What are Autism Spectrum Conditions?

What are Autism Spectrum Conditions?

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)

Recommended resources:

I Am An Aspie Girl: A book for young girls with autism spectrum conditionby Danuta Bulhak-Paterson and illustrated by Teresa Ferguson. Afterword by Tony Attwood. Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015.

The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome by Tony Attwood, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006.

A Guide to Asperger Syndrome by Christopher Gillberg, published by Cambridge University Press, 2002

Asperger’s and Girls by Tony Attwood, Temple Grandin, Teresa Bolick et al, published by Future Horizons 2006.

Girls Under the Umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Practical Solutions For Addressing Everyday Challenges by Lori Ernsperger & Danielle Wendel, published by Autism Asperger Publishing Company, 2007.

Girls Growing up on the Autism Spectrum by Shana Nichols, Gina Marie Moravcik, and Samara Pulver Tetenbaum, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers,2008.

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger’s Syndrome by Rudy Simone published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010.

Women From Another Planet – Our Lives in the Universe of Autism, by Jean Kearns Miller, published by First Books Library, USA, 2003.

Understanding Autism by Susan Dodd, published by Elsevier, 2004