For girls on the autism spectrum, parents say that their child manages to hold it together at school, but then comes home and has to release the pressure built up during a day of pretending to be someone else. That's is called the 4 o'clock explosion.
Many people I have encountered have expressed disbelief that I am Autistic. Their experiences with Autism showed a complete disparity to their observations of my behaviour. To my friends and acquaintances, I seemed perfectly normal. I made friends, was sociable, intelligent and had a sense of humour.
The overwhelming majority of referrals for a diagnostic assessment for Asperger’s Syndrome are boys. The ratio of males to females is around 10:1, yet the epidemiological research for Autistic Spectrum Disorders suggests that the ratio should be 4:1. Why are girls less likely to be identified as having the characteristics indicative of Asperger’s Syndrome?
Autism has previously been estimated to affect 1 in 68 children in the United States and has been thought to be four times as prevalent in boys than in girls. Autism in girls were considered to be more seriously affected and often also diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. Research now suggests that both these ideas are wrong.
Women with Asperger profiles are less likely to be diagnosed and more likely to be misdiagnosed for a number of reasons. Additionally, many professionals have been trained to recognize typical Asperger/autism spectrum expression more easily in males than in females. While many professionals and advocates are working hard to change this reality, there is still a long way to go in terms of universal understanding and recognition of the unique gifts and challenges of Asperger women.