Quicklink: Autism not just a boy thing

As regular readers of this blog probably already know, there are plenty of women on the autism spectrum, some of whom write and comment right here. The common/general view of autism tends to follow the Simon Baron-Cohen theory of “extreme male brain” though, because it got a lot of media coverage, because scientists whose work reinforces essentialist views of gender always do get a lot of media coverage. There are countervailing conclusions drawn by other researchers however, with respect to the sex skew in autism diagnoses. Virginia Hughes analyses The Sexual Politics of Autism in her National Geographic blog; a meaty overview with lots of juicy links.

Archive index image: Temple Grandin, the Colorado State University professor world-renowned for using insights gained from her autism to design humane livestock-handling systems, on horseback

Categories: disability, gender & feminism, Science

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2 replies

  1. My son was diagnosed with autism at age 4 (mid-1990’s), later modified to Asperger when DSM IV came out.
    A few years later, we met a family with a daughter a year or two older than my son who exhibited much of the same behavior that led us to get my son diagnosed — except, of course, that she was a girl.
    I suggested to the parents that she might have Asperger Disorder, but the therapists they’d been taking her to assured them that wasn’t the case. She got diagnosed with OCD and maybe other things as time went on (ODD maybe?) and underwent all kinds of theraputic (mis-)treatment that Teh Experts can prescribe, culminating at age 16 in a closed-ward school where they strip-searched her every time her parents visited.
    At that point, her parents pulled her out (against the doctors’ advice, of course) and let her just lie around at home for a while. Only then was she finally diagnosed with Asperger Disorder. Last I heard, she was married and doing well.
    But oh, no, there’s no sexism in the therapy biz. (Why would you ever think such a thing?)

  2. Yeah, the “extreme male brain” bullshit doesn’t even serve male autists well. I’m pretty badly disabled, according to the social model, with aspergers. I don’t present as particularly masculine in personality, AFAICT. Getting people to believe I’m autistic is… odd. Right up until I show them my documentation.
    And then there’s the omgs girlies r teh socials! bullshit which means female autists pretty much have to pick up socialising as a special interest or they’re completely screwed.

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