A Letter to the Parent or Carer of an Undiagnosed Autistic Girl

I was undiagnosed until a mature adult. My children were undiagnosed because I home-schooled. While there were some definite struggles for them, especially socially in high school, autism wasn’t anywhere on the radar. We simply didn’t know about it. Having the diagnosis much younger (for all of us) would have had its own difficulties, but ultimately I think would have been a greater benefit. One of the greatest things I’ve learned throughout my life is that knowledge is power, and that understanding, knowing as much as I can about something, makes me less anxious and depressed. Knowing why we’re different would, I think, have made a big difference. As more and more people are successfully diagnosed it’s becoming clear that autism is not as rare (or gender specific) as previous generations have thought. It’s not to be feared or maligned or “cured.” I pray my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, if they’re autistic (which seems likely), grow up in a world that is more accepting of difference and less obsessed with “normalcy.” That state is purely a matter of perspective.

The Misadventures of Mama Pineapple

[Trigger warning: mental illness]

Dear Parent/Carer,

I’m writing to you in my capacity both as the parent of a little girl awaiting assessment for autism, and as an adult autistic woman, and one who has spent most of her life, until the age of 36, undiagnosed.

I know you’ve been wondering about your girl. Perhaps someone has said something – a family member, perhaps; a friend; a teacher. Or, maybe, you’ve been thinking for quite some time that this little person might be a little…different. ‘Autism’ is the thing that’s been suggested. And you’re wondering.

Perhaps you’re wondering about the formal assessment process. Perhaps you’ve already begun to get things moving, or maybe you’re little further down the line, and it’s dawning on you that the whole thing is far more arduous than you’d ever imagined. I get that. Totally. My family is there too.

And so, you’re thinking you…

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Meltdown Bingo: Autistic Edition

Reblogged from Silence Breaking Sound
This is an excellent breakdown of many of the triggers and kinds of meltdowns autistics have. I hope it’s helpful for those wanting to understand their loved ones and help rather than hinder their recovery from them. I also think it’s validating for us, as autistic, to remind ourselves that we are not alone in these responses. This is, for better or worse, “normal” for us. Understanding my triggers and responses has helped me process them more quickly without the guilt and helpless feelings I’ve lived with all my life.

Silence Breaking Sound

TW/Content note: Abuse of autistic people; demonstrative use of disability slur; self-injury; in-depth descriptions of being in the middle of a meltdown.

UPDATE: The article on The Mighty that led to this post has been taken down.

The Bingo Sheet meme has existed as a way for marginalized communities to catalog and make fun of the bad things they experience.  This usually takes the form of quoting common hurtful, invalidating or dismissive things they hear from other people.  For instance, there is American Racial Incident Bingo for the ways in which white people respond badly to instances of violence against people of color, and Fat Hatred Bingo for the ways the concern trolls and other people justify bias against fat people.

So, given this context, the autistic community was none too happy when an online disability publication called The Mighty published a Meltdown Bingo… as written from the perspective of a…

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Again, I regret not posting here more often. I have so much I want to say but have felt mostly overwhelmed lately and unable to focus on posting, between one thing and another, and working to get my novels finished. A friend posted this on Facebook, and it’s brilliant, so I’d like to share it with you. It’s meaning is clear and goes so far beyond a difference of race or skin color.

Peace.

Aspergers – My feelings. (A page followers words by -Annie.)

Explaining HOW I feel is often as hard as explaining WHY I feel that way. A lot of the time I just don’t know. Sometimes it just takes too much emotional energy to try to figure it out and I have to block it out. When I was a child, I’d dissolve into tears, apparently for no reason, often in a corner, trying not to bother anyone, not wanting to be noticed. Everyone said I was “sensitive.” They mostly said I was” too sensitive.” So as I grew, became a teen, I learned to hold it in. Instead of tears, I’d shut down, block the world out. And that’s when I became aware of depression.

This is a great blog post by Beautiful Random Dark Thoughts of a Female Aspie and describes those feelings exactly.

Beautiful random dark thoughts of 3 autistic females

The trouble with autism/aspergers is that often we struggle to recognize emotions, often we outwardly display common signs, and will even wonder aloud, “why is everything so irritating? Why am I so on edge? I don’t know why I feel so irritable about everything, I can’t pinpoint a reason why, I have no patience for anything.” Not realizing the power of the emotional storm surging underneath. We become more aspie in a way, displaying flat emotional reactions, and even a perceived general disinterest in others, or even a feigned interest because that is all we ‘can’ do in that moment because anything else will send us over the edge. Stress, even over little things that may seem like nothing, is enough to shut us down completely. Verbally silent and unresponsive, it takes every effort just to mutter the words, “I can’t right now.” Feeling exhausted, yet charged with emotions, every…

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Beyond The Talk: What Else Autistic Girls Need to Know About Puberty

Excellent post on some of the issues to be aware of with autistic girls approaching puberty. I could have related to all these things (and still do to many of them). I wish I’d understood myself better (my autism) and understood that the fact that I seemed to have so much more trouble and confusion than others around me seemed to have, especially where relationships (boys) were concerned.

Musings of an Aspie

This was originally posted at a group blog that I’m part of: We Are Like Your Child. It primarily addresses parents of young autistics, but I’m reposting here because I thought other autistic adults might have helpful tips to add or their own wishlist of things they’d known about puberty.

One request: if you talk about anything traumatic, please reference it obliquely. There are some younger readers here now and I could see others finding this post in a search for autism and puberty or adolescence.

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When it came to puberty, my parents did what many parents in the seventies did: they gave me a book about puberty written especially for girls. It was a slim cranberry hardback with an ambiguous title like “Everything is Changing.”

I was a voracious reader, so I would curl up in my beanbag and scour the pages for clues to the mysterious…

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Girls With Autism Fare Worse Than Boys, Study Finds

It’s great that this is finally becoming recognized, but they’re still not quite getting it: “…but boys are more than four times as likely to be affected.” No, no, no. Diagnosed, not “affected.”

Health News / Tips & Trends / Celebrity Health

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) — While girls are far less likely than boys to be diagnosed with autism, girls with the developmental disorder show more impairments compared to their healthy female peers than comparable sets of boys do, new research suggests.

Scientists from the University of California Davis MIND Institute contend that girls with autism may suffer from greater social deficits than boys with the condition, which is characterized by problems with emotional and communication skills.

“Many of the studies looking for behavioral differences in autism have only compared boys and girls with autism and not to their typically developing counterparts,” said study author Christine Wu Nordahl, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

“So when we tried this approach, we were surprised because the findings were quite striking. In almost every measure, the girls with autism very consistently and significantly [scored]…

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