7 Key Signs Of Autism In Women And Girls

7 Key Signs Of Autism In Women And Girls

Have you ever noticed some peculiar abnormal behavioral signs as a woman and wondered what they could be?

You might just be suffering from critical symptoms of autism in women that need some urgent remedy.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition related to brain development (developmental disorders) that impacts how a person socializes with people, causing problems in social interaction and communication.

ASD is a condition that arises from certain neurobiological factors.

It is characterized by a lifelong set of developmental malfunction in the domains of communication and social interactions and is accompanied by a couple of restrictive and repetitive behaviors.

It is diagnosable in both men and women.

Although autism in women is rarer than in men, because of this, fewer women have been included in studies.

So, how do you know if, as a woman, you have been showing critical signs of autism?

Autism Therapists in Colorado

Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Julie Maloney, LPCC

Julie Maloney, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Jackie Erwin, LPC

Jackie Erwin, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374

Causes of Autism In Women

The causes of autism in women are mostly unknown. 

However, it is a highly heritable disorder that is also linked to other environmental factors like the type of drugs taken by the birth parent during pregnancy. 

Autism in women can also result when a child is born to older parents usually an older father. 

A premature girl child may also develop some signs of autism.

Signs of Autism in Women 

Autistic women find it difficult to make friends and when they manage to do, they are unable to sustain their friendship.

They also find it hard to understand what others are feeling or thinking and often misconstrue peoples' intentions.

Also, autism in women makes them overly anxious in social situations, which leads to having the same routine every day and depression when it's changed.

Common behavioral symptoms of autism in women include; obsessive-compulsive disorder, sleeping disorder and over-sensitivity to sounds and noise, emotional breakdown, and cognitive issues.

All these signs help in the diagnosis of autism in women. Below we explain in detail different types of behavioral disorders associated with Autism in women.

Behavioral Signs of Autism in Women

Many people may not realize that autism can also be "hidden," so to speak, with major symptoms going unnoticed until adulthood. 

If you're concerned about the behavior of your child, there are several signs that you should be looking out for. 

Difficulty Communicating Verbally and Non-Verbally

Autistic people have a hard time understanding what others are saying to them and in turn, have trouble expressing themselves verbally or non-verbally.

This might manifest as avoiding eye contact, not making eye contact, fidgeting with the tags on their clothes or other body parts, or talking very loudly or softly when they do speak.  

Hard Time Accepting New Foods 

Many autistic people have a hard time accepting new foods because they don't understand how they taste; they may not like broccoli and won't try it unless it's prepared with cheese and bacon added. 

When someone has an autism diagnosis, their parents often will notice that their child's favorite food is always something different than what everyone else likes to eat. 

They might also refuse to eat certain foods.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Autism in women can be the major reason for obsessive-compulsive behavior in them. 

Women who are autistic are usually obsessive in their thoughts and overly distorted in their emotions which leads to compulsive behaviors.

These obsessions perpetually intrude on their thinking.

Sleeping Disorder

Women who have autism mostly have difficulty sleeping due to issues of sensory neurons, such as high sensitivity to noise or light at night, which makes them uncomfortable and aggressive in some cases. 

Autism in women also causes some to be highly intolerant of other peoples' presence while sleeping.

Emotional Distortion And Breakdown

Emotional meltdown is one major sign of autism in women, as this usually makes it hard for them to stay comported and think rationally in sensitive cases or situations. 

They usually have extreme emotional reactions to situations that might result in them losing their temper.

Hard Time Maintaining Social Circle 

Autism in women usually causes difficulty in their rationalizing situations and they most often misconstrue peoples' intentions around them as they liberally tend to take a literal meaning to comprehension of things, thoughts, and their environment at large.

Anxiety Disorder And Depression

Anxiety Disorder is a key sign of autism in women. 

Women with autistic disorder get easily overwhelmed, upset, and overly anxious about unfamiliar situations, and easily get depressed when made to function outside their routines. 

Also, the inability of starting a conversation or keep one going increases the preference for being alone, which leads to isolation and depression.

Inability To Perform Cognitive Tasks

Autism in women usually leads to the inability to excellently take charge of their self-control or understand the mechanisms of performing complex mental processes and impulse inhibitions and even tasks as common as preparing breakfast are usually difficult. 

This also includes the inability to make facial gestures and respond actively to their names, respond to common prompts, follow simple directions or even be able to comprehend non-verbal forms of communication.

Why it's Important to Identify the Signs of Autism in Women

Identifying signs of autism in women is crucial for several reasons. Traditionally, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been predominantly diagnosed in males, leading to a potential underdiagnosis in females. Many autistic women may go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to the female autism phenotype, which can present differently than the more commonly recognized male phenotype.

Autistic traits in women often manifest as social and communication difficulties, such as struggling with eye contact or understanding social cues. However, these traits can be misinterpreted as symptoms of other mental disorders, leading to missed diagnoses. Recognizing these signs can ensure that autistic adults, particularly women, receive the support they need.

Here are some significant reasons why it's vital to identify signs of autism in women:

  • Early Intervention - An early autism diagnosis can lead to timely interventions, improving the quality of life for autistic individuals.
  • Proper Support - Identification can help in providing the right resources, such as social interaction training and mental health services, tailored to the specific needs of autistic women.
  • Reducing Misdiagnosis - Many autistic women are incorrectly diagnosed with other mental health conditions due to overlapping symptoms. Accurate identification of autism can prevent this.
  • Understanding and Acceptance - Raising awareness about the diverse ways autism can present helps foster understanding and acceptance in society, reducing stigma.

Research suggests that the signs of ASD can vary greatly between autistic males and females. For example, autistic girls might hide autistic traits more effectively than boys, leading to a delay in diagnosis. Therefore, healthcare professionals and society at large must consider gender differences when diagnosing ASD to ensure that all autistic people are recognized and supported appropriately. 

Conclusion

It must be reiterated that autism is not a degenerative disease. 

In general, people with autism build skills as they get older and can better handle their condition with an enabling environment for social communication among other related therapies. 

There's yet to be a worldwide treatment for autism at the time this article is being written, but medications can help manage comorbidities—certain related symptoms or disorders that may occur with autism.

It is equally promising that researchers are moving more towards understanding women and girls experiencing autism and so do available resources still, so much is yet unknown, and as such many more studies must be needed to draw a further form of conclusion about autism in women.

However, if you suspect that you may have underlying symptoms of autism, start talking to your doctor or psychologist who will better understand your symptoms and concern. 

You may also consider reaching out to other autistic women.

Resources 

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July 17th, 2024

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