You know, I really wish there wasn’t such a thing as “male” or “female” autistic traits. Why can’t they just be called “autistic traits”?
Let me explain.
If there wasn’t such a gender division within the autism diagnostic criteria, my husband wouldn’t have had to wait until the age of 30 before he received his diagnosis. And my six year old daughter, now ten years of age – wouldn’t have had to wait until she was six to get hers.
Because my husband, the incredible man that he is – presents with many “female” autistic traits. But last I checked (which was this morning), he’s very much male. So gender really has nothing to do with it.
He does not have loud melt downs when he’s overloaded. He shuts down, withdraws and goes inside himself instead.
He observes and mimics others in social situations, putting on whatever “hat” is needed at that given time.
He will keep his struggles inside and only let them out when he’s in a safe, familiar space.
However, these are all regarded to be “female” autistic traits. So why is there the need for the divide???
It is all just autism. We sorely need a diagnostic system that assesses traits from a whole perspective taking into account all types of presentation, rather than only certain according to the private parts of the individuals.
Females need to stop having their diagnoses missed because they’re hyper intelligent, verbal, outgoing, social and epic mimics – and males need to be recognised for their disability even when they’re all of these things too.
Internal silent shut downs
…. I could go on. Seriously, enough.
Please, let us include all of the autistic traits in the future diagnostic manuals, so that autism isn’t such an invisible disability anymore, and our loved ones can get access to the support that they need. Having an autistic diagnosis has a great impact on an individual’s identity and sense of self, and this isn’t something that should be withheld – definitely not when it hinges on a criteria that changes depending on what is between an individual’s legs.
I really just struggle to what gender has to do with it.