April 3, 2012

Age of diagnosis of girls

So, yes, we come around to the age of diagnosis in girls with Autism or Asperger's.  Sadly girls with Asperger's seem to get their diagnosis a lot later than boys. Less obvious signs of it.  Both my girls got slapped with ADHD titles at a younger age.  It was only when I started noticing symptoms mentioned in my books about Asperger's that the light clicked on and it was like "Ok, that's why she does that!"

My older daughter was diagnosed by a psychiatrist, my younger one by a clinical psychologist.

So, this is sad that it's taking this long to get kids the help they need.  Not the drugs that one teacher suggested I put Victoria on (Ritalin)  She said, "it'll just make it easier for all of us".  Lovely.  Not!

Boys seem to be picked up faster due to their behaviour. They get the help faster that way, as well.  Pity girls aren't as lucky.

This article goes on to explain that some girls aren't diagnosed until they're adults.  That's the same with me. 

It's not uncommon for girls with Asperger's to go undiagnosed well into adulthood. Like heart disease, this high-functioning autism spectrum disorder is 10 times more prevalent in males, so doctors often don't think to look for it in females. But some experts have begun to suspect that unlike heart disease, Asperger's manifests differently, less obviously in girls, and that factor is also causing them to slip through the diagnostic cracks. This gender gap may have implications for the health and well-being of girls on the spectrum, and some specialists predict that as we diagnose more girls, our profile of the disorder as a whole will change. Anecdotally, they report that girls with Asperger's seem to have less motor impairment, a broader range of obsessive interests, and a stronger desire to connect with others, despite their social impairment.

And this bit

 But even as they effectively mask Asperger's in girls, social mores might also make the disorder more harrowing for them. As they approach adolescence, girls face greater pressure to be sympathetic and empathetic than boys do. "By the time girls reach junior high, their social networks have become extraordinarily complex, and Aspie girls can't keep up with all the nuances," says Janet Lainhart, a doctor at the University of Utah's Brain Institute. "Boys struggle socially as well, but their peers mature much slower so their inability to empathize is seen as more forgivable."

I dread the teen years for both Sarah and Victoria :(

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