on the spectrum - girls & women


Video, '24/7' CSMCAD, 1993, 45mins unedited, silent 


'The world is unfair, unjust, unknowable, out of control. When we tell a story we exercise control, but in such a way as to leave a gap, an opening. It is a version, but never the final one. And perhaps we hope that the silences will be heard by someone else, and the story can continue, can be retold.' Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, 2011


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is diagnosed around four times more often in boys than in girls. Recently, researchers have started to question whether ASD may in fact be more common amongst females than has previously been thought. 

Girls and women are more likely to go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed with other conditions, unable to access the right support, or gain a perspective on their condition.

Diagnostic criteria have been, and to a certain extent still are, ...'biased towards the 'conventional' (male) presentation of ASD... [and] Females may be better able to adapt to, or compensate for, aspects of ASD… than are males...'  (Dworzynski et al., 2012).'   Aspect Practice, Australia

'The fact that girls with undiagnosed autism are painstakingly copying some behaviour is not being picked up on and therefore any social and communication problems they maybe having are also overlooked. This effort of mimicking and repressing their autistic behaviour is exhausting, perhaps resulting in the high statistics of women with mental health problems.' 

Dale Yaull-Smith, National Autistic Society 2008


when being a good girl is bad for you... 


I don't need your awareness… 


'....We feel misunderstood because nonautistic people keep telling our stories, without asking us for our input...'



central coherence... Weak central coherence explains some of the talents and difficulties people with Asperger's syndrome have in cognitive, linguistic, and social abilities. In cognitive terms the person can sometimes identify details and notice connections that are not perceived by others who have a different mental framework. Identifying new connections and representation can contribute to being a successful scientist or artist, while attention to detail is an advantage to a contract lawyer, accountant or copy editor… One of the disadvantages is that it takes more time, and requires repetition and consistency to decipher the pattern in those [school] activities, where the simultaneous processing of information from many different sources is needed.

Tony Attwood, The Complete Gude to Aspergers Syndrome