Autism Spectrum Conditions, commonly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), are neurodevelopmental conditions with characteristic difficulties, all in varying degrees, with social reasoning, communication, management of emotions and coping with change. Strong interests, sensory sensitivities, fine and/or gross motor difficulties, and difficulties with organisation and planning are other aspects of these conditions. The main variants of Autism Spectrum Conditions are Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, and PDD-NOS.
Asperger’s Syndrome in females
Only recently, has the more subtle expression of Asperger’s Syndrome been recognised and a diagnosis for autism been given for females, because it is more difficult to detect. Girls with Asperger’s Syndrome are often able to ‘fly under the radar’ of diagnostic assessment because they are able to imitate others, they have better language skills, and less unusual special interests. Unfortunately for the female with Asperger’s Syndrome, the cost of hiding her difficulties by imitating the behaviour of others is often the loss of self-identity and subsequent anxiety and/or mood disorder. Receiving a diagnosis for autism at any age is often seen as the beginning of a new and awaited journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
The following websites provide excellent information about Autism Spectrum Conditions and avenues for support:
www.amaze.org.au (previously called Autism Victoria)
www.mindsandhearts.net (clinic in Brisbane)
www.diverseminds.com.au (clinic in Sydney)