Autism isn’t just for boys, you know… This is a well-known saying amongst my fellow bloggers that we are continually pushing out there. As a parent of a young girl diagnosed with Autism—with a demand avoidant profile, more specifically known as PDA—I feel that society is letting these girls and women down continuously. Everywhere I look, I see young boys used on posters for autism, or flyers for autism courses. When a national news outlet has bulletins on autism, they choose to interview parents of boys, or male adults themselves.
It is so frustrating that we cannot get our girls into the media to describe their characteristics, to show that Autism isn’t just for boys.
I have personally been bumped by three different news programmes in favor of parents who have male children diagnosed with autism.
We know that some autistic boys rock, we know they like to line up toy cars and spin the wheels, favoring the visual stimuli over the expected imaginative racing games that neurotypical children often choose.
We know that some autistic boys bang their heads, flap their hands and squeal.
Well I have a newsflash for you, and a message to all the people who prefer the cute little boys on their posters, and the parents of boys on their sofas. My little girl, my AUTISTIC little girl, yep, she does all of the above too. And more.
But the most important point to remember here is that some autistic girls have developed strategies to mimic, mask and copy, and they can fool you all into believing they are neurotypical. People need to broaden their horizons and listen to us—the parents of girls—because Autism isn’t just for boys, you know.
What better way to teach people that Autism is a girl thing too than by making them your poster girls, or the topic of your news bulletins? How are we supposed to support these girls like we do the boys if there is no mainstream information about them? How do we make people see that Autism is a Girl Thing too?
It really upsets me that there is such a stereotypical view of autism, and this really needs to change. Far too many autistic girls are being misunderstood and brushed aside, because they manage to adopt the coping skills necessary to conform to a society that is clearly not yet ready to accept them.
We need to be ready and accepting because these little girls, believe it or not, are growing into young women with depression and eating disorders and multiple suicide attempts.
Isn’t this unacceptable? Do you feel as a part of society that these girls and women deserve a better chance of succeeding? Help them succeed and accept them for who they are instead of ignoring the obvious. Girls have autism, too.