Are we letting our girls down?
It is staggering the amount of girls that slip through the net or are misdiagnosed in today’s society. The ratio ranges from 16:1 – 2:1. However big or small the ratio. Girls are slipping through the net. Maybe we are too good at hiding our symptoms or maybe we are being let down by the process that so many professionals trust so well. First of all we have to go through the GP )General practitioner) and it is up to them to make the referral for diagnosis. Convincing them of this can be a difficult thing to do. It took my parents years to convince my GP that I may have Autism. Now that you have convinced them, they write the referral but waiting lists on the NHS are so long that it may be better for you to pay to have your child assessed.
Different diagnosticans use different methods to assess whether your child has autism
These methods range from interviews to observations.
If your child is Autistic the Childhood Autism Rating Scale or CARS, can identify which type of autism it is. i.e. classic autism, high functioning. Using a scale of 1 – 4 1 being normal – 4 being severely abnormal they test the following areas.
- Relating to people
- Emotional response
- Body use
- Object use
- Adaptation to change
- Visual response
- Listening response
- Taste, smell, and touch response and use
- Fear or nervousness
- Verbal communication
- Nonverbal communication
- Activity level
- Level and consistency of intellectual response
- General Impressions
Now heres where it gets complicated. There can be half scores and the total score is 60 for someone who has really severe autism. Im no professional but heres how i think I line up
- Relating to people – 2
- Imitation – 2.5
- Emotional response 4
- Body use 3
- Object use 4
- Adaptation to change 4
- Visual response 1
- Listening response 2
- Taste, smell, and touch response and use 4
- Fear or nervousness 4
- Verbal communication 1
- Nonverbal communication 2.5
- Activity level 2
- Level and consistency of intellectual response 3
I scored a 37. Now The Cut off point for diagnosis is 30 anything less and there may be something else wrong. Now being a woman This may not be an accurate representation of me and my autism because during the diagnostic process, I may in my desperation to fit in, have mimicked my behavior to model someone who is a neurotypical. So you can see how easy it is for women to slip through the net.
I love http://www.senmagazine.co.uk for this article which they have prepared Is Autism Different in Girls.They give you points to look out for in girls breaking it down into easy to digest chunks. I am not sponsered by the SEN Magazine but since leaving school at 18. It has been a site i read weekly to keep myself up to date on all things Special Educational Needs.
We have the same goal. Have new diagnostic protocols for diagnosing boys, and for diagnosing girls. We are making medical breakthroughs everyday. Why can’t we make a breakthrough in Autism and Girls.
This may be gender biased and I am sorry for those who don’t share my opinion. But the evidence is there if you look for it.
I am just one autistic girl and its my view We are not getting the help we need for girls.
What do you think. IS society biased towards men on the spectrum