

  4. Becca

    Adult woman aspie here who didn’t get diagnosed until 22. I remember with great irony the moment when my mother said to another mother (concerned her toddler was flapping) “Oh, my daughter did that, and she’s totally normal!”

    I would add to this excellent advice that co-morbid diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and PTSD are very common.

    I was among the desperately trying to fit in. I had a boyfriend in high school specifically because everyone else was doing that. I remember being a very small child and having my mother tell me I was good at making friends – she was probably trying to be supportive – but concluding that since I couldn’t do that easily, it must be my fault. So that was a lot of guilt that got caught up in an image of me fundamentally being bad.

    It’s a tough road, but I want to mention for anyone who falls in the camp of “don’t tell the child” that learning about the diagnosis was the best thing for me, and I was plenty bright enough to know on my own that something was different about me.

  5. Nickles

    This totally happened to me; my step-kiddo’s evaluation process shed so much light on my own struggles (and helped clarify why I was simultaneously able to see his struggles while being unable to help him with them).

    I would like to recommend Sari Solden’s Women With ADHD book for any woman who even slightly suspects Inattentive type ADHD. I found it amazingly useful, and have heard the sentiment repeated by other women. (There is also a nifty book called Understanding Girls With ADHD by Nadeau, et al. which gave me insight into my chikdhood, and which applies to all flavors of ADHD. It had never occurred to me, for instance, that the intense, rapid talking that appeared in 6th grade was a form of hyperactivity often seen in girls. Or that my social struggles could be well-explained by ADHD-driven impulsivity and inattention.)

  6. victoria adams

    i clicked on “eating disorders and autism” now i’m even more confused.

    • Mir

      Confused how? Can I help? I realize the page it takes you to doesn’t have the entire study, but it has the abstract (and conclusion), and says that given the elevation of “autistic traits” in teenage girls with anorexia, exploration of an autism diagnosis may be helpful in treatment.

  7. kellyg

    Thanks for all the great book suggestions. I had my daughter evaluated at 9.5. I’d wondered for years if she fell on Asperger end of things. The interesting thing was that the psychologist said “not at this time”. The numbers were close but not quite to put her on the Autism spectrum. The ADD was definite, however.

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