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The autistic stereotype is a small Caucasian boy, clever at maths and trains. Like most stereotypes, it's bullshit. Autistic children grow up into autistic adults, and there are plenty of us around. We come in all nationalities and races. Some of us are good at maths, some aren't, and while a few of us are passionate about trains a lot of us couldn't give a stuff about them.
There are also a lot of autistic women and girls - but we as a society still fail pretty hard at recognising them.
Just like heart disease, autism in women can present itself very differently from how it appears in our male counterparts. And just like heart disease, observations focussing largely on male subjects has resulted in knowledge about the condition being skewed quite heavily towards male presentation.
There are four males diagnosed with autism to every female, but I don't think that means it's four times more common in men. Since getting a diagnosis still relies far, far too much on money, luck, and co-incidence, I think it just means we're four times better at detecting autism in men.
Here is a good write-up on the differences between autistic men and women, and some research findings into how the condition differs between the sexes. And here is a case study, where an autistic girl had to wait much longer for a diagnosis than her also-autistic brother.
Women's presentations can be more subtle (insofar as anything is "subtle" if you don't know what you're looking for), but that doesn't mean we're less affected by our autism, or "higher functioning" than our male counterparts. In my experience, it just meant that my very obvious differences and difficulties were either misdiagnosed (I've had just about everything in the DSM4 thrown at me, even dissociative identity disorder for heaven's sake!) or it was assumed I was doing it deliberately for some weird reason of my own, and that assumption of deliberate intent was assumed to be part of whichever bullshit misdiagnosis I was stuck with that week.
Blogs by autistic women (in alphabetical order)
Autistic Hoya by Lydia Brown
Confessions of an Aspie
Crazy Girl in an Aspie World by Amanda J Harrington
Disability and Representation by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg
Golden Hearted Rose by Rose
Musings of Ade
Musings of an Aspie by Cynthia
Radical Neurodivergence Speaking by Neurodivergent K
Tiny Grace Notes by Elizabeth J "Ibby" Grace
Yes, That Too by Alyssa
Resources for autistic women
Autism Women's Network: support for women and girls on the spectrum
Women with Autism Facebook group
Image: Woman in Pink Dress from the George Eastman House collection.