The Autism Unravelled team are excited about our collaboration with The Girls’ Network.  

The Girls’ Network is all about giving girls the chance to rise up and challenge stereotypes through mentoring and work experience opportunities. These opportunities build confidence, self-esteem, resilience and self-motivation.

Autism has long been seen through the male tinted lens. Now is our opportunity to fly the autism flag for women and girls. Typically women and girls are better at masking their behaviour to appear more ‘neurotypical’ but this can be exhausting and draining.  The experiences of autistic women and girls are still very much misunderstood by and large.  We have come a long way in terms of acknowledging autism in females but often autism is mistaken for other mental health issues.  It is time that this was more widely recognised and accepted. Women and girls are currently underrepresented in terms of the diagnostic testing and in terms of statistics as the tests are skewed to stereotypically male behaviours and traits. 

Autism Unravelled are keen to share our expertise relating to empowering girls and women on the autism spectrum.  Girls are often under-diagnosed when it comes to autism; this is linked to their abilities at social-masking and trying to fit in socially.  Girls that we have worked with at Autism Unravelled describe the exhaustion relating to putting on an ‘act’ at school and the relief of ‘taking off the mask’ when they get home from school or work.  

In addition to this, women can be misdiagnosed with other mental health conditions including borderline personality disorder and social anxiety. The demands of a secondary school environment can be overwhelming for a girl on the autism spectrum resulting in increased levels of anxiety, mental health issues and social isolation.

Some signs of autism and girls*: 

  • Often described as quiet or shy
  • Unusual levels of passivity
  • May prefer solitude
  • Difficulties with social interactions 
  • Difficulties understanding other people’s perspectives
  • Difficulties making and keeping friends
  • Relies heavily on other children guiding or speaking for her
  • Conversation can be limited to topics or areas of special interest 
  • Passionate and knowledgeable about specialist interest area
  • High levels of anxiety and depression 
  • Difficulties moderating feelings when frustrated 
  • Sensory sensitivities to light, sound etc.
  • Narrow food choices or ritualistic eating behaviours

*please note this is not an exhaustive list and in order to get an autism diagnosis a child, young person or adult needs to go through a full diagnostic assessment.

The Girls’ Network’s aims to inspire, support and empower young women between 14-19 years old; which echoes Autism Unravelled’s ethos valuing differences and recognising strengths.

If you would like to know more about the services Autism Unravelled deliver, including diagnostic assessment, therapy and bespoke training packages, or if you would like any further information please don’t hesitate to contact us [email protected]