Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of disorders that can affect social interaction and behavior. There is some evidence to suggest that ASD may present differently in females and is often underdiagnosed. This article discusses ASD symptoms in women and how you can seek a diagnosis for autism in women.
Common Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can affect social interaction and behavior in various ways. Autistic individuals may have difficulty connecting with others, including not responding to their names, avoiding eye contact and preferring to be alone. They may also have problems with communication, such as difficulty starting or maintaining a conversation, unusual speech patterns, and an inability to recognize nonverbal forms of communication.
This disorder can also lead to repetitive behavior patterns, such as repetitive movements, developing strict routines or rituals, and fixating on specific subjects or objects. These behaviors can also be accompanied by self-harm, sensitivity to light and sound, and particular food preferences or aversions.
Autism Spectrum Disorder in Women May Present Differently than in Men
Some research suggests that females may be more likely to internalize their symptoms and experience more mood issues like anxiety and depression. Other research suggests that females may present with more externalizing behaviors. Experts believe that adult females and girls may be more likely to mask their ASD symptoms, particularly those at the lower end of the ASD spectrum.
This "masking" may involve forcing yourself to make eye contact, preparing jokes or phrases in advance for conversation, mimicking social behavior, or imitating expressions and gestures. It is unclear whether these differences are real or due to masking, and more research is needed to understand the full range of symptoms of autism in women.
How to Seek a Diagnosis for ASD in Women
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in adults can be challenging, and only a qualified professional can reliably assess your symptoms. If you suspect that you may be on the autism spectrum, talk to a psychologist experienced with Autism. They can help you evaluate your symptoms and rule out other potential causes.
It may be helpful to ask close family members about any potential signs or symptoms you displayed as a child, as this can give your doctor a better understanding of your childhood development. Remember that you are your own best advocate, and if you're concerned about your doctor, consider seeking a second opinion.
Receive Evidence-Based Testing and Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of ASD, it is important to seek the guidance of a qualified professional. The Sachs Center specializes in testing and treating ADD, ADHD & ASD in children, teens, and adults and can help you navigate the diagnosis and treatment process. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support and guidance on your journey.