Aspienwomen: Moving towards an Adult Female Profile of Autism/Asperger Syndrome/Neurodivergence

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IAPC AUSTRALIAN CHAIR

UPDATE:

A recent 2022 research study by my colleague Dr. Bob McCrossan found a male to female ratio of 3:4. This is remarkable. See his recent study here

RESEARCH HAS FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH CLINICAL WORK AND THE MALE TO FEMALE RATIO HAS GONE FROM 16:1 TO 1.8:1. A recent research study has established a ratio of two to one (Rutherford, McKenzie and Johnston 2016). Back in 2014, we predicted 1:1 and we are almost there. This is good news. However, we now have few educated, trained and experienced practitioners/clinicians to provide competent ethical assessment and diagnosis. 

Updated March 30th, 2022 (originally written in 2011 and published 2013)

Tania Marshall© 2013-2022. All rights reserved. Aspiengirl and Planet Aspien are trademarked. Thank you.

Aspienwomen : Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome. This blog has been viewed well over 1,000,000 times, been reblogged and translated into multiple languages. It gained international recognition in 2013 and was the inspiration for Tania’s second book, released August 29th, 2015, Foreword by Dr. Shana Nichols, and now an international bestseller. I am AspienWoman received a 2016 IPPY eLit Gold Medal award in the ‘Women’s Issues’ category. This book and Tania’s first book, I Am AspienGirl, the autistic female profile of children and teenagers, is available at Amazon and other fine bookstores. Due to Tania’s education, training, experience, blog and award winning books, international consultant work and lengthy career, she is considered to be a world expert on the Autistic or Neurodivergent profile, across the lifespan. Tania is Neurodivergent herself, specifically Twice-Exceptional. Twice-exceptionality is discussed below in the ‘cognitive’ section. She was one of the first psychologists to detail the profile of Autistic or Neurodivergent females, across the lifespan. This blog was written to address the autistic female crisis and does not mean that other genders do not or will not identify with this work.

Neurodivergency is a complex area encompassing a large group of individuals with a wide variety of neurotypes including, but not limited to: ADHD, Autism, highly sensitive individuals (HSP), LGB, sensory processing sensitivities (SPS), different learning styles, and more. Each individual has their own unique profile. There are many subtypes and expressions. She has 30 years of experience neurotyping and profiling individuals of all ages, from a wide variety of cultures and countries and is a trauma-informed therapist. She is a strengths-based therapist who works in a person centred way and closely aligns with Dr. Ross Greene’s work in CPS. She attended his two-day training and met him. She believes strongly in the human right for young children to access and be provided with therapy and counselling, free of any bias. She believes in a holistic approach, a bio-psycho-social spiritual model and believes that many, but not all, “mental health disorders” are a normal reaction to what has happened to a person. She is trauma-informed and was trained in EMDR during her Masters degree. She believes that unbiased therapy is ethical therapy. She believes that all humans have the right to ethical evidence based unbiased health-care.

Tania is available for fee-based Skype/Zoom remote assessments, consultations, problem-solving sessions, intervention, and support. She also works regularly with a variety of professionals in many countries, in the areas of referrals and assisting individuals to obtain and/or receive an assessment, diagnosis and/or support in their own country. She can be contacted at aspiengirl@gmail.com regarding fee-based assessments, intervention, support, problem-solving, referrals, her diagnostic impressions assessments, booking inquiries and translations, publishing inquiries, media enquiries, workshops and/or conferences. Tania is available for consultation online ONLY, with the exception of working in her capacity as a consultant to Law enforcement, intelligence and forensic settings. Tania welcomes all clients, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, religion, or political stance.

She consults with workplace organisations and employees who work at Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Tesla including intelligence agencies in relation to providing workplace accomodations for their employees. She has assisted individuals working in these environments with environmental changes best suited for them.

Tania consults regularly with Police, cyber-intelligence and the defence force, in relation to crime, the rapid increase in radicalisation, body language, micro-expressions, facial affect, camouflaging, psycho-linguistic analysis and statement analysis. For consultations, click below and schedule your own fee-based appointment:

SCHEDULE YOUR OWN ONE-ON-ONE CONSULTATION WITH TANIA VIA CALENDLY!

Tania offer a wide range of services in a number of different roles. Fees are negotiable , depending on context. Afterpay and ZipPay is coming soon! To book in with Tania, please go to CALENDLY

We are receiving emails from individuals all over the world wondering if they have adult ADHD in a female and/or are burning out, have burnt out, are on leave from work and/or feel they are at breaking point. Whilst we are not a crisis service, a legitimate assessment can help you understand how your life got to this point, place a ‘hold’ on what is happening to you and assist you with a valuable life-changing individualized ‘What Next’ plan for getting you not only back on track but on a better track towards thriving in a system/world that was not designed for you. Click on the link above to schedule a fee-based session.

The following list is an official detailed working screener document consisting of the unique characteristics and traits of adult women with Asperger Syndrome, or the Autistic female profile. It is not a research-based formal assessment tool. It is an anecdotal clinical screening tool based on the thousands of females I have worked with over 30 years. I have assessed, observed, diagnosed and worked with Neurodivergent individuals across the lifespan. Over my career, I have assessed individuals from 18 months to 80 years of age, from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. This document is based on my clinical anecdotal evidence and research by other well-known professionals. I will be modifying and/or updating this list from time to time. This list was written from my reflections, observations, and experience, and is written in no particular order. No-one person needs to have every trait, and it is rare that a person would identify with every trait. Autism is a heterogeneous condition and as such, whilst people may share similar abilities and challenges, no two people with Autism are alike. This is a descriptive anecdotal profile, much like the early day descriptions that Asperger, Kanner (3 girls), and Frankl described of the boys they observed.

***Please be mindful that research often lags many years behind anecdotal, observational and clinical work.

***This list does not characterise all people and Autism is a heterogeneous condition. It presents itself differently in each person

***Research shows that everybody has Autistic traits. Out of a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle, everybody on the planet has a couple or a few pieces. Those that have 60 pieces would be said to have Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP) and those with 80 or more pieces are diagnosable or diagnosed with the condition.

***Self-diagnosis does not equal a formal diagnosis. Some people who self-diagnosis do not have Autism or Asperger Syndrome and some do. There can be false positive self-diagnoses.

***The reported prevalence of autism has increased substantially. This increase in the rate of autism spectrum condition (ASC) may be driven by “Autism Plus”. Autism Plus refers to autism with co-existing conditions/disorders (including but not limited to intellectual developmental disorder, language disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and this may be what is being diagnosed by clinicians as ASC. In clinical practice, a diagnosis of ASC is done so that a child will receive support at school and in the community, which may not be the case for other diagnoses. In the past the co-existing conditions were given diagnostic priority and the “autistic features” might, or might not have been mentioned as the “plus bit” in the diagnostic summary. The co-existing conditions (sometimes even more important than the autism), must came back on the diagnostic agenda and be addressed. Autism is but one of the Early Symptomatic Syndromes Eliciting Neurodevelopmental Clinical Examination (ESSENCE), along with many others (See Gillberg).

The following profile was created for females who are self-diagnosing or considering formal diagnosis and to assist mental health professionals, legal and forensic professionals, and body language professionals in recognising Autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD and other co-exiting conditions in adult females.

Females with Asperger Syndrome experience their symptoms at varying levels, so while some
Autistic females are highly introverted, others are not. Many women would not meet formal criteria for a diagnosis due to their coping mechanisms. They would be defined as “sub-clinical”, “residual Aspergers”, or “shadow traits”, otherwise known as Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP). Females with Asperger Syndrome or Autism tend to be discriminated against due to the wide spectrum of abilities or levels of functioning that exist. The majority of females do not receive a formal diagnosis until well into their adult years. They are know as the ‘lost generations’.

This list typifies many of the adult Autistic females I have worked with. These traits also depend to some extent on the severity, whether you’ve been assessed and diagnosed and/or received support and intervention, and also whether there is a co-existing condition(s) (for e.g., a personality disorder) present. There is research that points towards late-diagnosed adults as having both Autism and a personality disorder.  This is common.

CRUCIAL ADVICE WHEN OBTAINING AN ASSESSMENT

This profile is used by researchers, mental health professionals, doctors, school personnel, forensic personnel, educational organisations, teachers, allied health professionals and those self-diagnosing. It has been cited in multiple papers, dissertations and books, courses and training’s worldwide. It formed the basis of my two award winning and best selling books. For more information:

THE CHILD/TEEN AUTISTIC PROFILE

CAMOUFLAGING

RED FLAGS AND FIRST SIGNS OF AUTISM IN YOUNG GIRLS

I AM ASPIENGIRL BOOK AVAILABLE HERE

I AM ASPIENWOMAN BOOK AVAILABLE HERE

In obtaining an assessment from a practitioner, it is critical that you see someone who is both trained and experienced in working with Autistic females, across the lifespan. They must have worked with (ideally under supervision) with a minimum 100 Autistic females, across the lifespan, to be able to observe the many varying expressions and syb-types. They must also be able to do a thorough family history, differential diagnosis, assess trauma and provide you with a comprehensive “What Next” Section. They should be trained and experienced in differentiating between twice-exceptionality and Autism, HSP and Autism, ADHD and Autism, trauma and Autism, Camouflaging (Masking, Assimilation, Compensation), Personality Disorders and Autism (including the common presentation of both). They should also be trained and experienced in investigating Synaesthesia, Propagnosia, Irlen syndrome, 7 types of ADD, trauma and adult PDA. They should be aware of the unique spikey cognitive profile in addition to differentiating between Giftedness and Autism and Twice-Exceptionality. Make sure you’re assessed by professionals who are aware of the unique presentation and needs of both diagnoses.They should be able to tell you what kind of thinker you are and your neurotype profile, and address learning disabilities. An IQ test can be important in adulthood and can provide additional meaningful information. A thorough comprehensive assessment includes both quantitative and qualitative information gathering. the most important part is family history and obtaining as much information about you as an infant, toddler, child, teenager up to the present day. This should include reviewing childhood and adult photos and information from family members. The primary diagnosis should be listed followed by all secondary diagnoses by clinicians.

1.  Cognitive/Intellectual Abilities

Diagnosis is complicated. A large group of people with autism score at 70 or below on intelligence tests. The smaller group have anywhere from average to profound intelligence. Giftedness can mask the symptoms of autism, and autism can mask giftedness. Gifted children at times exhibit behaviors (for e.g., obsession with facts, intense interest with an area of interest, a lack of interest in peers) that are characteristic of autism. Children with autism can develop such expertise in their particular intense interest that professionals initially miss the fact that they are not as ‘smart’ about navigating the social world. This is why an accurate evaluation is very important. This allows the fleshing out whether a child is gifted and talented, autistic, or both. This is crucial in order to provide the child/adult with the correct supports and services. 

Twice – Exceptionality. Giftedness is not measured just by an IQ score alone. There must also be talents present. Giftedness is rare and these individuals tend to have superior to very superior to genius intelligence (as measured by a formal IQ test), often (but not always) with significant splits between verbal and perceptual reasoning abilities, lower working memory and/or processing speeds and learning disabilities (for e.g., dyscalculia, dyslexia, reading comprehension). Generally, a FSIQ is NOT the best indicator of intelligence. Individual sub-test scores and inter-domain test scores are usually spikey. There is a difference in the sub-type of expression between those who are Gifted (IQ = 130+) and those of average to high average intelligence. There are also levels of Giftedness within the Gifted group that make it challenging for professionals to understand. For example, an individual with an IQ of 150 presents quite differently to an individual with an IQ of 130. What is also rare are Savant Syndrome and splinter skills.

Superior long-term memory

Weaker short-term memory, slower processing speed

May need academic accommodations in University

A distinct cognitive learning profile consisting of a spiky profile of strengths and weaknesses, peaks and troughs, learning disabilities/differences

Often have a rigid negative cognitive thinking style, inflexible black or white thinking style or rigidity of thinking

Impairment in Mentalizing/Context Blindness

Despite IQ, a lower social IQ and emotional IQ. May look like the a lack critical thinking skills and/or common sense.

A history of deep thinking, leading to painful existential crises or Existential OCD, as shown by a history of going from one religion to another, one spiritual movement to another, one group to another, or moving between seemingly opposing groups, over time in the search for meaning. At the extreme end of this, this can lead an individual into joining dangerous “cults”. There is often present an early deep and meaningful questioning and thinking process observed in the child, leading to patterns of involvement in groups over the course of their lifetime. Taken to the extreme, this appears as existential OCD, the obsessive drive to over-analyse every event, person, situation, group and the circumstances and the meanings behind them.

A group within the larger group are natural born systemizers and tend to work in, but nor limited to: Science, Technology, Engineering and or Mathematics.

May be a pattern, visual and/or Word/Fact thinker

2.  Education/University Life

May have dropped out of high school and gone back later or may have repeated a grade. May have unfinished or partial degrees, may have many finished degrees, many have Doctorate of Ph.D. level qualifications. Many have taken longer to achieve their education, as compared to their peers.

May have a history of enrolling and attending university classes, followed by dropping out of classes or semesters. Sometime later, she then re-enrolls/attends later. This is usually due to being overloaded and overwhelmed. A history of deferring exams, not attending classes, dropping out of classes or programs, is common.

May have repeated high school or courses OR dropped out completely.

A history of many doctors and counsellors visits throughout university life, without any significant improvement

Difficulty taking the same amount of courses or classes as her peers

May get lost on campus easily, lose possessions, be late for classes or exams

3.  Career/Work

Often drawn to the helping, artistic or animal professions, and often an “expert” in her chosen field. I know of many Aspienwomen who are successful in the following careers: Artists, singers, actors, poets, writers, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, special needs teachers/consultants, horse trainers/whisperers, doctors, scientists, accountants, authors, childcare workers, models, comedians, artists, computer-related specialists, animal handlers or zookeepers, university professors, nurses, psychics/mediums, detectives, entrepreneurs and photographers.

May miss days of work due to social exhaustion. This may lead to autistic burn-out

May find great difficulty attending/participating in staff meetings, lunch breaks, work social events

May make up excuses for not attending work/staff functions

May have a history of being unable to cope with work/employment environments, often moving from job to job, especially in younger adult years

Hard-working conscientious worker

May get stressed if have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time

May become frustrated/stressed if asked to do too many things at once

Tries very hard to avoid making mistakes, forgetting things

Tries hard to please others

May burn bridges or ‘ghost’ others (for e.g., walk out or quit jobs or relationships without notice or without discussing with boss)

4.  Social and friendships/relationships

Extreme social naivity, and therefore may be at greater risk of being recruited into a cult or extreme group OR supporting or engaging in extremism. Some individuals can be “manipulated” into supporting/engaging in extremism.

May appear narcissistic, self-centred, egocentric or caring only about her/himself due to not understanding the unwritten social rules

Preference for one-on-one social interactions, single close friendships

May obsess over one friend to the extreme

Preference for friendships with men as they are easier to understand than women. They also find the interests of their peers boring and uninteresting

Need more time away from people than their peers (solitude)

May experience stress, anxiety, and confusion in social group or group work situations

Social Anxiety leading to Social Phobia: analysing social interactions where they overthink (on a ‘loop’), about what they said, did, did not say, should have said or not said and what they wished they should have said. On the other side of this is continual stressing about what the other person is thinking of them. This is usually done to the extreme that it can be incapacitating for the person.

Strong preference to engage in conversation related to their special interest

Strong dislike for social chit-chat, gossip, nonsense, lies or conversation that lacks a ‘function’ to it, but some are known to engage in it themselves

A history of being bullied, teased, left out and/or not fitting in with same-age peers unless she had/has similar “Aspie” friends

An intense dislike of lies, but may lie to others herself. Many have admitted this to me.

Has an ability to socialize, however, is unable to do so for long periods of time. Suffers from “social exhaustion/burn-out” or a “social hangover” when socializing too much. The hangover can last hours to days, which can be debilitating

Experience great difficulty with conflict, arguments, being yelled at, fighting, war, stress

Has great difficulty asserting herself, asking for help, setting boundaries or inappropriately assertive

May need to drink or do drugs to be able to socialize, perform (sing), be with and/or around people

May currently have or have experienced Post-Traumatic Stress, often due to being misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mistreated, and/or mis-medicated.

Social Skills differences – is exceptionally good one-on-one and presenting to groups, however, has difficulty working within group situations

May find herself in social situations or relationships that she is unhappy with, but not know how to remove herself from them. Is highly at-risk for being with a toxic abusive person die to her nature. See ‘The Molotov Cocktail’ Series at http://www.vimeo.com/ondemand/femaleautism

History of being taken advantage of by others, even though she has taken the appropriate business, legal or social advice from others

Often bored in social situations or parties and/or does not know how to act in social situations

May say “yes” to social events, then later make up an excuse as to why she cannot attend, often staying home in solitude (reading a book or engages in her special interest)

Often prefers to be engaged in her special interest, rather than socializing

May be considered the “black sheep” of the family

Others consider her different, odd, eccentric or “weird” by others

May feel like she has to act normal” to please others OR does not care at all about fitting in

Copies, mimics, act in order to fit in and make others like her

A people pleaser, but then may burn bridges suddenly (for e.g., quit relationships), as they have difficulty managing conflict, confrontation, and stress

Females appear to be better than males at masking the traits of autism in social situations. However, girls are less able to do so in unfamiliar settings.

May be considered a “loner” OR may have many acquaintances, but no real friends

A lack of insight

A lack of social awareness

Social Naivety: may believe anything told to them by others (gossip, stories, jokes, and teasing), difficulty interpreting the intentions of others, misinterprets other peoples intentions, often jumping to conclusions about others, may be described as “gullible”

Information in Camouflaging can be found here

Sexuality: Some Autistic individuals have

5.  Communication

Difficulties communicating her thoughts and feelings, in words, to others, especially if anxious, stressed or upset. Often can type or write her thoughts much better

May dislike asking others for help, be unable to ask or not know how to ask for help

Maybe passive, not know how to assert her boundaries in a healthy manner

May offend others by saying what she is thinking, even if she does not mean to; may appear aggressive or too intense

May point out other people’s mistakes

May give too much detail and end up boring others unintentionally

May ask embarrassing questions (usually when younger)

Unusual voice (flat, monotone, high-pitched, child-like)

The tendency to take things literally, missing what people are trying to say

May talk too loudly or too softly, often unaware that she is doing so

May talk too much or not enough

Often surprised when people tell her she has been rude or inappropriate

Poor pragmatic language skills

Struggle with eye contact and listening to someone at the same time

May have auditory processing issues

Struggles to understand non-verbal communication cues

Often overshares in inappropriate ways, not understanding the steps to a friendship or relationship

Is not about to manage the complex interaction of a group and communicated better one-on-one

May speak in a manner that is copied from cartoon characters and repeat phrases. May speak formally as characters on television do.

Culture Differences

In many countries where the language is informal, this can be noticed (for example, in the middle east informal Arabic is spoken), however in Autistic individuals, they may speak formally as characters on television, social media, and so on.

6.   Physiology/Neurology

A. Highly Sensitive

Highly sensitivity, may not be able to listen to or watch the news, listen to the radio, read the newspaper, watch violent shows/movies or horror movies, see hurt or injured animals, abuse, war, trauma, are sensitive to the emotions and “emotional atmosphere” of the environment, experience referred emotion and psychic “6th sense” abilities, may have strong intuitive and/or psychic abilities. This does not mean a HSP person is Autistic, but Autistic individuals are highly sensitive.

B. Sensory Processing Disorder/Condition

May have sensory sensitivities in the following areas: hearing, vision, taste, touch, smell, balance, movement, intuition

May be very sensitive to pain or have a high pain threshold

May notice how food tastes or feels and one may be more important than the other

May be clumsy or uncoordinated

May play with jewellery or flip hair repetitively

May dislike loud noises and/or be overwhelmed or stressed by bright lights, strong smells, coarse textures/clothing, sirens close by or people too close behind her.

May find children hard to cope with due to crying, screaming or other loud noises

Sensitive to the way clothes feel and how they may be more important than how they look

May have to withdraw, isolate herself when overwhelmed by her senses

May not be able to tolerate sounds, sights, smells, textures, a movement that she dislikes

May not like to be hugged, cuddled or held. “I only like to hug if it’s my decision”

Can get upset or distressed if unable to follow a familiar route when going somewhere

Things that should feel painful may not be (bruises but not know how they got there, due to clumsiness)

In social situations, the nervous system tends to be overwhelmed easily, leading to withdrawal (for e.g., wander off to a quiet spot at a party, play with children or animals)

Strong hunger may be disrupting her mood and/or the ability to focus

She may notice and enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, works of art, and pieces of music.

C. Anxiety, stress and/or anger. Recent brain scanning research points towards the enlarged Amygdala’s role in intense emotions, anxiety, and anger

D. May have auditory processing issues

E. May have Irlen Syndrome

F. May grind teeth or have lockjaw (anxiety)

G. More often than nor, they have strong Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or traits

H.  May have one or more of the 7 types of ADHD (see http://www.amenclinics.com)

I.  Usually has ADHD or more appropriately ‘executive function difficulties’ (i.e., time management, planning ahead, organization)

J. May rock, leg-bounce, fidget or other movements with hands, twirl hair, stroke soft fabric to self-soothe (aka stimming or self-soothing), doodle, draw

K. May be very sensitive to medications, caffeine and/or alcohol

L. May have gluten, wheat, casein or other food allergies/intolerances, gut issues

M. May have sleep difficulties, a preference for staying up late at night, usually not a morning person, may be very creative at night

N. May have Dyspraxia

O. May have tics (for example, throat-clearing, coughing)

P. May have Synaesthesia

7. Physical Appearance

Usually dresses differently from her peers, often eccentric, may dress more for comfort than appearance.

May dress “over the top” or unusually for occasions

May try very hard to fit in appearance wise or may not care at all

May have a special interest in fashion and femininity

May not shower or upkeep hygiene at times, due to different priorities (usually being involved in special interests)

Looks younger than her years

Has an unusual voice; maybe “child-like”, monotone, loud or soft, quality to her voice

Often does certain things with hands (twirling hair or items, different movements) or legs (leg “bouncing” or rocking while standing)

Physical appearance may change to extremes over the course of her lifetime

8. Lifestyle

Books, computers, the Internet, animals, children, nature may be her best friends

She may love quiet, solitude, peaceful surroundings

She may be ultra-religious or not at all. Buddhism appears to be common as does extreme religious association

May prefer to spend as much time as possible by herself, with animals or in nature

May have a strong preference for routine and things being the same day after day

Gets pleasure from being engaged in her chosen work and/or special interests

She may make it a high priority to arrange her life, events, work, and environment to avoid overwhelming, stressful or upsetting situations

A history of moving house, cities, states/provinces and/or countries several times.

9. Relationship Choices/Sexuality/Gender

May date or marry much older or much younger partners, same-gender partner, tending not to see the “age”, “gender”, but rather the personality of the person first

May be asexual, having preferences that are deemed as more important than sex or a relationship

May be ‘hypersexual”, fascinated by physical sexual contact

May differ from peers in terms of flexibility regarding sexual orientation or may think about or want to change gender. Some individuals may change gender or experiment with sexuality as a means to find social success or to “fit in” or feel less different

May not have wanted or needed intimate relationships (asexual)

There is a greater flexibility in sexuality and/or gender. Maybe heterosexual or may be asexual, gay, bisexual or transgender

May be androgynous and prefer to wear men’s clothing

May be or have a history of being promiscuous OR asexual or inappropriate (i.e., following someone they like although they don’t know how to engage in the art of dating or flirting. This can lead to stalking someone and eventually the Police becoming involved)

Prone to safety issues due to not being aware of surroundings

Are an extremely vulnerable group for sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault.

10. Special Interests

The little Philosopher of the little psychologist, as a child, often turning into a career

Current research shows that individuals on the Spectrum do not have “restricted interests”, but rather a lifetime of deeply intense interests that can vary from one deep interest to another. A special interest may involve the person’s career, Anime, fantasy (think Dr. Who, superheroes, and Harry Potter), just to name a few, writing, animals, reading, celebrities, food, fashion, jewelry, makeup, tattoos, symbols and TV Series (think Game of Thrones). This is not inclusive. This trait is an obsessive form when focused on other people and/or unhealthy interests can lead to an individual having contact with the law or law enforcement.

A special interest in sexuality, personal appearance and.or gender identity

A special interest in the meaning of life, of on’s sense of purpose and/or of making sense of one’s sense of meaning-making and purpose in life

May attend ComicCon, SuperNova, love dressing up as a character. May love Anime, Manga, and other suck art.

Ability to “hyperfocus” for long periods of time involved in the special interest, without eating, drinking or going to the toilet, is able to hyperfocus on her special interest for hours, often losing track of time

Loves and revels in solitude, peace, and quiet. Solitude is often described as “needing it like the air I breathe”

An intense love for nature and animals

Often not interested in what other people find interesting

May collect or hoard items of interest

Introspection and self-awareness. Many women spend years trying to understand themselves, reading self-help and psychology books and wonder why they feel so different, from another planet or that the “Mothership has dropped me off on the wrong planet”.

Justice Issues, sometimes leading to activism and/or extremism

Special Interest in religions, spiritual movements, and/or cults, often moving from one to the other.

Astrology, new thought leaders, numerology and related areas

May know every lyric to a song or every line to a movie from repetitively watching them or listening to them

May be driven to careers when she is able to utilize her natural debating skills

An obsession on oneself, how one looks, one acts, one talks, one appears to others. This obsession can lead to an obsession on transgendering as an answer to one’s problems

11. Emotional/Mental Health Issues

Feels things deeply (Category 5 emotions) and may be inconsolable (cannot be calmed down). Often has “over the top” reactions to events

May have severe “depression attacks” that last for a few days; may feel the world is about to end

Does not DO calm, stress, conflict, conflict resolution, mediation, confrontation or fighting

Most do not have a “core self” or a stable identity or sense of who they are. This can lead to a personality disorder. Psychotherapy is highly recommend for identity and core self issues, to develop a unique core self and prevent personality disorders and other mental health conditions.

May develop mental health issues due to being Gender Non Conforming (GNC). Think of hte many creative ‘gender-bending’ artist of the 1980’s. Not all Autistic individuals are GNC.

Struggles with degrees of delight  and distress of emotions (Alexythymia)

Think that people are laughing at her or making fun of her when they are not

Facial expressions do not match the situation. May have an inappropriate emotional expression to the situation

Other people’s moods affect her, especially if they are negative

Tends to be very sensitive to emotional pain

Emotions may be delayed so that for e.g., she can be a great ER doctor, but may fall apart a few days later about a traumatic work situation

Anxiety is a constant from the very early years and is often overwhelmed by the amounts of tasks that need to be completed. Triggers for anxiety are varied from too much thinking to catastrophizing to change in routine, change in general, people, perfectionism, fear of failure, sensory issues, the feeling of not fitting in, the stress of feeling that he/she has to do things right, any environment that is noisy, has a lot of people in it, perceived or actual criticism

Deeply moved by arts, music, certain movies

May be unable to watch horror, violence, disturbing movies, and news programs

Lives with continual generalized anxiety, bouts of depression that creep up on her

Difficulty regulating emotions and managing stress

Is socially and emotionally younger/immature than her chronological age, much younger if in her twenties

Emotionally too honest (inability or difficulty hiding true feelings when it would be more socially acceptable to do so) and naive

Experiences intense emotions of all kinds (for e.g. when she falls in love, she ‘falls’ in love deeply)

May think she is being compassionate, but her actions may not come across that way

Often too sensitive and possesses too much emotional empathy

Usually, connect and/or are very sensitive to certain characters in movies

Highly sensitive to issues affecting the earth, animals, people, advocacy, justice, human rights and the “underdog”

Some women are quite “child-like”, not reaching a maturity until roughly 40 years of age

Many create their own fantasy worlds

FEARS: Tocophobia,

12. Personality characteristics and/or traits and abilities

SUBTYPES

 

Why have we not previously diagnosed the true prevalence of autism in girls and women? Girls and women have often camouflaged their autism. Not all are able to however and many who do appear to others as “odd” or “somethings is not quite right”. Autism expresses itself differently in each individual, however there are patterns.

One of the CORE characteristics of autism is a deficit in social communication and social interaction (American Psychiatric Association 2013). The social and interpersonal aspects of life are a challenge, so how does the person who has autism adapt to these challenges? 

The Introvert

The most recognized sub-type is the “introvert”. They are usually described as  “shy”, “timid” “socially anxious” or “mute”. The child (and subsequent adult) actively minimizes or avoid social engagement, recognising that social interaction is overly complex, overwhelming, and stressful. This type of person if often alone and chooses to be so. This type of child grows up without social skills intervention and can later be unable to cope in the real world. Parens often miss the lack of social skills in their child as they perceive them to be shy, anxious, or introverted and do not seek assistance for them. Due to the child being well-behaved and ‘quiet’, a problem is not usually seen.

The Extrovert – The over-intrusive type

The over intrusive type wants to experience social activities. They actively seek social experiences, without knowing the unwritten social rules or social skills. The have challenges reading the subtle social signals that regulates and moderates the intensity of social engagement between individuals of groups of people. Due to impaired mentalising or theory of mind, there are great difficulties  reading the nonverbal communications (eyes, facial expressions, body language) of other people that is used in a social interactions. The autistic individual is perceived as intrusive, intense, ‘dramatic’ and/or irritating by others. The autistic individual  does not see the nonverbal communication or abide by the social conventions. They are unable to accurately in real time read social situations and therefore act inappropriately. They are unable to respond to another persons social interactions accurately and in real time. This can also be due to processing speed. Whilst they may be very motivated or even overly motivated to make and keep friends or engage in social interaction, their interactions and experiences may be ended by the other person, group or themselves, due to ensuing confusion, misinterpretations or arguments. The consequence is that the Autistic person feels bitterly disappointed that conversations, friendships, and relationships are short-lived, and social popularity remains elusive. This may then lead them to feelings of frustration, envy, jealousy, anger or rage. Another concern is that once a friendship has succeeded, the Autistic person can become possessive or even obsessive, idealising their new friend with an intensity that is overwhelming for the friend. This can be overwhelming for other individuals who also wants to be friends. The Autistic person does not want to share her friendship wth others. When the friendship or relationship ends, there can be intense despair and feelings of abandonment, betrayal, and of being misunderstood. If this is not addressed, this may lead to further consequences for the Autistic individual. The Autistic person may them demonize their former friend.

The Extrovert – The Social Camouflaging type

The second extroverted subtype autism who the extroverted is type that recognises their difficulties in reading nonverbal communication and in making and keeping friends. The understand they didn’t get the unwritten social rules book. With this insight, watch and observe other people and copy, imitate and mimic them. They acquire these social and interpersonal abilities by observing their peers and people in general, analysing their social behaviors, and interpreting and abiding by the social rules and conventions of their environment, thus ‘camouflaging’ or hiding their social difficulties. They may imitate movies, read social skills books, practice in their bedrooms at night and/or learn social skills from fiction books. They socially camouflage from environment to environment. The person creates a social “mask.”, dependeing on the environment they are in. Other people are able to recognize when they do this. The effects of this on other may vary from the perception of the Autistic person being ‘quirky’, not quite fitting in, or in some cases, the amount of imitation copying and mimicking may end a friendship. They also have challenges within the areas of boundaries, confidentiality, sensitive information and keeping secrets.

The Eccentric Type

The third subtype of Autism is the introverted or extroverted and intrusive eccentric type. The vast majority of autistic individuals are ‘out of the box’ thinkers and love their ‘rules’. They have a challenging time ascribing to rules that do not make sense to them. They are conforming to society rules and systems, especially if they don’t make sense. A smaller sub-group of the larger group of Autistic individuals are highly eccentric, creative, artistic, extremely non-conforming and may be involved with the criminal justice system.

A natural born leader, independent, strong-willed, determined and can be highly competitive (even with herself)

High levels of introversion OR can be extroverted

Generally lack a strong sense of self, self-esteem and/or identity. May use chameleon-like skills to assimilate and be involved with to a variety of groups or different people over time, in a search for true identity.

Has a high sense of justice and fairness, is a truth-seeker, sometimes to his/her own detriment

Highly creative and may have ‘rushes’ of original ideas

Dislikes change and may find it disorienting and stressful

Highly sensitive to criticism or perceived criticism

Dislikes being observed when having to perform (performance anxiety)

May have been told she cares too much, does too much for others and/or is too sensitive

Is perfectionistic (may have attended a perfectionism group program)

Attention to detail

Obsessions/special interests can be short-term (switching from one to another quickly) or long-term (can make a great career)

Naivety, innocence, trusting too much and taking others literally are a powerful concoction for being misused and abused

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Social Camouflaging consists of Compensation, Masking and assimilation.

Masking: as above in this picture, giving off the illusion that everything is great or fine, when is it not. The mask often comes off at home with crying, meltdowns, or shutdowns. To the trained eye these unnatural facial expressions are obvious. To the untrained eye, they may appear ‘odd’ or even natural.

A strong sense of feeling different from her peers often described as being from a different planet

May not have a sense of self and/or identity, self-esteem

Tend to be very serious, often too serious at times

Is intense in everything she does

In childhood, may have been described as highly sensitive and/or shy

Highly imaginative

May have trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality

Does not like it when people move or touch her belongings; people interpret her as rude and aggressive

13. Past and/or current mental health history

An unstable sense of self, core self and very low self-esteem

A history of self-harm

May have a history of crying a lot, without knowing why

May have a lengthy history of going to therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists

May have tried a variety of medications

Experiences social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder or selective mutism

Often has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or traits

May have one or more of the 7 types of ADHD

Has experienced ongoing depression and/or tiredness/exhaustion, without knowing why

A history of trying to understand oneself, of finding answers to explain oneself and why she feels she is different or doesn’t fit in, as a woman

A history of many doctors and counselors visits throughout university life

May have a family history of Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorders

May have been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia

May have been previously diagnosed with anxiety disorder depression, an eating disorder, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder and/or ADHD

A history of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, huge mood swings

May have ROGD or be transgender

Had imaginary friends as a child/youth and often as an adult. This can be misinterpreted as schizophrenia

Eating Disorder

14. Coping Mechanisms

Compensatory Mechanisms are unfortunately what lead many an individual to receive a diagnosis much later in life when they cannot keep the mask on anymore.

May have turned to alcohol, drugs, smoking in order to cope with intense emotions, self-medicate and/or socialize/fit in and/or be accepted with a group.

May use a different persona when out in the public, in order to cope

May have developed a variety of dysfunctional coping mechanisms (for example, arrogance and/or narcissism)

May change gender or sexuality in an attempt to “fit in” and/or find the right group

Has used imitation, social echolalia to pretend to be normal, fake it or pass for normal

May rock standing up, lying down, in a rocking chair to calm down or self-soothe

May need to withdraw into bed or a dark area or a place of solitude to gain privacy, quiet and manage sensory and/or social overload

Withdrawal and/or Avoidance

May have developed a personality disorder as a means of coping with Asperger Syndrome

Transgendering into the opposite sex

15. Sixth Sense, Intuition, Psychic Abilities

Has the ability to feel other people emotions, take on the emotions of others

May “know” or have knowledge of certain things, but no idea how she knows, aka “vibing”

May be a professional psychic or medium

Possesses one or more psychic abilities

Is an “empath”

Sensitive to other people’s negativity

Often confused by the feelings she/he is having

May take on the pain of others, aka Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia. This is very challenging to manage

16. Unique abilities and Strengths

May have perfect or relative perfect pitch

Autodidactic – teaches herself

Intelligence craves knowledge and loves learning

Can teach herself just about anything she puts her mind too

Has a strong will, is determined and independent

Perfectionistic

Have a remarkable long-term memory, photographic memory

A great sense of humor

Can work very well in a “crisis” situation

Deeply reflective thinker

Resilience, an ability to go from one crisis to another, to bounce back, to start again time and time again

Attention to detail

Great in one-on-one situations or presenting to a group

More like “philosophers” than “professors, but can be both.

Seeing in the “mind’s eye” exact details, gifted visual learner

May be gifted with art, music, writing, languages, programming, acting, writing, editing, singing, an athlete

May be highly intuitive

Capable of deep philosophical thinking, females with Aspergers often become writers, vets, engineers, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, poets, artists, singers, performers, actresses, doctors, entrepreneurs or professors.

Driven to rule bound careers, professions, organizations involved in teaching others or enforcing the rules (for example, law, religion, the military, the police)

17. Challenges

May be difficult to understand subtle emotions, for e.g., when someone is jealous or embarrassed, uninterested or bored

Keeping up appearances, passing for normal

Managing emotions and getting easily hurt by others; even if the other person was innocent

Learning difficulties

May get very upset with an unexpected change

May not be able to tell when someone is flirting with her/him

Challenging to work and function within a group

Have a need for a highly controlled environment to sleep in

Great difficulty and very sensitive to conflict, stress, arguments, fighting, wars, gossip and negativity, however ironically may engage in it

Can be very negative and have catastrophic feelings; can be very self-deprecatory toward self

Social-chit chat, small talk, conversation without a “function”, maintaining friendships and relationships, social anxiety or social phobia

May like or prefer to be by herself as much as possible

May find it challenging to understand what others expect of her

Being taken advantage of due to naivety, innocence and trusting others too much; this often leads to being in toxic relationships or friendships

Boundaries issues

A sense of justice taken to the extreme

Executive function challenges: May have difficulty filling out forms, doing paperwork (completing taxes), budgeting money, finishing a task or job, planning (meals, the day, the week, answering the phone or talking to people on the phone, how to start a particular task and get it completed, knowing where their possessions are, going to appointments, waiting in line or at an appointment

May have difficulty recognizing or remembering faces (prosopagnosia)

May have Alexythymia: cannot verbalize their feelings as they are often unsure of what they are feeling

May have Synaesthesia

May experience existential dread

Has difficulties with unexpected visitors just “dropping over”

Extreme gullibility or social naivety can get them into enormous trouble. Will often take at face value what a person says about another person

Sense of direction, wandering, getting lost in thoughts and not aware of supproundings. This makes them vulnerable to getting lost and predators

18. Empathy

May have a lack of cognitive empathy and hyper-empathy (for e.g., too much affective or sympathetic empathy)

Cognitive Empathy: The ability to predict other’s thoughts and intentions, knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Also known as perspective-taking.

Affective/Emotional Empathy: The ability or capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another person, when you feel the feelings of another person along with the other person, as though their emotions are your own. Social neuroscience has found that this kind of empathy has to do with the mirror neuron system. Emotional empathy contributes to an individual being well-attuned to another person’s inner emotional world, an advantage for individuals in a wide range of careers from nursing to teaching to social work, psychology and other caring professions.

Compassionate Empathy, or “empathic concern”. This kind of empathy helps us to understand a person’s predicament and feel with them, and also be spontaneously moved to help them, if and when others need help. Under stress, Theory of mind skills may appear to be completely absent.

Sympathy: often has too much sympathy, placing her in danger, for example, I once had a young client who brought a homeless man home because, as she said, ” he had no home”

19. May have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, poor muscle tone, connective tissue disorder, double-jointed, fine and/or gross motor skill issues

20. May have an intense desire to please others and/ be liked by others and be a “people pleaser”. May become highly distressed if she has the perception that someone does not like her or actually does not like her.

21. Executive functioning difficulties may include: trouble making decisions, time management, planning ahead, organization, completing tasks.

22. May have spent a lifetime of using enormous effort to socially “pretend”, “fake it”, “fit in”, “pass for normal”. May have utilized body language books, mirrors, acting/drama classes to improve social skills.

23. May have tocophobia, the fear of childbirth or other fears (death, dying, a changing body, for example)

24. May have gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder (GID) dysphoria, and is a formal diagnosis for individuals who feel and experience significant stress and unhappiness with their birth gender and/or gender roles. These individuals may refer to themselves as non-binary,  known as transsexual or transgender. This rare and was usually seen is boys and older males in the 30’s and 40’s. There is a new cohort of girls with a new type of gender dysphoria know as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD)

25. Photographic visual memory

26. An intense and continual need to figure oneself out.

27. Hypermobility Syndrome

28. Typical sex difference has been reported (i.e., female advantage), in relation to the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test (Eyes test), an advanced test of theory of mind.

29. May be a high systemizer leading her to go into engineering or programming. High systemizing women seem to feel the “weirdest” of the collective. Usually extreme sytemetizers of SQ>EQ. This is one factor why they have difficulty understanding and getting along with their peers (NT females), get along better with boys.males. The majority of females are Empathisers and the majority of males are systematizers. there are smaller groups of males who are empathisers and females who are systemizers. Please read Simon Baron Cohen The Pattern Seekers. This has nothing to do with ‘no empathy’.

30. May struggle with who she is gender-wise, self-identity, a fragmented sense of self, core identity, self awareness, insight. May be be gender Non-Conforming.

31. Subtypes. The varying expressions and subtypes confuse many professionals. One person on the Spectrum is one person on the Spectrum with their own individual Autistic profile.

32. Camouflaging. Most professionals do not understand camouflaging not how to observe this in clinical practice. Most individuals attending therapy, assessment or other appointment are actively camouflaging and often report not wanting their therapist to see underneath the mask. Masking, assimilation and compensation of often used, regardless of whether or not the individual is aware of using them. It is a myth that camouflaging can be achieved to the level that others cannot see it. It is not possible to the “trained eye”. Observers are aware that copying, mimicking and other strategies are being used, because they are out of context with the situation. This leads to others often misinterpreting the camouflaging. To the trained observer, camouflaging is relatively easy to see. For information about Camouflaging read my 2013 blog here and my recent blog on facial affect and camouflaging here

33. Forensic History. May include contact with law enforcement. The pathways include: stalking and harassment, domestic violence, mental health issues, a history of false complaints about others (to the government, law enforcement, infiltrating Autism groups under pseudonyms with the intention of calling CPS on vulnerable and unknowing parents (calling child protection services on the parents of parents of Autistic children), the misuse of social media, hacking, involvement with child protections services themselves, contact with the Police leading to being sectioned or jail, involvement in radical extreme cults, being arrested for disorderly conduct, possession of child pornography, being arrested for participating in extreme radical activism and rarely, for their involvement in terrorism and murder (usually family members).

Within a very large group of females, we begin to see variations, preferences, expressions and heterogeneity. Whilst all females struggle to some degree with social communication, intense interests, sensory issues and many traits as mentioned above, there is not one “type” of presentation. The most commonly known presentation of females in the Spectrum is the “Tomboy”, how there exist other presentations and it is important to talk about these, as it is these females who may never receive a diagnosis.

No one woman will have all of these traits. Some of the traits in this list may not apply to you. A level of insight and awareness is required in terms of recognising the traits, characteristics, and behavior in oneself. Autism or Asperger Syndrome often co-occurs with  Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Irlen Syndrome, Dyspraxia/Disability of Written Expression, Auditory Processing Disorder and/or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Individual traits and characteristics can vary from mild to severe.

Therapy, Social Camouflaging and Identity

Many females may be referred by a therapist for therapy and assessment. Therapists need to be aware of social camouflaging. Some signs to look for are:

Unconscious social camouflaging

Pretends to understand what the therapist is saying when they don’t

Making eye contact even when its uncomfortable

Needing more time to process

Performative acting

May say they don’t know how they feel

May have Alexytthymia

Need modified therapy

Common pathways to a late/very late diagnosis:

A late diagnosis is any diagnosis after starting school. However, for the purposes of adults, I am referring to late diagnosis and very late diagnosis, from 18 years of age and older.

  1. Suspect they may have adult female ADHD and/or Autism. Not all people with Autism have ADHD
  2. Referral from another mental health professionals (therapists), psychiatrist, GP’s, agencies, organisations
  3. Contact or involvement with the Police, law enforcement or time spent in jail, youth justice
  4. Contact with Child Protection Services
  5. Referral from workplace or self-referral due to work conflict or recent loss of job
  6. A family history of Autism, i.e., having a child on the Spectrum
  7. Works in the field of Autism and sees the traits in herself
  8. Many previous ‘labels’ and seeking diagnostic clarification
  9. Autistic burnout/crisis
  10. Works in the ‘caring’ professions
  11. Psychologists and other mental health professionals/professionals seeing the traits in themselves
  12. Working with NeuroDivergent children and identifying with their traits
  13. Eating Disorder
  14. Gender Dysphoria (small group within the larger group)
  15. Works in STEM
  16. A history of belong to a variety of “cults” that meet the criteria for the definition of a cult, may have exited a cult and wanting to renter and/or reintegrate to society.
  17. Relationship OCD (ROCD)
  18. Thriving in lockdown during the Pandemic, which is seen as ‘odd’ by professionals
  19. A breakdown in mental health
  20. Motherhood, having children and ADHD/ASD
  21. A small proportion (approx. 20%) non-binary Gender Dysphoria, Trans-Identifying and/or Transgender/Transsexual
  22. Medical issues: Hashimotos, EDS, Gut issues, PCOS, Endometriosis, Severe Acne, Fatigue, Allergies, Skin issues, Early Puberty, sensory processing, interoception issues, proprioception issues, sensory processing issues, CFS, Adrenal Fatigue, PTSD or C-PTSD
  23. Has spent yers in therapy since childhood and gone without a proper diagnosis

Common fields of work:

Rule bound careers, the arts, STEM

PROTECTIVE FACTORS

Temperament, personality style and mental health of parents

A higher social IQ and emotional IQ

Parenting style

Strengths-based view whilst supporting challenges

Strong boundaries

Personality traits such as resilience, determination

A strong faith

Higher SES

Education

Early diagnosis and appropriate support/intervention

Access to ethical and unbiased Mental health Supports

An environmental fit that promotes thriving

Appropriate Intervention and support throughout adolescence

The combination of resilience and attitude (self love and self worth is protective factor (Ignorant obvious to passive aggressive bulling and other comments)

High achieving personality and healthy interest

To be cont…

UNIQUE VULNERABILITIES, RISK FACTORS AND RED FLAGS FOR DANGER IN A SMALLER GROUP of the LARGER GROUP

Most of us are brainwashed on a daily basis by media and propaganda, however, Autistic individuals are uniquely vulnerable to social influence. This is why assessment and diagnosis is critical. Social naivity, combined with concrete thinking can lead an Autistic person (diagnosed or undiagnosed) to blindly follow groups or persons of influence and power. Many have histories of belonging to fringe groups, cults, being recruited into cults and/or have a lengthy history of going from one cult to another and are extremely vulnerable to suggestion, influence and/or being taken advantage of. There is a tendency to take what others say literally and at ‘face value’. This vulnerability, in combination with a number of other factors can lead to self-destruction and/or vulnerability to being radicalised and a number of irreversible consequences.

A lack of social skills training. For example, not knowing that looking at child pornography is wrong

Unwell parents, parenting style, a lack of boundaries

Sexual abuse. Autistic females have a 3X or more greater risk of sexual abuse

Drugs and addiction

Mental health

Severity of traits

Unmonitored use of social media

Extreme black or white and concrete thinking, literal thinking combined with a lack of understanding others intentions, social naivity, negative thinking, trauma and intense obsessive interests on a person, school shooters, serial killers, horror movies and so on, is a molotov cocktail for destruction and must be red flagged with anti radicalisation organisations, national security, mental health

Adverse Childhood Events (ACE), the more ACE the more higher the chance of leading to psychopathy

Some ACE include: sexual, emotional, psychological, physical abuse. These experiences cause trauma leading to damage to the brain

No diagnosis or a late diagnosis and/or no support, treatment, assistance. A lack of diagnostic clarification

A lack of services, unable to afford services, few choices in services

A denial of appropriate therapeutic services

Radicalisation leading to a late diagnosis. More on radicalisation, coming soon

Stalking, on-line or off-line and other fixated obsessive behaviours on a person. This may lead to restraining orders and other police or court/legal involvement

Predators often directly recruit Autistic individuals, of all ages, online, because they know they are socially naive. They are targeted and infiltrate Autistic groups online. They may say they are Autistic as a means to recruit Autistic individuals. This recruitment can be directly related to child trafficking, human trafficking, cults, sex trafficking and/or radical groups and/or terrorism. The use of language and wording within these groups are red flags.

About Tania Marshall

Tania Marshall is an award-winning author, presenter, trainer and Clinical Psychotherapist and educator/trainer. She holds a Masters of Science in Applied Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She completed an 18-month full-time post-masters externship at a private special needs school, working with many neurodiverse people, K-12 and their families. During that time, she also worked in private practice under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. She was nominated for 2019, 2016 and 2015 ASPECT Autism Australia National Recognition Awards, all in the Advanced category for her work advancing the field of female Autism. Her first book entitled I Am AspienGirl: The Unique Characteristics, Traits and Gifts of Young Females on the Spectrum, Foreward by Dr. Judith Gould, is an international bestseller and an IPPY 2015 ELit Gold medal award winner. Her second book entitled I Am AspienWoman: The Unique Characteristics, Traits and Gifts of Adult Females on the Spectrum, Foreward by Dr. Shana Nichols was released late 2015, is an international bestseller won a 2016 IPPY eLIT Gold medal in the Women’s Studies category.

Tania is the Australian Chair of the International Association of Psychology & Counseling,  to advancing knowledge and excellence in education and clinical practice in psychology, counseling, and related professional fields.

She is a self managed and plan managed NDIS Provider. She regularly provides diagnostic assessments, impressions assessments, support, problem-solving sessions, coaching and intervention for neurodiverse individuals of all ages across the lifespan. She sees people of all ages who are are artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, gifted and talented, supermodels, singers, authors, performers, dancers, celebrities and/or Twice-exceptional (2e), just to name a few.

Tania has contractual obligations as a consultant to forensics, however her books are open to genuine inquiries. She does see individuals on a case by case basis. Please email her at aspiengirl@gmail.com if you would like to work with her.  She has a large referral base of professionals, agencies and organisations that she refers individuals too. If you are a provider and would like to add your name to the list, please email Tania at aspiengirl@gmail.com with ‘PROVIDER’ in the subject heading.

If you are seeking an impressions assessment, please email with ‘ASSESSMENT in the subject heading

If you would like to hire Tania for Police training, please email with ‘POLICE’ in the subject heading

If you would like to hire Tania to present on the Autistic female profile, assessment and diagnosis and therapy, please email with ‘TRAINING’ in the subject heading

If you would like to get on the mailing list for Tania’s training courses, webinars, please email with ‘COURSES’ in the subject heading

If you are interested in Tania’s research, please email her with ‘RESEARCH’ in the subject heading

If you are a publisher interested in Tania’s work or want Tania to write a book or article(s), please email with ‘PUBLISHER’ in the subject heading

If you are an organisation or agency, researcher, psychiatrist, law enforcement, public or private and you are interested in the specific sub-type and profile most likely to be successful in intelligence, counter-terrorism and solving of crimes, OR If you are law enforcement and wish to consult with Tania about the unique subtype most vulnerable to recruitment OR you are interested in learning more about the Autistic female profile in relation to forensics and the research OR you want to learn how to better interpret Autistic body language, including facial affect, body language, social-communication, sensory sensitivities in relation to DECEPTION, please email with ‘INTELLIGENCE’ in the subject heading

To enquire or book Skype/Zoom assessments, problem-solving sessions and/or support, interviews, articles, publishing inquiries, translations/translating of her books, presentations, workshops, conferences, Police, cybersecurity, intelligence enquiries and trainings, please e-mail Tania at aspiengirl@gmail.com

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1,131 thoughts on “Aspienwomen: Moving towards an Adult Female Profile of Autism/Asperger Syndrome/Neurodivergence

  1. Thankyou Tania for this useful and extensive resource. I can relate to much of it, having started to wonder when my 11 year old son was diagnosed. I also have three nephews with the condition and almost certainly a mother. Due to my ongoing struggles with my mental health and work environment, I plan to ask my GP for referral for assessment and will almost certainly be taking your list for backup. They already think I am neurotic due to having such severe PMS that I will shortly be having a hysterectomy!

    1. Thank-you Befuddledandbemused for your comments. Unfortunately, there is no adult female assessment tool, but that will be changing soon. There are certain assessment tools that are used with females, bearing in mind they were created based on the male profile. All the best!

      1. This is a very thorough and helpful list for those of us who suspect we may have Aspergers. I identify with almost all of them. I was wondering if you could recommend any other female authors (besides Rudy Simone, Lianne Holliday-Wiley, and Donna Williams) who have well-written first-hand accounts of their life experience with Aspergers. Also, who are the leading clinicians besides Tony Attwood that are studying how Aspergers manifests in women?

      2. Hello Angela B, thank-you for your message. Other book I think you may or may not find useful (depends on how you relate to them) are: A different kind of normal by Jeanette Purkis, Women from the Wrong Planet, any and all of Temple Grandin’s books, My Life with Aspergers, by Megan Hammond. All the best!

      3. Thanks for the insightful work. After taking a systematization test on 23andMe…my journey began. My AQ test…high. I then stumbled upon your work. All the questions were being answered for me as to my lifelong struggles. I sought out a female psych familiar with female aspire traits. After more tests..she was able to render the dx. Yep, I have aspergers, now called high functioning autism due to the DSM change. Scary a bit, yet oddly some what of a relief concurrently. I have very many of the traits but for I am very good at organizing. I wear myself out organizing everything! I think I have Erlens as well. Thanks so very much for providing this forum.

      4. I’m interested to hear you thoughts on this Baron-Cohen article regarding gendering autistic traits.

        “Associating camouflaging with a “female specific” presentation of autism could lead to disparities in diagnosis with nonbinary people and males not being diagnosed, because they do not fit the “female phenotype.” It is crucial that we better understand autistic adults’ experiences of camouflaging (regardless of gender), the impact of camouflaging on mental health, and how this impact could be reduced. The current study, therefore, aimed to qualitatively explore autistic adults’ experiences of camouflaging and the impact on their mental health. Many autistic adults remain undiagnosed, which may, in part, be due to successful camouflaging.17–19 We, therefore, recruited both autistic adults who reported having a confirmed diagnosis and those who self-identified as autistic”

        https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/aut.2020.0071

      1. I thank you, very much.
        I have Asperger’s syndrome and no one really understands, but I have a lot of these traits, I’m to be honest rather shocked on the knowledge of it, I really think you’ve gotten into my brain!

    2. Well. That explains a lot.

      Is childhood abuse common in girls with this diagnosis?

  2. Fantastic! I fit a lot of those symptoms, I find it very hard to understand others and for them to understand me which leads to a feeling of not being good enough constantly 🙁 Luckily just this year I have found a friend who also a Aspie woman and we have got each other! x

      1. That is so true…I can spot an asperwoman a mile away! I was never formally diagnosed however, I have spent my life since a teen highly introspective and seeking knowledge on what was making me the way I am. In addition, I come from a family who all have these symptoms and my three daughters do also. It has been a long 23 years of single parenting with all of us like this. I and my girls fit 98% of the above descriptions…Most psychologists never even addressed it as aspergers. So I had to do the research and help my girls to develop coping skills in every area. I then got a degree (actually 1 math class short of a BA due to not being able to pass the class 3 times) I have many partial degrees lol…just shy of each of them by 1-3 classes. Im an artist (bronze sculptor and painter) by profession. But intensely struggle to do follow-ups and paper work and….makes me feel so inadequate. Many people see my work and ask “why aren’t you famous lol” Little do they know how hard I try to organize and manage everything which prevents success. Anyway, I could write for hours on the subject just about my girls and family and self.
        Thank you so much for posting this very important list. I will send it to my girls and I know they will find solace in just knowing. They don’t believe me lol and say I think everyone is an apsie..lol

      2. Trying to get help for my daughter who hasn’t been diagnosed with anything, but as a mother who has Cyclothymia/ borderline Bipolar I am at my wits end trying to get professionals to take my daughter symptoms seriousely , it’s really affecting my health.She becomes angry about everything and the fact she doesn’t cope with stress makes things worse, she is 32 yr old woman and I don’t know if she has asperges or personality disorder, what I do know is she needs help. I was misdiagnosed for years and told it was depression and as a result contuing with meds worsened my condition causing me to have Cyclothymia. My daughter only started working for the first time since leaving school 3 yrs ago and it’s part time but the stress on the job has nearly caused her to have a breakdown which she has had a couple of yrs ago. I only hope that having spoke to her today about where we go next we can move forward as we are planning to change doctors to see if this would make a difference.

  3. I don’t have Irlen Syndrome (or at least not a very severe case of it, more just getting lost when reading than being unable to read, I actually enjoy reading a lot when I’m in the mood for it: fantasy novels and manga) and I don’t self medicate with alcohol/drugs/cigarettes because of sensory issues, and I’m usually verging on asexuality but can’t say I’m 100% there yet. Every other thing on that list is me though.

  4. thank you for this. it was god to read something looking at the female aspect of aspergers for a change. i feel like printing this out and writing next to each point how it fits me.
    I’m not sure that the sex change (gender change is such a bad way of describing it) is to ‘fit in’, for me it was more to do with being less wrong in my body, and perhaps having aspergers merely inclines someone more towards introspection and self-analysis (to determine how to adjust peronsality to better fit) and so any birth issues, such as being TS are highlighted and become intolerable, where someone who is less concerned with self-understanding might not consider changing.
    it was good to see the ability to feel someone else’s emotions in there too. I’ve found i am very sensitive to them, so i mostly have that facility shut down because other people are so emotionally dangerous. it is nice when someone is safe enough to be able to feel with them.

      1. just described me..to a tee..also include actually disorientated alot especially anywhere new or different.i.e. literally different places..which is why they’re better off living where they are from..Spot on..all so called “Psychologists” and General Practitioners should read this..also very prone to being mercilessly bullied young..even into lots of things they don’t want..

    1. It’s so nice to hear my experience reflected in the experience of another. Nice to feel that I am not bad for being unable to fit and pass for normal. I pretend not to try anymore (but I’m still trying…..). It seems to be the only way to excel and succeed. Just completed a social work degree. My “overthinking ” got me on the dean’s lost with multiple scholarship nominations and publication offers due to professorial recognition….but 2 years graduated and no one in my small province will touch me with a ten foot pole, because of my odd personality/ interactions, which clients, but not co-workers, are fine with. So my daughters continue to see the mother and role model struggle to meet their needs, while living on an income below the poverty line: not my intentions upon beginning my degree. So much struggle in this life.

  5. Great list, I can relate to very many points in it.
    One thing that is very characteristic for me (might not be true for others): money has never been a motivation for me. (I’m nearly 50 now). Certainly one of the reasons why I did learn three different professions very successfully but never hesitated to change to a more interesting one. I need to be able to learn new things every day, and I need success, praise, approval, the feeling that I am being valued and that what I do makes sense. I absolutely can’t bring myself to do a job just for the money.

    About the gender thing, for me that feels a little bit different to what you describe. I always felt I was different, and back when I was young there wasn’t even the term “Aspie”. I looked into all sorts of groups that were somehow “different” from mainstream – trying to find out what it was about me that made me feel so different. Not because I wanted to fit in somewhere (never really did 😉 but because I wanted to know why I was outside, if that makes sense.

    1. Yes, that is mainly why I went looking – recognizing that I and many other family members were so different. All of us have achieved at an exceptional level – and like you, it’s not motivated by money. To the rest of the world it looks like success (peer recognition; incredible opportunities that keep coming; yes, money), but really, I can honestly say, I think all of us would turn our backs on our various career paths if we weren’t getting the opportunity to understand, be part of a bigger purpose.

      I have not officially been diagnosed with Asbergers, although after reading this description (the traits), I think it would be hard not to be diagnosed with Asbergers – finally something describes me, in a way that finally makes sense!!
      Einstein has a quote that goes something like: “it’s not that I’m so much smarter, it’s just that I stick with a problem for longer”. That describes me. I don’t know anyone (other than some of my family members), that can tolerate my intensity once I start delving into a complex problem. I’m like a dog with a bone. But the result is that my understanding of complex social issues is clear and enables me to see things in a very big picture way. There are very few people/academics/thinkers articulating what I can see. I find it so exciting when I come across such writers because they help confirm to me that I am not “off base”. But it’s lonely, and it sometimes feels like a curse – because usually it’s me in whatever work I’m doing that sees the really big picture. I can see when people are too limited in their thinking, or off base when doing future or strategic planning. But because I can see it so clearly, the task of bringing everyone else to that awareness always falls to me. I wish sometimes that I could just sit back and participate instead of being the one to corel, educate – not drop the ball – until enough people can see and embrace what I have seen. I would say that I feel responsible to make sure that I have done my very best to impart my vision – because being “on track” is sustainable and energizing. Solutions that are too short sighted or flawed, drain resources and sap people’s energy. It’s hard for me to work hard on something when I can see that it is systemically flawed.

      In biblical times, did they call people like us, prophets (because we could see the really big picture so clearly)? I work really, really hard till I understand, I don’t wake up from a dream with everything in front of me. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with my brain buzzing because I’ve made a new, insightful connection that helps develop my deeper understanding of the issue or problem.

      Hmmm, I’ve gone on a bit. Can anyone relate? I do not want to have come across as arrogant or grandiose. I am actually vey humble, and truly believe that my insights are gleaned from what others teach me; from my discussions with others; from my reading (what others have written) etc. i stand on the shoulders of others.
      I really wanted to put this out there as honestly as I could, what I am struggling with, to see if others could relate.

      1. I can definitely relate. I couldn’t have put it better. In fact sometimes I have a hard time articulating what I’m thinking and how I feel, but reading what you’ve written describes how I feel at work. My mind is always on and once fixated I have a hard time stopping until I’ve reached success.

      2. Hi, yes I can relate! I think so deeply about the topics that are important to me that I find it frightening and lonely.

      3. I strongly relate to your comments about seeing the big picture when others don’t. I have had such difficulties expressing myself, however, that I have given up and retreated more often than not, feeling that I am too intense, or “wrong”, although my insights, like yours, have come from much study and reflection and integration. I wish for a route to my thinking that is not dependent on my inadequate ability to communicate, or to speak succinctly. The web of thought is endless and difficult to tame.

      4. Wow, you expressed “me” so well!! I am sooo excited to find a place where others are describing what has been a very, very lonely journey. I am not complaining though. I am just thrilled to be able to better understand this enormously powerful gift. I have tried to “run away”, and hide from those parts of me that make me so different from those around me: my level of intensity; my need to understand and make sense of things; the care/love/empathy-with/compassion for life and our interconnectedness with all things; my need for “truth”. Running away never worked – so now at 45, I am embracing me, and it’s very exciting! Especially as I discover others with a similar way of being in the world.

        What I am beginning to be more confident about, is that I really do believe that we have an important role to play in the world. The fact that I am not the greatest oral communicator, doesn’t need to be the arbiter of whether or not my insights aren’t relevant and in need of being shared. If I can see more clearly than those around me whilst we all “grope in the dark” for the way forward, I have come to recognize that those who truly care about careful discernment and integrity, also recognize that I have a strength that they don’t have. I recognize their respect for me and my insights. It is frustrating for me to see those that I am working with head in the wrong direction, so in those instances, I become much more pro-active in choosing which battles to push hard on. Anyway, I guess I have found that I have to work with others – which is how I develop my ideas best anyway. I have to make sure that I have discussed the problem and vision enough to ensure that they are on-board. In the end, they are the ones who help to carry the vision forward. All that being said, I do find that in meetings when what needs to be said and isn’t being said, and things are at risk of slipping off the tracks, I can speak in a very compelling way.

        I have spent quite a bit of time looking at some of the great thinkers/paradigm shifters/ and leaders through history. There are quite a few who stand out as having what I think are similar ways of being in the world to those of us on the spectrum: Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Temple Grandin, Steve Jobs, Jacob Barnett, Galileo, – and interestingly, many of my family members (which was the initial reason that I started searching for what made my family so different). Because my son was diagnosed with ADD and also fits somewhere on the spectrum, I started getting involved in issues around Education and learning differences/”disabilities”. What I am fascinated by, is that when I sit in on some of the various support groups, which brings together the parents and children with LD’s, it becomes obvious that there is often an intelligence and creativity that is being squished by the current models of education and the way in which society is set up in the Western World. Christine Barnett, wrote in her book “Spark, A Mother’s Tale of Nurturing Genius”, that the system focusses on what these kids can’t do, it doesn’t typically nurture them in their strengths. She found that when she did build on their strengths and passions, not only did they relatively easily overcome or manage their difficulties better, but they often shone with creativity or “genius”.

      5. I am so happy that I found this site! I can totally relate to what you and everyone else here has to say.
        Most of the time I feel cursed by how I am and my deficits, but actually those deficits are made up by all of the other abilities I have that are unique to being an aspie, its just that other people don’t see and recognize this. I know that I am a good person with a lot to share with society, and I believe that all aspies are very special people who should love themselves, but being a black & white thinker, for me personally, has become a love-hate kind of thing. I wish I was “normal”, but glad that I’m not.
        Thanks for writing this, please keep on!
        Here is one place that I truly feel ” normal”!

      6. I feel much like you do. This feels like a safe place where I can feel safe and “normal.” While I’ve been able to share my situation with my husband, my sister and one very close friend, I realize that that’s the extent of it. Sharing it beyond that small group is impossible. The risk is too great. Because all of those wonderful people in my life aren’t Aspiens, they can never truly know what I experience, even though they are enormously supportive. But the women here can, and I am so grateful for that. We need to tell our stories.

      7. Yes I can relate what you say is spot on, unfortunately I’m out of work and don’t have this pressure on me, however I’m currently trying to resolve another serious family health issue and I’m like a dog with a bone but the good thing about it is the buzz I get from solving these issues like you I’m a humble person but I still think there are times when I’m wiser than some, without blowing my own trumpet. You just keep telling yourself you are unique and there is not another person like you.

      8. Beautifully put. Have spent my life learning to explain what I can see to other people. It brings relief to realise you’re not the first, or the only one to see what you can. Its not arrogance, or grandiosity, just fact. However, it’s so easy fall into self-loathing and doubt, particularly if you have been bullied, or surrounded by people who have been jealous and played the ‘who do you think you are?’ card. Agree that we can only ever ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’, everything I know, or have ever done is an assimilation of what came before.

        In reading the article and comments, the feeling of relief at hearing of others who are having the same experience is tangible. Nice to know I’m not wandering alone in the wilderness 🙂

      9. I absolutely identify. It sometimes feels like my exclusive role to synthesize all my personal, relevant working information and understanding of an issue/process into a succinct methodology or thesis. I am incredibly good at making very simple things complicated and also the reverse. I also struggle to write this, convinced as I am, that I am liable to be either misunderstood or ignored – (or both!) as is usual

      10. This is from forever ago, but I understand you completely. Everything you said rings true with me, I could just never understand it. Thank you for posting.

    2. I am 70 years old. My first son was recognised as autistic when he was a toddler, and had himself diagnosed with Aspergers in adulthood as he is high-functioning and lives on his own, but needed the support. He is now 46. I have often wondered if I am also an ‘Aspie’, and went through the list just now going ‘Yes, yes, yes …” to almost every trait. My own differentness has ended up with me as a research astrologer and writer. As an astrologer you quickly realise that any label is only that, a label, and doesn’t explain a set of characteristics or behaviours at all – merely identifies them. I have been studying the natal charts of autistic people for years, and what you see over and over again is the differentness, the need for peace and quiet, the hyper-sensitivity, often great spirituality – priorities and tastes that don’t coincide with the social norm. I am most interested to see the comment suggesting that as a group we may have much in common with the prophets because we see the bigger picture. I think there’s a lot in that. I went to an elderly psychic shortly after I had my second (‘normal’?) son, and she actually said – never having met or known about me before, and not even knowing I was married – that I had one child that was literally from another planet. I already knew he was unusual (he saw things, and, I believe on one occasion at age 2+, channelled) but was otherwise ignorant of what that meant. She got me right, and she got him right. And she got my future right. An amazing lady. Her name was Nan Whittle and she worked at the SAGB (Spiritualist Association of Great Britain.) If anyone reading this is interested in sending me their date, time and place of birth I would be most grateful, as it will help my own research into the depths and subtleties of our kind of people. You can find me on Facebook as RevPamCrane. Thank you, Tania, for your inspiring and helpful page.

      1. Hi Pam, I tried to find you on facebook but you didnt come up. I would like to give you my dob etc if you are interested? Reading through the traits of Asbergers I feel I also have it…

      2. wow Pam, what you just wrote sent spine tingles through me.
        Its only been in the last few weeks that Ive even began to investigate Aspergers, and its almost like the holy grail that has answered everything that was going on in my quite lonely often strange world growing up. I just always assumed everyone else thought like I did…I now see clearly that is not the case…lol You NEVER forget the names you were called or the horrible, unwarranted and highly misinformed comments teachers made.
        Anyway, I feel quite happy today, but at the same time overwhelmingly angry. To be expected I guess.
        What interested me the most though about your comments Pam, was your link to Astrology. I was actually having that in depth conversation with myself just yesterday (lol…sure others here will relate to that). Here’s the thing, I was always drawn to Astrology, but at the same time knew that it was dangerous to read those daily horoscopes. Im Sagittarius, and you of all people will recognise that Sagittarius almost perfectly describes what many Aspergers are like… floaty, expansive, determined, single minded, funny, sometimes blunt, arrogant, foot in mouth… get what Im saying. (I was NEVER the life of any party, unless I was drinking, just to cope) In my case, my thinking that I was simply a rather typical Sagg has in a way delayed me being “diagnosed”. I’ve never been diagnosed with anything, and yet, here I am laugh crying with relief.
        I detest labels and ticking boxes in most cases, and refuse to do it, however, for once in my life I feel strangely relieved that I have figure out my “disorder”… I never felt disordered, I just wondered why everyone else was so uptight and pedantic…lol

  6. To prepare you, I would like to inform you that I have posted a link to this article on another blogging site. I am a 27 year old woman with Asperger’s, and this was a very insightful read. I shared it on the website “Tumblr”, so that other women with autism may read this. There is a very large population of autistic Tumblr users, so you may begin to receive messages on here, depending on how many people see and share the link to your article. I hope the awareness helps. You can message me for any further discussion at rainiebrit.tumblr.com, by clicking on the ‘ask’ button. Other users that find this article may also volunteer their assistance. I hope any and all help can be had.

  7. If only there was a prize for getting the most ticks!!!! There would obviously be strong competition for such a prize – but you appear to have us ‘big girls’ nailed. Well done and now after all your good work – what’s your prize????

    1. Hello Cheyne, thank-you for your message and your kind words. I think at some point I will be awarded with another degree (my third). Each and every person I see in my clinic teaches me something and I love my work.

  8. great blog, very professional. my mother said if my head wasnt attached to my shoulders, i’d lose it too, but i remember clearly things from my early childhood.
    I hate small talk and get bored, anxious, and depressed if being around people for too long. i’m emotionally exhausted.
    animals and nautre are the only things in this world that can comfort me. as a child, i was fascinated by moving treetops, rain, dogs, and cats. i’d be euphoric in their presence, but didnt have one single friend and used to pace back and forth and flap my fingers in breaktime in school, instead of playing with the other girls.
    i get deprssed, anxious, and angry at the drop of a hat.
    my low pain threshold is an embarrassment and an obstacle, but taking self defense classes and falling from a bicycle and down the stairs, i’m half numb to punches and being banged on the head. although i grind my teeth, grimace, and rub my shoes back and forth on the floor during a blood test.

  9. This article hits home, hard. I feel as if you walked clear past my skin, jumping straight into my mind and continuing right on through my past. Incredible information, presented very well. I have been telling friends that I think I’m autistic and I wasn’t joking. Your articles on Aspergerwomen have given me information that I have never read before. TY

  10. Man, i need to find me an Asperwoman… I’m an Asperdude (23 years old) and no freakin’ wonder i have such high standards when it comes to an actual relationship. A lot of the stuff mentioned in this article, actually describes things i do or feel strongly about. Weird lol

    1. Hi Chase, thank-you for your message. You are one of a few comments I have received from “Asperdudes” who identify with this. There are sub-types of aspies. Generally speaking, relationship that involve Aspie and Aspie work quite well because they are similar and/or have similar interests, and usually have similar social preferences. Good luck:-)

    2. Hi Aspiedude…lol…My daughter is 23 and has never had a strong healthy “relationship” because she is usually unaware that a guy is interested even though most guys can’t resist her. She has beauty and strength on her side but the average dude is not qualified for her. Her welding instructor had to tell every guy in the shop to keep there eyes and hands off her or they got kicked out of the class. When she does like a dude, she doesn’t show it like most girls with flirting. She gets buddy buddy with them and they don’t get it and think there is no interest. Its an interesting road. But good luck and keep your standards high anyway, a great girl is worth the wait.

  11. I enjoyed your article. I am wondering though if it is strange given what you wrote that I am an Autistic woman who has an obsession with horror films? Most of the other things you wrote do apply to me.

    1. Hello Cal, thank you for your message. What I have learned through my clinical practice is that one person with Autism is one person with Autism. I have found that there are both many similarities and also differences. I have met some individuals who love horror, and many others, as I mentioned, who are unable to view them. Obsessions are also highly variable and no, it is not strange at all. Thank you for your question. All the best.

  12. Thank you thank you, wow now I feel i’m getting somewhere. the information is spot on and now i don’t feel like i’m some freak. related to so much of it that it was like ready me. Thanks heaps for helping me find me.

    1. Hello monique and thank you for your message. One of the reasons I set up my blog was to provide education and awareness about females and asperger syndrome/autism. I have been overwhelmed both in my clinical work, my blog, facebook and email by inquiries, assessment, diagnosis and support. Many of the people I talk to, both young and old discuss feeling like a ‘freak’, ‘geek’, ‘weird’, ‘strange’, ‘screwed up’, ‘messed up’, ‘different’, ‘eccentric’, ‘odd’ and more. You and all the others are intelligent unique ‘out of the box’ thinkers. Many Aspies make amazing contributions to the world because of their unique characteristics, gifts and talents. I am only too pleased to help you find yourself:-) All the best!

      1. None of this is SCIENTIFICALLY VALID. Psychology is not a science. Pop-psychology ought never to be used as a diagnosis. Asperger’s has become a fad, just like other New-Age self help nonsense.

      2. Hi Gina Rex: Could you further explain your viewpoint please?

        While I can understand your point of view – many people are searching for a reason as to why they feel very, very “off”. And perhaps run into a million things in their life time where they think something sounds like them – and they only reason they come across it is because it’s a fad. However, I don’t think people who are honestly searching for a reason that they are the way they are take each new label and apply it to themselves. Probably many of us have come across a pshycological diagnosis and realized it doesn’t fit.

        A disorder comes form having a set of traits that inhibit a persons ability to lead a fulfilling life. I think many people, women in particular who have a true Aspergers diagnosis suffer because they cannot successfully have relationships, they feel alone. They cannot communicate their needs or wants, or even know if those needs and wants are valid and need someone else to tell them that it’s okay to want or need those things.

        Anyway, I would just like you to, maybe, explain yourself and view point a little more. I’m interested in what you have to say.

      3. I am a mother that of a son that is now being tested for aspbergers and I have always Identified with him when now o e else understands. I would like to get a formal diagnosis for myself but don’t know where to go to get this. I can’t find anywhere in my area. I’m near the Kansas city area of kansas

  13. Tania, I shared this post on my blog and I look forward to your post about traits of teen girls with AS. 🙂

  14. Hi Tanya,

    Congratulations on some excellent work and publications in this field. I was wondering if you or anyone you know could help to assess a client of mine who I believe has Aspergers but is undiagnosed. She is facing a lot of discrimination and I think I could help her if I can put a finger on why she is so singled out or disenfranchised from her peer community.

    She is in a lot of trouble. I took on her matter pro bono because I think the system is completely letting her down and she needs a helping hand.

    Please advise. I look forward to hearing from you.

    B H

  15. Hello!
    As someone who’s in the process of (most likely) being diagnosed with AS, am pretty much already self-diagnosed, there’s one thing that sticks out as strange to me. While I certainly do have special interests and obsessions, very strong ones at that, I hardly ever talk about them to anyone. I might discuss it with a friend whom I know share the interest, but most of my family and friends don’t even know what I like.
    I don’t like it when people who don’t “get” my interests starts talking negatively about them, and I also just assume that they’re not interested, so I don’t talk to them about it. In fact I find my obsessions quite embarrassing and almost try to hide them.
    Is that a common Aspie behavior or am I unusual?

    1. I do this, and I’m pretty sure I’m an Aspie. I love to read and write. I love 80’s fantasy movies and young adult fantasy series. I don’t talk about my loves with anyone. I think it’s mostly because of where I live, though. People here don’t seem to value intellectual pursuits or conversation. So, because I try to adapt and I don’t want to draw additional attention to myself, I hide my interests and stick to the small talk. With my close friends,though, I can sometimes talk about my interests b/c I know that even if they don’t share them, they accept them and appreciate my perspective.

  16. My God, you’ve just described me in this post. I had no idea my troubles dealing with people and my own emotions, the short-term interest in activities and even the desability to manage emotions when hungry, etc etc, could be something like this! I’ve indentified myself mainly in social relationship and communication (I often change words and say incomprehensive phrases when I want to say something to people that know the subject better than me or when I want to share a point of view with someone that I know that have arguments to make about what I’ve said and it’s very embarassing). I find it very difficult to deal with my interests because they are very intense at the beginning and then they suddenly losts its brightness. At school my teachers said I was very inteligent but I could not paid attention to what I was doing. This was the reason I learned very fast and correctly but was never brilliant when tested. I simply could not review what I’ve done. However, I graduated at pharmacy university at normal time (and after a couple years I changed totally my career to be a photographer). Psycotherapy helped me so much last year when I was depressed, but after reading this I realized that there are much more work to do in this area than I though.
    Thank you very much for posting this enlightening text and sorry for the English mistakes (I’m Brazilian). Best wishes, Tatiane

  17. This is me have often wondered about it as got a 19 year old son and a 13 year old daughter on the asd spectrum amongst other things. Thankyou for sharing this.

  18. As I’ve seen from other comments. I have a 12 yr. old boy who is autistic and started seeing much of myself in him. I have taken the AQ test hundreds of times (i come up aspie everytime) and have done lots of research on women and asd. This is the first time I’ve seen a list for women specifically. I went down this list and all I kept saying was “this is me, this is me, OH yes, that’s me. yup. me me me” I have been misdiagnosed adhd, bipolar, and borderline personality. I’ve been on so many meds that never worked except for the klonopin i used to take for anxiety. Oh i could go on and on. I’m looking to get an ‘official’ diagnosis but I know now, why I feel like such an alien all the time. Thank you so much for this. And I’m so happy i’m not alone.

    1. Wrote about my daughter earlier who is 32yr old undiagnosed, but I’ve been diagnosed a yr ago with Cyclothymia/borderline Bipolar maybe we are both Apies n the docs have it wrong. My 5 yr old Grandson was diagnosed Autistic a couple of yrs ago a just wish my daughter could get the support she needs. I will speak to my therapist on my next visit only prob is I dnt think they Nhs mental health profession really care as much x

    2. Yes there is no effective treatment in medication for Autism nor Aspies the only effective treatment is hands on skills and a good therapist Anti anxiety meds are the only effective treatment in very severe situations that cause lack of sleep especially in
      panic attacks the good news the older you get the less intense the anxiety attacks become hence need for meds.

      1. please consider the emerging awareness of the underrated power of food-as-medicine. Dr. Michael Greger, author and lecturer in this area of self-health care, has put together many educational videos outlining the many mainstream and fringe studies which are increasingly coming to light as a real alternative to harmful, ineffective, and expensive pharmaceuticals for depression and anxiety. His series on foods which turn around as well as prevent depressiona and anxiety are a good starting point for how and why we need to turn to everyday self-health care methods before we introduce the big guns – questionable pharmaceuticals which often do not work, cause structural damage to the very systems screaming for nourishment, protection, and altering in the first place. go to nutritionfacts.org and use their search function to get your self-education started.

      2. I have to agree with the power of food. With Serotonin receptors in the gut allowing a symbiotic relationship with the brain, how can food not have an effect. I have found that since using a low FODMAP diet my energy levels and mood have improved dramatically. There has also been a calming of my Aspieness too.

  19. Dear Tania, welcome from Hungary (little country in Middle-Europe). Thank you for your comprehensive work with this blog, it is very helpful for me (too)!
    Here we have almost nobody who deals with aspie-adults. My story was „general”: misdiagnosed with bpd, mistreated with drugs etc., finally found myself the truth. I’m 32 yo and I get my right diagnosis last year – and i feel first in my life that i exist and i’m not an alien. 🙂
    So, thank you once again!

    1. Hello ZodiacRaven, thank-you for reaching out from Hungary! You are welcome and I will be updating my female characteristic profiles/descriptions regularly. Unfortunately, it is common all over the globe to have difficulty finding services for Aspie adults, so you are not alone. Many adults live their whole lives without having a logical explanation for their feelings of being an “alien”. Congratulations on your diagnosis and I wish you all the best!

  20. My clinical diagnoses was just 2 weeks ago, but all my life I’ve “known”. I identified so strongly with the Hungarian womans statement about finally feeling like a “Self” .. knowing I was not like “other people” made me believe I must not be a “people”. A wonderful self discovery is beginning. I have a self ! I really Feel new, almost whole, and Happy 🙂 I am 61 yrs. old & so Amazed to have found the answer to my lifelong question “What am I missing, here?” Thanks for working on this issue, many need this info.

      1. Dear Tania

        Thank you so much for the work you are doing on diagnosis criteria for women.
        I’m 66 years old and having trouble putting into words what I’d like to say as I feel, wrongly of course, like this is a ‘last resort’ thing. I’m sure I can post again if I get it wrong.

        Just over a month ago I accidentally came across http://www.apergertestsite.com and did the test. I have no idea how I got to the site as I didn’t consider I would have Aspergers. Anyway it seemed to confirm that I was likely to be an Aspie. After a lot of reading I was becoming convinced. BUT on reading your work in progress ‘Asperwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome’ I learnt so many things about myself. It was liked you had looked into my mind! Amazing. I am so grateful and have many questions which I will post soon. The term Asperwoman is great! Did you coin it!

        Congratulations on your work. 🙂

    1. I am also a 61 year old woman strongly suspecting that I have this now abadoned (replaced by PDD) diagnosis. I am exhusted by a life of meeting nearly all of the criteria on this list above and being a socially isolated alien. I am questioning the value of this finally knowing why I am missing “it”. I have a higher than average intellegence but have had limiited success due to social inadequacy. Is it ever too late to gain social skills to make the unique perceptions that accompany this syndrome?

      1. Hi Liz and thank-you for your message, I am often asked this question and I believe it is never to late to learn about Asperger Syndrome, to learn social skills or any other improvements. I have assessed women in their 60’s who all told me they experienced a huge sense of relief to “finally have answers” as to why they have always felt “different” and to answer a variety of questions they have had about themselves. I do not believe it’s ever too late to improve oneself or learn.

  21. hi i hope people read this im a woman with autism an ld so there ;lots that are diff some things same but when you put me with my aspie friends you can see the big diff im hfa now but wasnt when younger .so struggle with meny thing still have meltdowns at times an stuff

  22. thank you for your article. this is my cry for HELP.my daughter 42 years old is an aspperwoman; she desperatly needs professional help but can’t have it do to lack of money.
    what can i do? please help.

    1. Hello Elisa, I am sorry to hear about your situation. Have you tried your local Autism society or centre? As I dont know which country you are from, it is hard for me to óffer you suggestions. Unfortunately, services worldwide are lacking for adults. Would it be helpful for your daughter to read books on Aspergers in females, join healthy Autism support groups on-line?

  23. Your write-up features confirmed useful to me personally.

    It’s very helpful and you are certainly really well-informed
    in this region. You have got opened up my own sight
    for you to different opinion of this kind of topic along with intriguing and
    reliable written content.

  24. Thanks for such an informative and detailed list! This is by far the best one I have read so far. I was in denial for a while but as my head keeps nodding I can no longer stay silent.. I am an aspie woman.. hear me roar!!Do you know muc about birth complications and early trauma associated with aspergers? Wondering if it has been a common thread that comes up in your work? Many thanks 🙂

    1. Just discovered this article now so sorry if this is a late reply – I scored a 33 on the AQ test, identify with almost everything in this article(down to having an interest in Buddhism), and I was a 24 week preemie (born in ’67), had subcranial hemorrhage and hydrocephalus treated with a shunt. An aspie friend of mine(male) also had birth difficulties. I wonder too if there is any correlation between birth complications and ASD.

  25. Thanks a lot for this work. I’m french and don’t have yet my ‘official diagnosis’ but I have some appointments in June for it. I regularly see a neuropsychologist specialized in autism who help me a lot. In France, we are very late regarding autism… And it is very difficult to be diagnosed, specially when your a middle aged, gifted woman… I saw that the duplication of this article is forbidden but I wanted to ask you if you allow me to take it because I would like to translate it in French during the summer. Of course, I will give your references (name, your studies and your specialization) in the translation (I think it is very important and give more value to the article).
    Best regards

    1. Hello Adeline, thank you for your message and I am so pleased that this blog is do helpful to you. Yes, please print this off and take it with you and thank you so much for asking. I wish you all the best with your assessment and diagnosis.

      1. Hello Tania. Many thanks for your agreement and your emboldening 🙂

  26. Being older and never formally diagnosed, having felt like an alien for my majority of my life, when I read an article last year written by an Aspie, I cried like a baby because it was the first time that I read something the reflected most accurately what it has been like to be me. Your list Tania, further validates the reality I have lived with for my entire life. Thank you!!

  27. Explains a lot. Thank you for writing this. I see myself in almost every bit of this. Almost 37 yrs old and just now finding out what I have been dealing with and trying to hid from the rest of the world. At least now I am armed and ready to go and get an official diagnosis. I did go through the Autism Speaks website with a few online evaluations and discovered that I am high in the Asperger’s range bordering on full Autism. They recommended that I find a specialist to discuss my rating and have further testing.

  28. Thank you so much for this list and the way it is categorized. Many of these things (tic coughing, weeping, misplaced trust, social exhaustion, dislike of lies and chit-chat, rocking oneself, vocal modulation, short-term versus long-term memory issues) are part of my life experience. It’s comforting to know there are others out there who get what it is like. Were that I’d had this information 20-30 years ago.

  29. WOW! I found this article while researching because my niece has been diagnosed with Asperger’s and it is like reading a list of the things that make me not fit in with the world! Thank you so much! I feel a little less alienated, although I have no idea where to go from here.

  30. Going through this list makes me feel not alone. All my life I felt I was born without a personality like everyone else, and would ‘borrow’ the bits of other peoples personalities that were useful to me. I am 46 years old and have finally stopped denying myself the right to be me. I have always tried to be what is expected by others. In the last few months I have finally admitted to myself things like, I really hate parties, I love star trek, and quite frankly I would rather watch the grass grow than watch a reality tv show with the rest of the family!

  31. I thought this was a very informative article, I am very young for the moment and have only stumbled across this as I joined my second college however for years they tried to understand why I was different as I was very much in my own world a lot of the time. However I do try to fit in as that is a part of being a member of a working society but I always end up loud and eccentric I guess, Is there any need to minimize this? Also awesome piece.

  32. Now I know why I always made friends with the other kids who didn’t fit in either. I’m very empathetic and became a teacher. It is hard for me working with my colleagues though. They aren’t very understanding. I hope that as aspie-women become more recognized, we will be more accepted. I am so socially awkward, and that’s how I have been labeling myself. I’m scared to label myself as aspie because of how it will be interpreted. Fear of being unaccepted…another trait?

  33. Wow, I feel like I fit almost every single one of these characteristics… is this why I’ve always felt so alone in the world? What do I do now? This is crazy how much this describes me… I’m not sure whether to feel relieved or sad.

  34. Dear taniaannmarshall,

    I am going to link your post to my website.

    Thank you for the break down. I hope it elicits a little more awareness for the female presentation. .

  35. Hi,
    I know you said duplication is forbidden, but could I copy your helpful list into a google doc and annotate it to send to my therapist? Strictly for personal use!

  36. Thanks for a really informative list of traits / characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome in women. I have not been diagnosed, and I don’t know if I would be diagnosed, but many of the traits describe how I work, see things and react emotionally. Definitely intense interests, good long term memory, perfectionism, emotionally aware and vulnerable to other’s emotions, feeling different to others applies to me. When I was younger (in primary and high school) I certainly felt different to others and I wanted to be like more “popular” people and I strived for that, but could never get there. I had my special interests and friends that were like minded so that helped. When I got to university I felt less pressured to be like others and I felt more comfortable with the feeling of being different. During postgraduate studies, I started to find myself – I embraced alternative music, lifestyles and fashions and I felt like I belonged, especially amongst a loosely collected group of people who celebrated their difference to the mainstream and made the point that they were different to others. I became alot more extroverted and socialised more. It was like I went through the stereotypical teenage years in my early twenties. During doctoral studies I travelled overseas. Being in a foreign city without family, friends and people who knew me, was a watershed experience, I shed something then. Back in my home country, over the next few years I went through great emotional turmoil, but I realised and discovered my same sex attraction (which had started with my fascination with an actress in a TV cop show in that foreign city). I eventually came out and I feel now, a few years later and a six year relationship, that I know who I am, and why I am different, but also I feel I can relate to a lot more people. While coming out (and going through depression / anxiety and chronic fatigue), a counsellor mentioned Asperger’s Syndrome to me. She said that many of the things I described fitted the traits / symptoms of this syndrome. Perhaps I was going through a transition stage where I was “overcoming” these Asperger’s traits and my personality and the way I saw things was changing. Thank you for a great article, and inspiring my to write about my experience.

    1. Dear sapphicscientist, thank you for sharing your amazing story with us here on my blog. Your story is not unlike many of the adult women I see in my clinic. Stories like yours are so beneficial for us all to read. I learn something from every client I meet and every story I hear or read. Thank you and I am pleased you have found this helpful:-) ~ Tania

      1. Thanks Tania. I am a big believer in telling your story so others may benefit or at least have something to refer to. Great idea and avenue for people to share their stories and increase their understanding of these traits and the syndrome itself.

  37. Reblogged this on Lipstick On My Lab Coat and commented:
    An informative list of traits associated with Asperger’s Syndrome in women. Below, are my comments (an personal experience) I posted.

    Thanks for a really informative list of traits / characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome in women. I have not been diagnosed, and I don’t know if I would be diagnosed, but many of the traits describe how I work, see things and react emotionally. Definitely intense interests, good long term memory, perfectionism, emotionally aware and vulnerable to other’s emotions, feeling different to others applies to me. When I was younger (in primary and high school) I certainly felt different to others and I wanted to be like more “popular” people and I strived for that, but could never get there. I had my special interests and friends that were like minded so that helped. When I got to university I felt less pressured to be like others and I felt more comfortable with the feeling of being different. During postgraduate studies, I started to find myself – I embraced alternative music, lifestyles and fashions and I felt like I belonged, especially amongst a loosely collected group of people who celebrated their difference to the mainstream and made the point that they were different to others. I became alot more extroverted and socialised more. It was like I went through the stereotypical teenage years in my early twenties. During doctoral studies I travelled overseas. Being in a foreign city without family, friends and people who knew me, was a watershed experience, I shed something then. Back in my home country, over the next few years I went through great emotional turmoil, but I realised and discovered my same sex attraction (which had started with my fascination with an actress in a TV cop show in that foreign city). I eventually came out and I feel now, a few years later and a six year relationship, that I know who I am, and why I am different, but also I feel I can relate to a lot more people. While coming out (and going through depression / anxiety and chronic fatigue), a counsellor mentioned Asperger’s Syndrome to me. She said that many of the things I described fitted the traits / symptoms of this syndrome. Perhaps I was going through a transition stage where I was “overcoming” these Asperger’s traits and my personality and the way I saw things was changing. Thank you for a great article, and inspiring my to write about my experience.

  38. Hi Tania
    I have many similarities with most of the comments above and am very grateful for all the work you are doing with females with Aspergers and especially making this list of traits available. So huge Thank You.
    I am a married 45 yo mother of 2 young teenagers, who like most of those above felt a huge relief when finally there was a reason why I was different. This feeling soon changed when I realised that significant others would prefer me not to be labeled as such. Honestly I feel like I have been kicked in the stomach. So some feelings to work through at the moment.
    Since I have gone through all the traits listed, with ticks and crosses, and then calculated the percentage (aspie trait perhaps!) can I ask you if there would be a percentage figure that you would consider to count one in or out?

  39. After reading this article (and many, many others), I have two questions for you about the utility and possibility of diagnosis.

    I’m a 26 year old woman Ph.D. student (computer field), and I have a lot, a lot of Aspie traits. My uncle on my mother’s side and my brother are both Aspie. My mother says she is absolutely not, but she has a lot of Aspie traits also. My boyfriend is convinced I’m Aspie. My mother is convinced I’m not.

    I’ve obviously thought about it, because I’ve read this and other sites, and manipulated more self-diagnoses than I want to think about (it’s hard bordering on impossible to take them without manipulating them, when you already know all the questions and what all the answers mean). On the one hand, I fit certain criteria: I’m prosopagnostic, I hyper-focus (can’t work any other way), I have problems with verbal instructions, I have real problems at work with starting tasks and planning them, I get overwhelmed by taking classes (I had more incompletes in college than I like to admit to — though I always came back later and completed them), I always miss the joke, especially the silly kind, I know that gullible isn’t written on any ceilings because I always look, I have been accused of being too serious and too literal and too intense, I spend hours sitting alone on my bed so that people will ignore me, my mother thought I was OCD when I was growing up, and I could go on like this forever. If I addressed everything on your list I identify with… it would be half your list.

    On the other hand: I’m well-liked by my friends and even my peers (despite a persistent perception that I’m arrogant and don’t listen well to others — it is NOT TRUE), I’m perceived as being very good at social responses like what to say when someone dies or how to decline an invitation or how to apologize (my mother drilled these formulas into my head when I was little, how could I not be?), I’m eerily good at figuring out what people are thinking/feeling/going to do next, despite some academic struggles I have gotten this far (I’m finishing my 3rd year in a Ph.D. program at a very good school), I don’t stim, I talked at 6 months old (simple sentences by 12 months), and my physical control is fine enough that I would have gone to conservatory for classical ballet if I hadn’t busted my hip. So: a lot of people look at that, and the response is, that isn’t very Aspie at all.

    I don’t worry about it much, except sometimes when either (i) something happens, and I think — this would be easier if I could blame it on a diagnosis, or (ii) everybody else knows what’s going on and I feel like I’m a completely bizarre anomaly from another planet and I need validation. (ii) is self-explanatory. And example of (i) would be when recently I was presenting research with a friend, and I said something insensitive (to this day, and despite resolving with my friend, I do NOT KNOW WHAT) that made her leave the presentation crying. (Incidentally, we later bonded over how much the audience’s response pissed us off. People kept telling her “it’s okay to be sensitive,” while they told me, “to try not to be so arrogant” or “I was a bully once, too.”)

    So my questions are: (1) Would I be likely or unlikely to qualify for diagnosis? (2) What would diagnosis get me? Would it help me in situations like those above? Would it help me in other situations that I haven’t considered?

    Incidentally, I made a counseling appointment with student services once to discuss this with a knowledgeable professional, but rather than answer my clear and straightforward questions, he just kept asking me how I felt. I was looking for knowledge, not feeling-sharing, but he didn’t seem to understand that.

    Thanks very much for this article.

    1. Hi Winnifred, your post is one of many that I receive on a regular basis nad I would like to address this in a blog post as the first of my FAQ’s Series. Would this be ok with you? Kind Regards, Tania

  40. Thank you for this! Recently my niece’s teacher advised my sister to have her tested for asperger’s. We have always wondered as she is quite unique in her way of relating to the world. As I began actual research I was floored when I saw that I, myself, exhibited most symptoms from childhood through adulthood. Thank you for sharing this! I will surely be seeking out a diagnoses in the near future. I feel like a veil has been lifted from my eyes. It’s relieving but overwhelming.

  41. So, I am 30 and just started grad school after having attended 5 colleges, working, peace corps, etc. I recently went in to get tested for ADD and came out with a positive diagnosis for it and a possible diagnosis for Asbergers. They just needed to ask more questions. Needless to say i am shocked. As I am waiting for the results I have been doing my own research and there seems to be uncanny resemblances in me and these symptoms, but seem to have no sensory issues. I did say yes to 127 of these charicteristics. Some of my quirks that resemble what ive read are mimicking social situations in fear of saying the wrong thing by being yourslf, having no clue why I have offended someone, and taking things way too literally. I’m wondering now what will be wrong with me if I don’t have it!

  42. Very interesting and relieving to read. I was diagnosed a few years back as Aspie and now I am almost 45 and still haven’t had a relationship, therefore no kids. Then again I would much prefer to watch Voyager than Bananas in Pyjamas anyway. I always say I’m not an expert I just live with it so to have other real life experts finally able to communicate is such a relief. I have spent most days since the diagnosis reading the experts opinions and interpretations and found myself being left frustrated. How can they really know – they can only hypothesise and do studies and experiments. I can’t wait to read and hear from more of us thanks in advance!

    1. Thank you for your message. I do understand you reticence about “experts”, and I have seen many Autism experts “criticised” unfairly. What I can say to you is that i have witnessed some “experts” whom I know are on the Spectrum (but choose to keep this private, for their own reasons) be harassed and bullied by those on the
      Spectrum “assuming” they are NT’s.

    2. I am aware of many bright professionals who work with individuals with differences, for the reason that they themselves were that child with differences. It amazes me the “assumptions” made regarding professionals. Having said that, I now need to state that no, I am not saying I am aspie or nt, that is my own private business:-) I do get asked that on a tegular basis. My comments are an effort to stand by my amazing and awesome colleagues who have invested huge amounts of time, money, energy and education to support, advocate, and provide services:-) I admire my colleagues and have the utmost respect for them. Thank you for your message and I wish you all the best:-)

      1. Yes I appreciate you clarifying things for me. I meant no disrespect and have to add this point to my list. Once I rang an autistic help line for an accurate interpretation of a situation and they didn’t know what to say this confused me and has led to my synical opinion of them. Now I have found this site I will learn new things and contribute more appropriately thank you again

  43. My 18 year old daughter just graduated with honors and needless to say I am so proud of her and also so happy the high school years are behind us.
    High School was a living hell for her. I would say 99% of the traits listed describe her as if the research had occurred in my home.
    I had assumed that her differences were due to the fact that she was intellectually more advanced and that other children could not identify with her. On the other hand I could see a social and emotional disconnect that I could not account for.
    In the family she is know as “The Vulcan” due to her ability to compartmentalize her world, and her need to disengage from earthlings.
    I have always provided her with a safe place and let her be her. Now she is an adult and will be going out into a world I fear she is unprepared to face. While I have considered that she may be and Aspie I have not broached the subject with her. Now I am not sure how. Part of me thinks that she will view it with the same analytic spirit with which she views her world. I do not want her to feel that I see her as damaged or defective.
    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to approach this?

    1. Hi!
      That seems like a tough decision to make. It seems to me that the most respectful approach would be to let her make the decision to seek help on her own. I imagine that if high school was “hell” then there would be psychological consequences to that, and perhaps taking her to see a councilor or even a family practitioner to address finding ways to heal from that experience would be a good starting off point. It seems to me that a lot of people with this condition will develop secondary conditions in the attempt cope with the first one. It souds like she will have difficulties at some point, and it is probably better to start getting the support you will need as soon as you can! Just my two cents. Good luck!

  44. Hi,

    I am an Aspie and I do have Irlen syndrome. I am also something of an intellectual which is inconsistent with the lack of ability to read much. It has gotten worse as I grow older. I really don’t know what to do about it.

    It is very difficult for me to fit in anywhere and it is easy for me to be alone. When I was a child I hated family outings and visits so, I often refused to go. I stayed in the solitude of my room.

    Noise drives me crazy. It actually hurts. My body hurts all the time. And, I am a compulsive decorator. Everything has to be in its place and my house has to be totally clean and orderly.

    This is just a little bit of what it is like to be me. My wish is for things to be easier especially with people. I have few social skills although people think I am great but, they don’t want to be close to me which leaves me alone with all this. I suspect that I am doing something to turn other people off but I don’t know what it is that I do..

    I appreciate your website. Thank you for the information.

  45. I have one more question: there is already a tendency to view things like introversion and shyness as pathologies. I have encountered this negative attitude head on. And I have to wonder whether, labels implying a disorder shouldn’t in fact be discouraged as much as possible.
    For example, one of the biggest problems that people faced with mental illness have in Western countries is social exclusion. Whereas, I have read that in some third world societies, where people with a mental illness would be viewed more as ‘special’ or as being somehow in touch with spirits – that the mentally I’ll in these societies tend to live longer and happier lives, with less severity in symptoms.
    But I can just sense this. And, I cannot help associating Asperger’s with a disorder. The term does not feel neutral enough. Logically it’s fine but not emotionally.

    I think Female Aspergers is quite similar to Highly Sensitive Person. Only, I think I prefer to associate mostly with the latter. Since I know I have definite weaknesses and definite mismatches with the majority and also how culture tends to be (e.g., open plan offices); but I prefer a term that has a positive and negative feel to it. And at this stage I associate ‘Asperger’s’ as being a label that largely means ‘inadequate (for the world)’.

    1. Hello Elise and thank-you for your message. I view Aspergers as an “explanation”, not a “label”. I believe that early diagnosis is imperative. I have seen far too many adults in my clinic who would have immensely benefited from a dignosis, iontervention and support, when they were children. The term Aspergers provides and explanation, self-understanding, education and knowledge. I agree with you that there are similarities between female Aspergers and Dr. Elaine Aron’s work on Highly Sensitive Persons. However, there are also differences, in terms of Theory of Mind, Perspective Taking, Cognitive Profile, and so on. Individuals with Aspergers have many gifts and talents, along with some weaknesses, like most people. Take care:-)

  46. Thanks for this list I ticked off 101 of them. After years of feeling odd and out of place I now feel relieved to know I can put a name to why I am the way I am. I am 30 now and didn’t start to feel I was different until my 20’s when I felt completely out of touch with my friends despite knowing them since school. My partner has joked for ages that I am on the spectrum (he has a brother who is autistic). What made me realise I may have a problem was looking up on google the fact that I feel like a child in other people’s eyes despite having a job, mortgage, child, etc. I came across a thread of people with Aspergers discussing the same issue. I then looked up symptoms in women and came across this article. I will definitely look at getting a proper diagnosis as I think being able to tell people ‘this is what I am’ will help me to cope in social situations.

  47. Omg, years ive been trying to help figure myself out..reading all of this apart from 3things i have to look up..i just read up about my exact self..thankyou now i have a stepping stone for maybe a me in this life..thankyou

  48. Your list was the start of a process of self-discovery for me that has lead to a great amount of validation of why I’ve gone through life the way I have. My social difficulties, the constant feeling of being overwhelmed by too much light, noise, too many people, too much conversation. My clumsiness, lack of eye contact, repetitive behaviors. I grew up with a brother with Autism, and, so far as I know, my only first cousin is also Autistic.

    I want to seek help; I want to seek an official diagnosis.

    Where I live, there is really only one mental health resource (a community mental health center). I contacted them, asking to get in for an intake appointment, and specifying that I was interested in beginning the process to be evaluated for Asperger’s Syndrome.

    When I showed up for the appointment, my purpose of being there for Asperger’s was completely pushed aside. I was asked, “Well, we don’t really do that here. Besides, um……were you in special education in school? No? Then, yeah, probably not it. You would have struggled in school. And, Autism is a developmental disorder that would have been caught in the school years. It isn’t really a thing for adults.” I was crushed. Was? Well, still am.

    I don’t know where to go from here. This place really is my only resource. I wish there was some way for the people that I am trying to work with to become educated about Asperger’s, especially in women, but that’s not exactly something that I can enforce. I just feel stuck, and am struggling with the idea of going back there for my next appointment, knowing that they just want to evaluate me for depression and social phobia. The social phobia, I can understand…..as a part of Asperger’s. The depression, I disagree with. Extreme fatigue? Yes. Being overwhelmed? Yes. Self-loathing, oppressive sadness, etc? No. I think the symptoms that I do have that could overlap with depression are also explained by Asperger’s. But, how do you explain that to a system that denies that Asperger’s can even be a “thing” for an intelligent adult?

    Any advice that you can give, I would whole heartedly appreciate.

    1. Hi Liz, I am sorry to hear about your story and it is all too common unfortunately. I do empathize with your situation. I currently am providing diagnostic assessments via Skype to adults all over the world, if that is an option for you. I closely follow Professor Tony Attwood’s procedures. I am doing this primarily because there is such a lack of professionals in this particular area at the moment. Let me know if you are interested. All the best.

    2. Reading all these traits I cannot but wonder how is this a disability? Not all parts of the world are so annoyingly extroverted and reliant on social interactions. I have lived in the country where all of the above is considered a talent and people are admired for their personality. On the other hand in Western countries it is norm to be extroverted and spend your time talking about superficial and irrelevant things. People described above are able to be self-reliant and complete tasks and do great things on their own, while extroverted ‘neurotypical’ individuals need companionship in order to do a small portion of what above described individuals can. Still struggling to see this as a disability.

      1. Currently living in the US, I don’t think the line is always so easily drawn but I can definitely relate to the sentiment.

        Much of the disability aspect comes from not fitting into social norms. Being different than what is widely seen as neurotypical within a capitalist society comes with a lot of micro-violence and long term alienation. It’s traumatic and debilitating to a human being.

  49. Thanks for your efforts to, in effect, make people aware of the characteristics of Asperger women.
    I’m a 57-year-old non-Aspie male married 33 years to an Aspie lady (whom I still love maaaaadly, by the way). As a non-Aspie in a long-term committed relationship with an Aspie, I can vouch that an Aspie woman brings to a relationship definite strengths that non-Aspie women typically lack . However, the reality is that Aspie women also bring definite weaknesses. While she and I met and married, Asperger’s was known only to the few researchers. Consequently, we had zero idea of the root of the many serious relational/emotional/intimacy/communication/sexual issues we faced right from the start. Although we’ve managed (though not, of course, really ever solved) our Aspie/non-Aspie differences chasm and “survived to tell the tale”, both she and I believe that, had we been aware of the chasm we were dealing with when we met, then much pain, misunderstanding, and disappointment might have been avoided between us.
    Awareness, including self-awareness, goes far toward understanding if not resolving relationship issues. By educating people, you’re helping people acquire that awareness.

  50. Hi,
    I am a 23 year old female from the UK. Most people are surprised to learn my age because I look much younger. I am very quite when I speak, I get very anxious in social situations and I detest eye contact!
    I believed for a long time that I was born with social anxiety but more recently I have felt that perhaps it is Asperger’s as it is not just social issues I struggle with. I can relate to almost everything above. I have a twin sister who is also ‘like’ me. At school my sister and I only had each other as friends and were bullied for being ‘ shy’. I dropped out of university because I found it so overwhelming but a year later I signed up to college to study animal management.
    Most of the time I just feel lost, like I don’t belong with everyone else in the world. Only my sister understands me.
    I’m terrified to see a doctor because I don’t think they will take me seriously and I am too afraid to speak to anybody about my issues. I am tired of being anxious 24/7.

  51. Hello Tania

    I am not sure how I ended up on your blog, possibly as a result of watching a film called White Frog, which stars a teenage boy with Asperger’s. Very recently I have become aware of my own anxiety and often my GP has commented on the fact that I might be stressed. I have often said I am always stressed because if stress was what I thought it was (I’m probably wrong by the way) then I had been that way my entire life. I am starting to believe that what I am calling stress is actually anxiety.

    I’m 26 and work from home freelance when I can but other than that I don’t generally go outside unless my boyfriend is really upset that I haven’t in a while. I grew up with my dad and three older sisters who have always protected me because they thought something was “different” about me. They always told people that was the case whenever I did something weird in social situations anyways. I am in the UK and doubt that I will ever get it prescribed but am quite alarmed by the number of statements on your list that apply to me.

    I have tried assertiveness training, making a conscious effort to speak louder or not at all (there was a period when I was younger that I just decided not talking was easier than trying to explain myself). I was just this morning considering going on a course to improve my communication because friends have told me that I was boring when I spoke or they couldn’t understand a thing I said despite my exasperating efforts. Of late my isolation has had health implications.

    I guess I wanted to ask what’s next after you discover that you might have Asperger’s?

    Also many thanks for writing this list, I never would have found out such a thing existed or explained my being different to such a large extent. Also apologies for the rather long comment.

    Many thanks
    Becky

  52. I have struggled all my life with being different, not able to communicate effectively, not able to cope with being touched and anxious constantly. Two days ago I found out I had Aspergers after my son also being diagnosed. Thank you for your list – it has really helped me draw the pieces of my past together into something that makes so much more sense. I can see why my marriage failed, and it helps to find out that there is a reason for how I am. Your list has made me cry heaps, but in a helpful way, I am just sad I didn’t find out what was wrong with me years ago, when I might have been able to save my marriage.

  53. Wow, this describes me in so many ways. It has been difficult but much easier as I have aged and matured. Thank you for the great information.

  54. This is SO interesting!!! I can relate to so many of the things on these lists, so many……..

    I am finally exploring, at the age of nearly 50, why I have felt so out of place my whole life. I can relate to many of the traits of ADD (inattentive type) but I think there is a fair bit of Aspie in me as well. My son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism at the age of 3 (he is 18 now) and we lead our lives and have our house, just the way we like it. We are both gamers, love animals, neither of us likes too much sunlight in the house and we spend a lot of time just doing our own thing, getting together for meals mostly. He has the most amazing hearing and I have an excellent sense of smell. Other than that, we are very similar with a lot of the stuff that pushes our buttons, mostly relating to the social world. I am grateful every day that I have a child that I can relate to so well…..I have an older daughter as well but she is as NT as its possible for someone to be and her growing up years were challenging. She left home and my son and I breathed a sigh of relief. We are quite close but she really doesnt understand me at all.

    I have just started seeing a psychiatrist, who is treating me for the depression & anxiety which has plagued me for years……..he doesnt think I am on the spectrum because of my ability to “read” others very well, I am very intuitive about other people. I was agreeing with him because my son very clearly doesnt have this ability – in fact, if I am upset about something, I have to actually TELL him that I am upset because he has no clue. But……having read these lists above, I am wondering if it IS possible for someone on the spectrum to be as intuitive as I am? Its annoyed a lot of people over the years, including myself 😉

    Anyway, lots of food for thought here….thank you for putting this information out there.

    1. Hello Hannah! I was so pleased to get your message. I kno wof 5 other women doing PhD’s in the area of female ASpergers. It is incredible and look out! The next few years there is going to be an explosion of knowledge in this area and I am so pleased about this. Your blog is great and keep doing what you’re doing:-)

  55. holy cannolli. i came here looking for some insight particularly trying to differentially diagnose PTSD with AS (as i know beyond question i have ptsd). this list describes my personality and my life *in detail* with nearly *perfect accuracy*. there were *only two points* on the entire list that did not apply. doesn’t change anything, but it does explain a lot – especially my lack of success in therapy and with psychopharmaceuticals, even though i’ve been highly invested, had good rapport with my treaters, and even sought out an MA in psychology (since i’m ridiculously empathic). i’m going to find some way to work with animals. hopefully my boyfriend will be willing to read this article, since he comments frequently on my “antisocialness” and doesn’t understand how exquisitely sensitive i am to people and how much anguish that and my social backwardness cause me (and consequent withdrawal and inability to hold jobs). i am, by the way, widely considered a competent diagnostician — and am very aware of how immature the field really is. (i no longer practice, though, having been burned out and having so many problems negotiating the social pressures and my issues with authority on any job).

    anyone who thinks this is a choice or an excuse has no idea how many of my limbs i would trade to be “normal” no matter how much i value the gifts of AS. i have artificially developed many skills in adulthood i lacked as a child, but nothing that enables me to fully compensate, only to “fake” until i reach such a point of mental and emotional exhaustion i have to hide in a corner for a few weeks. it took me years to come to terms with the PTSD, now i am coming to terms with this. the benefit seems to be that i stop judging myself through other people’s eyes, and am able to be more compassionate and self-accepting, and then find ways to accommodate what I have come to view as disabilities rather than character defects (as my first therapists regarded them). With acceptance, my drinking and other self-destructive coping behaviors have of their own accord improved significantly. if i can find a way to “feel” more connected — even if it’s just allowing myself to spend more time with animals, and finding a way to make that happen — i know my life will be better for it.

  56. Hi, thanks for this. I’ve recently taken a test which states my results as being AS. I’d like to get an official diagnosis. Do you have any ideas how I can do this? I live in the UK

    1. Hi Camilla, I regularly provide diagnostic assessments via Skype to adults all over the world, if that is an option for you. I closely follow Professor Tony Attwood’s procedures. Other than that, if you get in contact with the NAS in the UK they may be able to direct you. Please make sure you see someone who specialized in the female profile of Aspergers. All the best!

  57. I always wondered why I was different from others…This information was extremely useful that now I know what makes me different from everyone

  58. I have always been different from the rest of the pack.
    I have been blessed with the fact that my father accepted and encouraged
    my growth.
    I have never felt the need to fit in, I am comfortable in my own skin and if others don’t like it then they don’t have to look.
    I not only love me I truly like me for all my faults as well as my strengths.
    I am almost 60 yrs . old but look in my 40’s.
    I fail to see the reason why every one thinks Asperger Syndrome is a problem and
    I should seek help. I like who I am and see no need to change me.
    I have every thing I need, the air that I breath, Nature hikes , my animals and Some One who loves me as I am.
    The Normals should be so lucky!

    1. I think our time is coming.

      I think that having some understanding of why we are so different really helps many with Asbergers understand ourselves in relation to others. I have spent my life trying to make sense of the world – I’m 44 now. My new understanding (and in large part thanks to this community and especially taniaannmarshall) has strengthened me, helped me to build my self confidence. There were aspects of my Asbergers (poor working memory and inconsistent oral communication) that always held me back from being able to share the amazing gifts that come with being an Asbie, but now I have a much clearer understanding of how to navigate around my deficits to share my gifts. I can finally present my critical thinking with confidence – in the past I second guessed myself constantly because I had achieved poorly in school and been made to feel a fool during class presentations (my mind would just freeze – and I couldn’t verbalize what I understood and wanted to say). It was only in my adult working life when I was repeatedly funnelled through into leadership positions that I started to recognize that I understood complex situations better than my co-workers, that my confidence in my abilities started to grow. However, even then I continued to doubt myself because when I felt vulnerable, I would retreat into that old place of humiliation and lack of self confidence (I would doubt my ability and imagine that I was only in that prestigious position by fluke). Understanding Asbergers is huge for me, because now I can start to revisit those early years that were so negative. Instead of nurturing me, my school experience sapped my self confidence.

      This new understanding is empowering. I feel as if I have lots to share with the world, and I now have the confidence to pursue doing so. I think that there are many people with extraordinary gifts that have not been valued in our traditional, top down, “standardized testing” based systems. As a result these people have been discarded (check out the profiles of those in prisons and in poverty) – if you didn’t fit the traditional education system they tried to help you fit into “the system” or they gave up and discarded you (by this I mean that when you are not nurtured during your youth, when the system tries to force compliance to their ways irrespective of it’s ability to meet an individuals needs, frustration and negative behaviour can result boiling over into socially unacceptable behaviour). Some of us are lucky enough to have navigated our way through the system to live functional, productive lives.

      This new understanding may help many people to come forward to share their incredible gifts with the world with more confidence. I believe that the world over is searching for new ways of doing things – many of our current systems are crumbling, first and foremost the system of “top-down, authoritative management”. I believe that those who do not fit “the system” often see things uniquely. We have lots to share with the world – for the good of the world.

      (As you may no doubt be picking up – this is my “Asbie” focus area. I know enough about myself to stop writing now because I could just keep going . . . 🙂

  59. Thank you so much for your hard work! Incredibly intelligent. I think you might have changed my life, or perspective on my life.

  60. I guess I have a couple questions. I actually stumbled onto your blog and never thought of myself of having aspergers. ( but my hobby is reading, and I would have eventually gotten there) I have been in some kind of therapy since I was a teenager but not one doctor gave me a correct diagnosis. Forty years later, I’m reading what you are writing, and I’m knocked out. I answered yes to about 95%.
    After reading your blog, I deliberately go hunting for more of what you are writing, blogs, books, tests, and more about aspergers. There is not much out there. I see the same seven or eight symptoms, which seem very flat to me. Not nice and puffy like your lists.
    I guess my question is, why do doctors know so little about aspergers ?
    Who is going help fill them in on the high functioning aspergers? Why is the list of symptoms out there so dry? It’s seems like the medical community doesn’t really care about this syndrome. Is this a syndrome ?

    Thank you in advance
    Rose

  61. I could relate to 95-98% of the markers. I have never trusted the so-called “mental health” system, as I’ve been “dx” with everything else (incorrectly). So now, I’m old, isolated; I’ve never understood what was going on; meanwhile, much has been taken from me, that normally constitutes a life. I have always been misunderstood– nor do I understand.So what do I do, now? I feel as though I were still from another planet! For myself: Write, read, pray, and make your day (Or in my case, night… wherein thoughts shine bright.)

    I have many obsessions; poetry is but one.

    So how do I interact/reach out/get dx if I am this “old”? I have always tested erratically, btw; and “learn in spurts”. I was told way back that I may have “learning disabilities”, but it was never really defined. Was always several grades ahead, verbally; but couldn’t do math or gym. Clingy, temper tantrums as a child; never quite understanding what was going on– until I learned to read. Then, my world came into focus, but I was still deficient in social interaction. I still have problems with that, as well as with certain types of organization, forgetting faces; get lost easily, etc. Also, am easily overwhelmed with day- to-day living. I am an underachiever, and can often barely take care of myself. Yet at other times, I can do wonders, and even astound myself (and others). So my performance has always been quite uneven: exacerbated also by medical illnesses.Overall, I have no problems in verbalization, but have been deficient in most other areas– though I have also had some success with music and computers. I have had very truncated relationships, or else, the people involved died, moved, etc.

    BTW, I was always a “rocker”, too; also, an extreme introvert. So, sleep problems enter into all this… DPSD, for example? Or anything else physical, such as atypical migraines, or fibromyalgia?

    So how do I get help at the age of 64? Thanks! ☺

    1. Hello Twilight Gold and thank-you for your message. I believe it is never too late for a diagnosis. I have personally assessed and diagnosed many adults, including up to the age of 70. You certainly sound as though you do have traits. It is difficult for me to advise you of where to get help, as I do not know what country you are from. I would advise you contact your nearest Autism Society or Centre? Or a specialist who works with Aspergers and adults? All the best:-)

  62. Thank you, Tania, for your research and for sharing it. I just read the story of my life in your article. In spite of many difficulties throughout my 54 years on earth, I view my Asperger’s dx as a gift. I am glad and grateful to be whom I am. Again, thank you for such an affirmative list of, I won’t call them symptoms…rather, strengths!

  63. Really Really amazing. I dated a woman for two years who never told me she had this disorder. The challenges were more than I could ever explain. I can relate to each and every one of your sections. How did it end? I came home one day and she was gone. I haven’t heard from her since. Hope you’re ok Roxanne.

  64. HI Tania, I found your site while researching about asperger because I suspect my 5 yrs old is might be “aspie”. Thanks for sharing your awesome work.

    After reading your research, the descriptions listed described my girl close to 70%. And what is more interesting is that it describes me about 85%-90%. Your work is focused on females, I am not sure do these also describe men? I am not sure am i also a aspie? If I am a aspie, then i might be a high functioning one that had learnt skills to cope socially in early years of my career, where i think i am ok till i read your research to realise that I may have coped well all these years. In my profession, I deliver countless of management and leadership training, and also provide one to one coaching in the area of management and leadership. I agree with your research that when it comes to social interaction with my participants, I am not very good.

    I like to hear your perspective and also do you think AS is hereditary?

    Thanks again for sharing your work. 🙂 Well done.

    1. Hi Fabian, thank-you for your message and your kind words. I am aware that some males identify with some of these traits. We are becoming more aware of a distinct female profile and this is my focus, as females have been left out of the research. Aspies have varying degrees of functioning across domains (for e.g., emotional, social, sensory, cognitive, etc) and females cope by ‘masking’, ‘çamouflaging’ and mimicking. One superpower of Aspergers is the ability to work one-on-one or present to a group, rather than work within a group. Yes, there appears to be a large genetic component to Aspergers and many families that I support are able to trace Aspergers back one or more generations. Take care:-)

  65. Thank you. Do let me know once you have published your book or maybe you had already. I would like get a copy to understand more about Asperger from your research and practice perspective. Cheers!

  66. Hi there, reading your list of traits has been an enlightening experience for me. I am 42 and I’ve always been rather socially awkward until I discovered drama – I have found being able to act has helped me cope in all sorts of situations – almost convincing myself ! I am socially awkward and often find myself shut into my head when in groups. I dislike noisy pubs because I can’t filter out the background noise to be able to hear what is being said. I have a 5 year old boy who has just been diagnosed as an Aspie, leading me to question my own traits. I have done a few on line tests, but always come out as neuro typical, but this list has so many ticks for me. It’s the first time I have realised that there is an explanation for how I am. I have extreme difficulty making and maintaining friendships and relationships. I have an eating disorder and drink way too much when I am out even though I have low tolerance to alcohol. I have been promiscuous in the past because sex was the only way I could connect. I seem to have gotten past that now, but I do still have some pretty bad habits when it comes to coping strategies. Other people’s opinions have often influenced my view of myself and I have always tried to fit in by mirroring those about me. I live in Ireland and I know it is not going to be worth trying for a formal diagnosis – especially when most people have absolutely no idea about what goes on in my head ! This is very reassuring and I would like to say thank you.

    Kind regards
    Liz

  67. Hi Tania, Thank you for this. I am 48 years old, have never fit in. I relate to so many of the traits you have listed. I have always taken things literally and often over think things when someone is telling a joke. Had to leave study a couple of times, just overwhelmed. Colours have to match in my home. When watching a tv show or movie, I am always looking at the detail in the background. Feel the most at peace at home alone. If I am forced into a social situation, as in a family wedding, for a week or two, I actually become depressed. Drank alcohol to fit in when younger, but came to realise my nervous system over reacts to alcohol and many medications. If an ad comes on tv involving babies or small children, I will be in tears within seconds. Can’t even watch someone having an injection on tv. If I see or walk into a certain house or nature setting, can actually feel it ( maybe that is just normal?) Was a very picky eater as a child, could not tolerate a lot of tastes. Have regular migraines where noise, even someone talking makes my head hurt. I could go on and on. Is it worth it at my age to get diagnosed? Where would I go in WA?

    1. Hello Jewels and thank-you for your message. Currently, there are a couple of generations of adults (all over the world) who have undiagnosed Asperger Sydnrome or Autism and may or may not know they have it. There are a few different diagnostic pathways to a diagnosis, either through a child or family member, self-diagnosing, through seeking help for a presenting issue (anxiety, social anxiety, depression, and so on). I believe it is worth it at any age to obtain a diagnosis. I believe this for many reasons which I discuss in another blog and am going to write more about in the future. As for professionals who specialize in the area of female Aspergers/Autism, there are few of us at this point in time. I will be starting a lsit of specialists on my website in the future. I will email you as well. All the best.

  68. Hi. Thank you for making this list. I identify with the majority of traits mentioned. It is really comforting to know that other women experience the same difficulties as me. I really feel that I want to get some kind of help for this, but I feel that if I tell someone, they may not believe me. I can come across confident, but as this article has mentioned, it is always a performance. Frankly, I don’t want to have to convince someone that I am ‘not normal’ to get help. Or maybe I don’t have AS and instead I am just socially awkward, even though I identify with about 95% of these traits. I don’t really know what to do…

    1. Hello Cc, you make a really great point when you say “Ï don’t want to have to convince someone that I am ‘not normal’ to get help”. Often Aspergers in females is misdiagnosed as the presenting condition, i.e. depression, anxiety, nervous breakdown. Technically, a diagnosis is prvoded so one can access funding, services or support. However I know of many adults who are functioning well but want a formalized diagnosis more as an explanation of their experiences to date, for self-knowledge and self-understanding and for their families. I think it’s important for individuals to be clear on waht they want the daignosis for and how it would benefit them. More about this in upcoming blogs.

      1. Thank you for your advise Tania, you are right about needing a diagnosis for self-understanding, I will be checking your blogs regularly, thanks again.

      2. Hello cc and you are welcome. There are many reasons, with an important one after an “explanation”, that of having an “identity”. All the best.

  69. you’ve pretty much described me. thank you 🙂 i never knew why i was so different until i met my current partner, an adult-diagnosed Aspie. he’s a mirror of me, and this helps us support each other.

  70. I’m a 17 yr girl who has always been bothered by mood swings, emotional oversensitiveness and many-many things. So I started searching about my conditions. At first I thought I had BPD since I found my condition somewhat similar to it’s symptoms. But then I came across this page and found that Asperger syndrome’s symptoms are more closer to my condition. I don’t know I’m confused. I’ve never met a psychologist/psychiatrist for my condition. No one in my family knows about it, since I’ve been a hosteler since I was 6 yr old. I’m not close to anyone not even my family. I’ve always kept a distance with everyone and pushed them away if they get too close. What should I do? 😐 thinking about all this makes me feel much more lonely and moodier…

    1. Hello Emeraldsapphire, thank-you for your message, I receive many from young women such as yourself. One of the biggest challenges for individuals with Aspergers is managing stress, anxiety and anger (mood swings and/or intense emotions). The second difficulty for them is usually in communication, interpreting others and relationships. Read all you can and I wonder is there an Autism or Aspergers Centre where you live?

  71. I’m a 17 yr girl who has always been bothered by mood swings, emotional oversensitiveness and many-many things. So I started searching about my conditions. At first I thought I had BPD since I found my condition somewhat similar to it’s symptoms. But then I came across this page and found that Asperger syndrome’s symptoms are more closer to my condition. I don’t know I’m confused. I’ve never met a psychologist/psychiatrist for my condition. No one in my family knows about it, since I’ve been a hosteler since I was 6 yr old. I’m not close to anyone not even my family. I’ve always kept a distance with everyone and pushed them away if they get too close. What should I do? 😐 thinking about all this makes me feel much more lonely and moodier… Please help me. Give some suggestions.

    1. Hello Emeraldsapphire, thank-you for your message, I receive many from young women such as yourself. Is it possible that one of your carers or an adult that you trust would read some of the information regarding female Aspergers that you identify with? In addition, in another post I also mentioned how I feel that self-knowledge, understanding and strengths are most important, even if it’s not possible to find a professional where you live, that specialized in this area. The Internet has greatly helped many to find out more information about female Aspergers. All the best.

      1. Self-Knowledge and Understanding
      The best intervention for Asperger syndrome is knowledge, understanding and approach. Knowledge and understanding: researching Asperger syndrome in terms of learning and understanding the condition and how it relates to the individual.
      Approach: means using a strengths-based approach in understanding her unique profile of abilities. Focusing on her abilities, gifts and talents is critical. The willingness of adults to make accommodations to the individual’s home and school is very important. Accommodations will help the person adapt appropriately and function the best she can within a variety of settings.

      2. Find out your strengths, gifts and talents and focus on those.

  72. Hey Tania,
    I’m so glad that I found your website. I’m from Germany and heard shortly about Asperger and could identify with it. It was hard to find the “real symptoms”, especially in Germany Asperger is not well known and you find different symptoms and people dont understand what its all about.
    When I read your list I could identify with 95 % as well and I started thinking about what that means to me. With 16/17 I started to copy other people in my age, just to be not the “strange”. My mam always worried about me beeing most of the time on my own because she couldnt understand why. Friends of her sending their children to play with me, to get the “lonely” girl out of her room. That was very embarrissing and made us emotionally a kind of separating. I bet when I would tell her that I think I have Asperger, she wouldnt really belief and think its just an excuse. It’s hard to understand or belief that yourself has a kind of autism/disability and that its me who is different and not the others.

    1. Hello Anja,

      Thank-you for your message and I appreciate hearing from you in Germany. I see Asperger Syndrome as a different operating system, a different set of priorities and a different way of seeing or viewing the world. I would hope that your mother would be willing to read some of the information out that on female Aspergers that you identify with. All the best.

  73. Gosh I really relate to a heck of a lot of this, I was late diagnosed at the age of 34 following my 2 year old sons diagnosis of ASD, I am currently trying to get my 4 year old daughter investigated for aspergers, she is just like me and I am absolutely sure that she has AS, the authorities don’t agree, they see a quiet, well behaved, academically sound little girl, I see AS, and treat her as such with amazing results (we have completed the EarlyBird and the Healthy Minds courses with the NAS), I have insisted that the school allow my child to use symbols to ask for help and to show her feelings, and they are surprised at how much she uses them, and that this quiet little girl needs a lot of help! The sooner they have a specific diagnosis tool for females, the better.

  74. Thank you for sharing this insightful post. I have FINALLY figured out what is wrong with me for the past 46 years. I guess now it’s just a matter of what to do now?

    1. Lisa, thank-you for your message. I do not believe there is anything “wrong” with you. You have a unique profile of characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. I often recommend starting with the following:’

      1. Self-Knowledge and Understanding
      The best intervention for Asperger syndrome is knowledge, understanding and approach. Knowledge and understanding: researching Asperger syndrome in terms of learning and understanding the condition and how it relates to females.
      Approach: means using a strengths-based approach in understanding the individual and her unique profile of abilities. Focusing on her abilities, gifts and talents is critical. The willingness of others to make accommodations for the individual, is very important. A variety of accommodations based on the individuals needs, support level, and level of functioning will greatly help the individual to adapt appropriately and function the best she can within a variety of settings, i.e. work, school/education, home, community, relationships.

      2. Find out what your strengths, gifts, talents are, if you don’t already know and focus on them

      I wish you all the best and hope this is helpful.

  75. I’m so glad I just found this. I had never even thought about it, I thought I had AADD. My daughter is 2 and almost certainly autistic. I cry when I read this, because it describes me so well. And my feeling of being lost and different is described just here.

  76. I don’t know what to say. This has been me all of my life and a ton of autoimmune syndromes on top of this. I have been grossly misdiagnosed for 20 years, and I’ve known it. Here in Washington State, I will be hard pressed to get a doctor to diagnose me correctly. I had to push the “specialists” here to diagnose me correctly for Lupus. Mental health is the least important in our state…it should be a crime against humanity.

    I feel like now I’ve found my self on your page…why have I not heard of this before? I need to find a starting place and see someone. Now I feel like I’m back to square one. Ty for the info. We all appreciate it.

  77. Hi Tania,
    I am currently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, but I have two younger brothers on the autism spectrum and I have always known it was more than Bipolar. Can you give me any links to resources or specialists for women with Asperger’s in Canada? Thank you so much!

  78. Thank you so much. I am a 60 year old African American Woman and have been in a state of depression since 8 years old. I have been diagnose as manic depressive and bipolar, but I knew that there was another reason for my personality. Can you assist me with other resources in Mississippi?

    1. Hello Tselane, I would recommend contacting your local Autism or Aspergers centre/clinic or society? I do provide these kinds of services via Skype if you are interested? Take care.

  79. Thank you so much for this. I haven’t had anything fit so well. I also have Ehlers -Danlos and never even considered it related until now…it gives me a sense of peace knowing I am not a hypochondriac.

  80. I…. Am floored. I am 35, and most of this is dead on for me. I’ve often suspected my brothers may be on the spectrum… But it never occurred to me to look at myself. Wow.

  81. Reblogged this on Tentacled Monotony and commented:
    I…. Am freaking out a little. But this would explain SO MUCH. I’ve always suspected this of my brothers… But never looked at myself. I just assumed I was weird. Well, I AM, but it’s nice to put a little more shape to my weird.

  82. Thank you for this, Tania. I am 23 and have just recently begun suspecting that I may have Aspergers; this was an excellent tool in beginning to understand how my mind works. I have been professionally diagnosed with ADHD, and have struggled with social anxiety my entire life. I have been accused of being mean, rude, and disinterested, when in fact I feel quite the opposite. I also have an uncontrollable urge to please and be liked by everyone around me, and become highly distressed when I believe someone doesn’t. People often misjudge my age, assuming I am very young if they haven’t spoken to much much, or assuming I am older if they’ve had a conversation with me. I have been told quite often that my voice sounds like that of a child.
    I will soon seek a professional diagnosis, but I do believe it will only confirm my suspicions. This list has helped curb some of my skepticism, and I thank you for posting it and making women aware of the traits that are specific to them that may not be diagnostically recognized.

  83. Wow that truely makes sense, at least for me. I have research a lot ( I guess) and haven’t found any detailed and exact traits like these. Thank you for this useful information. It helped me to understand a little bit more about AS.

  84. It was downright horrifying to read this list and see so much of myself. At 61 learning that I am on the spectrum is a perplexing and frightening situation to be in.

    1. Hi Amy, it can be overwhelming to identify with being on the Spectrum. Autism and Asperger Syndrome have been around for a very long time and there is a high genetic rate. I have assessed and diagnosed many adults in their sixties and seventies and all felt a sense of relief and were able to answer the questions that they had had for many years, in addition to learning and becoming more knowledgeable about themselves. There is information coming out all the time.

  85. I was originally diagnosed seven years ago with having low self esteem and a difficulty with processing emotions. I finally got diagnosed, after four years of a career black hole, with high functioning autism, within this past year. There is so much out there for males, and sometimes I felt like I could not associate with the disorder. But I read through your list, and saw so much that is me or was me as a kid (ex. Making the decision to wear my track suit to my first communion party because I hated the feel of the dress, and my overalls with very stuffed pockets). I am so thankful for my diagnosis, with my only regret that it had not happened years ago (even my friends at the time saw my nonverbal challenges!)

  86. Thanks for putting htis together, I have 3 sons 2 of which are on the autistic spectrum. When my first son was diagnosed and i began to learn about autism and aspergers i knew straight away this was me. I fit in to so many of your listed criterias above and after many struggles in education and early adulthood i finally found a profession and career in my late 20s and finally managed a degree in my 30s. I was referred last year through our mental health team to our community adult aspergers services and was given a formal diagnosis of aspergers syndrome. It is only recently i have been able to disclose this to people I know as for quite some time after my dianosis I was very angry and went into another depression. Basically I felt that I had been let down all these yeas and it is so obious now what was wrong with me and my past could have been so different if my aspergers had been picked up in my younger years. Now I have come to terms with it and now understand myself more I have tried to spread understanding and awareness to others and your work here is particularly helpful in doing so. Thanks

  87. Greate post. Keep posting such kind of info on your
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  88. Hi Tania, I have enjoyed reading your working document on women with Asperger’s. It was because of websites like yours that I was able to finally realize at 61 years old what my “deal” was. I fit very many of the characteristics listed above. I mulled over all the information I had learned in the last couple of years and finally worked up the nerve to phone my local medical association to get information regarding who I should see for a diagnosis. Well to make a long story short I most certainly have Asperger Syndrome. I am actually OK with the diagnosis, as it sure does explain so much about myself I had always wondered about. For as long as I can remember I knew somewhere within that I really was just a little different. So many things I couldn’t figure out. Why I dreaded social events, trips, etc. Why chit chat seemed so hard at times. Why I frequently missed understanding a joke. And so on. Thank you so much again, because I really feel without sites like yours I would still be wondering. Now I have some work to do understanding everything, but I will 🙂

    1. Dear Gail, thank-you so much for you message. I am so proud of your for going to the doctors and having this done. I receive so many messages from elderly women who wonder what’s the point om getting a diagnosis? Now, you have reasons, explanations, answers, knowledge, education, and more! Read, learn about your sensory profile. You will be just fine and Congratulations. You are a superhero!

  89. Wow Tania this is amazing, so many females identifying with this list of traits, as I do myself. It’s somehow reassuring to know that there are others, quite a lot of others, who are feeling the same way. I have to say though I am finding diagnosis very very difficult. I’m getting, no you have empathy, what about your childhood, delayed speech? Repetitive behaviour? All the traits I identify with in your list are disregarded, and this is from psychologists recommended by the state association. It is heartening to know that you are doing so much research in the area but at the moment I feel like I have found an answer for what makes me, me but that somehow I don’t really qualify.

    1. Hello LaynieMae, thank-you for your message and for your kind words. There are many many others who feel just like you do. I assess and diagnose quite a few adult women on a weekly basis now via Skype, from all over the world.. I am glad that you have found an “answer”. It appears to be a common theme across all the women I talk to, is that they have spent their whole lives looking for an answer that explains and makes sense to them as to why they feel the way they do. There are a few specialists who assess and diagnose female adults and I hope to add them to my website soon. All the best.

  90. it’s funny to me that “no empathy” is supposedly an AS trait when i’ve been reading for 30 or 35 years how widely it’s suspected that the problem is that AS individuals react the way they do to (social and other) stimulus because they can’t screen ANYTHING out. which is exactly how being overly empathic feels to me (along with sound and light).

    also any diagnostician worth his or her salt knows that NO diagnostic criteria are perfect, which is why there is usually if not always a category “NOS” for people who don’t fit neatly into one or the other but still clearly have spectrum issues (with any mental “disorder”). which is yet another reason why the DSM is constantly being revised.

  91. I am 37. Single mother. Returned to college 2 years ago and just transferred to a university. I have several learning disabilities (and physical). I’ve been a business owner, a great leader, and independent; however, I do not play well with others. I speak from the heart and mean to be soft but the tone of my voice is harsh and comes out sarcastic sounding. I recently googled, “How to change your personality,” and have been trying strategies to do so. I have social anxiety really bad. I have been on medication for years for depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. I have no desire to be social. I have very few friends. Most of them have taken advantage of me. I cut them off for a few years then find it easier to rebuild their friendship than to go out and meet new people. I am a total perfectionist, but horrible speller. I could not continue to read the entire blog because of all of the grammar errors. I am a Buddhist and I am studying a dual-major: Elementary Education and Special Education. I excel at everything I LIKE. I can be arrogant. I can also be affected by negative people really easy and I take everything personally. If somebody is REALLY upset with me and it is not just my imagination, I disconnect and pretend it is not happening or I pretend to be somebody else. I suffer from PTSD. I believe my symptoms have worsened since the onset of PTSD in 2006. I often think, “I really can’t stand my own personality. I have to change NOW!”

    I am really interested in more of what you have to say and would like to speak to you regarding my symptoms and possibly try to find the right person to help me treat this or learn some healthy coping skills. Please contact me asap and thank you for writing this blog. I have no idea how I came across it, but I did. Thank you, universe! Dana

  92. Wow…62yo sensitive female RN married for 4 years to an Aspie geek 16 years my junior. I have almost all the symptoms you mentioned. Lifelong “underachiever”, I think I only graduated from school due to my instinct to pair up with people who were able to keep track of the assignments then I would help them with the work. My 30yo undiagnosed (formally) daughter sent me here. She has it in spades also. “No light touch! Don’t hug me! You’re trailing sound! (when I left something on in the other room and didn’t immediately turn it off for her benefit.)” No clothing tags, shoes and clothes a size too big, myriad food dislikes, eats one food at time, socially withdraws, only wants to be with family and that not very much, married to an Aspie and asexual (they both like it that way.) I could go on and on. Life is interesting, isn’t it?

  93. I wonder if the female “Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism” profile you and others have come up with and the more studied male “Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism” profile are really two different conditions?

  94. Hello Tania,
    I stumbled onto your blog while looking for support for my nineteen-year-old son. He’s been “diagnosed” with a combination of psych labels from various therapists/docs since he was twelve: Attachment Disorder, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression/Anxiety, etc. I have never believed any of these labels was quite right. My husband and I knew his behavior was “different” from most other children since we adopted him before he was a year old. Our older son was a very different child than his younger brother. As a teacher, I knew something wasn’t right but it’s been so hard to figure out the puzzle. I suggested to him recently that I thought he was on the autism spectrum. At first he was very angry, but then he investigated on his own. He’s extremely smart, 150 IQ, but with the social sense of a young child. He later told me he agrees that he has autistic tendencies. I bring up my son, because the more I read about ASD, the more I see myself. I’m fifty years old and have always felt like an outsider looking in. I’m very introverted, often reclusive, obsessive about my interests, physically hypersensitive, intuitive, with a very keen sixth sense, more interested in reading/studying than socializing, and uncomfortable in many social situations… As a teacher it is uncomfortable for me to go beyond my classroom when at school. I enjoy talking to colleagues one on one about teaching practices and such but avoid the staff lounge, hate the meetings, and become almost physically ill when required to participate in loud, rancorous staff meetings. If I do speak up about something I feel strongly about, others may misconstrue my intentions, and look upon me as uncooperative. I “pay” for my behavior because people sometimes think I am arrogant. I don’t think I am. I have a few close friends, and my husband and I are somewhat similar in temperament (he is far more social), but I have always struggled to make friends. I have always felt out of sync with most other people, but can be an excellent mimic when I have the energy to do so. That’s how I get through the minutiae of life. So, I recognize myself here, and it gives me some understanding of who I may be. Thank you.

    1. Hello Cam,

      thank-you for your message. Your description certainly reflects some distinguishing features or characteristics commonly seen in the expression of Asperger Syndrome in females. Many individuals have what I call a “cocktail” of diagnoses, and it may be only until the
      the late teen years or adulthood, that they receive the appropriate diagnosis.

  95. Thank you for this list. I am a 65 year old female and this describes me completely. I knew nothing about aspergers until about two weeks ago when I read that there may be a connection between anorexia and autism. That got me started and I ended up at your website. I had a very serious bout with anorexia 50 years ago and I have never read a satisfactory description of this disease. I don’t believe I was trying to be thin. Even though I got down to 88 pounds, I remember thinking that was not low enough. I believe I was punishing my body in some way. Have you done any research in this area? Thank you.

    1. I know its a common enough name but you didn’t live in Acacia Avenue and ride horses as a child did you? I won’t give any more details as that should be sufficient if you are the person I used to play with. I only ask because it would be wonderful if you were the same Margaret. But, yes, I know it’s unlikely and Hanson is probably your married name anyway but I had to ask.

  96. I love the list you have put together. I am 35 and have gone through a massive nervous breakdown in the last two years. Medications did not help. As I look at your list it exemplifies me completely. I didn’t take stock of how many things I could check off since they all seem to apply.

    I was always seen as highly intelligent and creative but struggled deeply through highschool and college. My Son was diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disability. My kids are both being tested for autism.

    I was diagnosed as having PTSD and anxiety. NVLD comes from the mother’s side. My son’s diagnosis explained a lot of my struggles. I am pursuing a formal diagnosis so I will develop the coping skills to keep me out of the hospital.

    When I was in the hospital they simply noted that I was highly intelligent with too much stress. I brought up the question of female aspergers and they tossed me off since I was really aware of myself. It was all attributed to stress.

    Again, I could check off everything on your list. My little girl would be checking each item off as well. If you are able to do skype assessments I would be interested. Please email me as to how to make that happen.

    Thank you

  97. I stumbled onto this blog by accident. I think it was meant to be! I am 64 years old and always thought I had some mental issue that I inherited from my mother and gave to some of my children and grandchildren. I have such a difficult time meeting and being around people. I always say the wrong thing…and ask myself “did I just say that?” Every few months I have to take a day or two to stay in bed and be alone. I long for quiet and solitude. If two or more people are talking at the same time I want to run away. I have a hard time expressing myself vocally, but have no problem writing. I am very good at public speaking as long as I write my words down beforehand. I start projects with a passion but lose interest right away. Consequently I never finish anything. I now know what is wrong with me. Doesn’t change anything, but it’s good to know. Maybe I can help my children and grandchildren

    1. WOW! I am feeling the same thing but am 34 I am sorry for you to have been so alone and unsure of why. I think I understand you. I hope you find comfort.

  98. Warning this post has adult content
    Thanks for such an exhaustive list.
    My few cents based on my life experiences as a “high functioning” autistic woman:
    The cocktail of missing social cues, desire to please, and sensory processing issues has lead to confusing, traumatizing, and non-consensual intimate situations in my life. Successful intimacy may require quite a bit of negotiation due to sensory issues. For example, my husband knows that holding my arm firmly feels better than light caresses.
    Have you noticed instances of aspienwomen participating in alternative sexualities where roles, sensations, and expectations are set in advance?
    How many of us vary in our functionality over our monthly cycles? Part of my PMS includes feeling “lower functioning.” (This has made me very curious about the role of hormone levels in how autism is expressed.)
    I also wonder how many of us have stumbled on using tighter clothing or shape-wear for compression therapy; looking back on high school I think that those tight jeans were really giving me a boost.

    1. I’ll reiterate your warning; adult content here as well

      Your reference to non-consensual intimate encounters struck me. From about age 18 to 25 (when I married) I was concomitantly promiscuous and almost virginally innocent. I “caved in” to sexual encounters as though I had no will of my own. I hated it and loved it when guys came onto me. It was as though I had to take charge and become the aggressor. I had to control the situation and so I did. Soft touching made me anxious, so I wanted quick, fast, furious sex. For a long time I wondered what that was about. It wasn’t like I ever had an orgasm. It was more like “this is going to happen, so I will control it.” I didn’t know how to read guys; I didn’t know how to negotiate the male-female dance. I craved acceptance and didn’t understand that these men had no interest in me other than physical gratification. My heart would suffer – sometimes a great deal – but then I would shut myself off and move on. Looking back, I realize that most of my encounters really weren’t truly consensual. That sounds strange, I know. After all, I engaged in them willingly, on the outside. But inside? I actually thought my partners cared for me and that was why I was giving myself to them. When I married (to my absolute best friend) everything changed. I couldn’t “make love.” Soft caresses make me want to jump out of my skin. I can’t kiss – I haven’t kissed my husband in 35 years, other than pecks on the cheek. Whenever we had sex, I wanted to go right to the orgasm. We found our way (sometimes with great difficulty) and have had great raucous sex for most of our marriage ( although we have reached the age where it is infrequent now) so neither of us have any complaints. And I have to say that my husband has been amazing in accommodating my “differences.” But I know that he would like that kind of soft, touching intimacy that I just can’t provide. I’d like to see more discussion here about sexuality. I think it’s an especially hard are for us Aspien women and our mates.

  99. I have every single one of these traits other than Irlen Syndrome but don’t know what it is. I was diagnosed with ADHD and am 34 and having a hard time. I am with my dog and she is my only real contact. I fear becoming homeless again if I cant hold down my job working for a much older boyfriend. I am doing my best but am afraid for my future. What do u think I should do? I have very little.

  100. Hello,
    I feel like reading your list is a homecoming of sorts, I was a very shy and introverted growing up, which was only made worse because of my father’s constant transfers across the country. How I wished I knew others would also struggled with similar traits, I turned inward (of course) and kept books around me like lost friends, after all, a book never judged or rolled their eyes when I said or acted in some kind of socially-awkward way. I spent my teenage years completely obsessed with writing down song lyrics, compiling them in a notebook to refer and review later, often musing about what the author really meant with their choices of words or context. Truth be told, I still am obsessed with song lyrics as well as reading (on average I read five books at a time at any given moment) and writing poetry. My question is, can people self-diagnose? Even though I received counseling for mild depression the doctor and therapist didn’t seem to think I had any type of condition other than the slight depression, however, I am convinced after reading this that I fit neatly into many of the categories, especially the desperate need for isolation at times and the profound connection I feel to nature.
    Thank you for having this information available.
    I would love to know if there is any kind of online forum or support group.

    1. I want you to know u r not alone I understand finally what I have and I will be 35 this month. I’m relieved and overwhelmed and amazed that finally I know, I knew, something was not “normal” and I was not stupid or crazy or JUST ADHD! I knew there was more going on with me now finally I know what!

  101. It all fits with me. I asked for an assessment and was sent to a psychiatrist. I had more of an understanding than he did. He expected me to have gone to a special school be interested in trains and not lie. He assessed me on his limited knowledge of young boys. I’m female, in my 50’s, changed schools when I was eleven and any problems I had were put down to the move. I lead an isolated life through choice but at 45 met a wonderful person who has become my sole mate. I can not see a specialist based on his report. He caused me so much stress. I think it’s criminal to put people in that situation. My own Doctor after having read his report was speechless but it powerless to do any more for me.

  102. I have had problems for decades and been treated for depression for decades, even hospitalised for it, and was diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum 5 years ago but I didn’t realise because I had too many things to read, court documents over my son, who also has Asperger Syndrome. I have had a terrible time, because I have massive what I called panic attacks but I think other people call them meltdowns, but one horrible woman from the secret family courts wrote on a report about me that I am dishevelled and that I had a temper tantrum, but that was because she was trying to bully me to force me to have NLP councelling at her office which is near where I was abused in “care” as a child, and she said the councelling (which I didnt even want, not off her because she was a scary woman) had to be at that exact place and couldn’t be anywhere else at all, so I started crying and ended up in a big state on the kitchen floor and she wouldn’t let my partner comfort me because she said I was having a temper tantrum and it was giving in to it to comfort me, so my partner had to tell her to go away. And then I had to see another man (forced to by the family court) but he was nice, not scary like her. I have been asking for an assessment to see if I have Asperger Syndrome for about 4 years, not realising I have already been diagnosed, and just been messed around, made to feel like a waste of space and generally treated with contempt, but what happens then is I start to believe I am useless and that makes me even more depressed so its a vicious circle.

  103. I found your blogsite while researching a character. What a surprise to work out that I, myself, am on the spectrum! I would never have been diagnosed as I am an eternal optimist so being the way I am has never overly troubled me. I celebrate my unique characteristics and point of view and probably won’t seek or need an “official diagnosis”. But I understand how people who aren’t comfortable in society and who get depressed would need to have this and find it helpful.
    It has been ponderous to me, and to my family, that I cannot keep the house tidy and clean to the standards most other achieve- domestically challenged is my description for this. I have fallen in love with a man nearly a generation away and cannot understand why this is a problem for him. I’ve had 3 complete and successful career changes but that kind of professional upheaval does not accumulate wealth. And one long, unhappy prison sentence of a marriage now, thankfully, over. It’s only just now that I am reaching some level of emotional maturity. I think this is happening because I have finally learnt how to surround myself with people I actually like and who like me as I am, who graciously help me deal with people problems when they arise.
    So I am finally not trying to hide how I really am; what a waste of time and energy that was! I realise now too, since reading your checklist, Tania, that my mother is also on the spectrum. Her obsession has always been cleaning so we’ve never had much in common.
    It is liberating, empowering and shocking to know how I fit into the general human psychological framework. I am glad to know. It makes sense and will definitely keep me safer from being taken advantage of in future. I thought I had a number of big shortcomings but it is really just that my perceptions and outlook are based on the view from a different window.
    Thank you Tania 🙂

  104. This explains so much about me, and lends more weight to my feeling that I may be an Aspergirl (well, woman, I am 40 now!). About 90% fits, although I never got as far as going to uni due to having a baby when I was 18 (had severe pnd after she was born, too), while in an abusive relationship, following basically abuse in my mid teens. Vulnerable? Oh and how. And still I cannot recognise these things in others, and am surprised time and again by the truth of other people that I have somehow missed. Then on the other hand I am very empathic, which caused me to doubt that I could be an Aspie – after all, Aspies can’t empathise, can they? But hyperempathic fits well, I will weep with someone who is sad, and jump for joy with someone who is happy. Etc, etc. All of this is so me, to a T. Will this ever be an accepted set of diagnostic criteria? (Not in its present form, too many repetitions, but you did say it is a draft). If I could find a diagnosis then maybe I wouldn’t feel so different and separate, I would know there are others like me out there (and would be content with the knowledge; being an Aspie, I wouldn’t necessarily want to go out and meet all those people like me, after all 😉 )

  105. this is really amazing work. makes me feel not so alone. i’d say more than 75% of the traits describe me. i look forward to hearing about your future work in this area. i think my husband really needs to read this!

  106. Hi Taniaann, I have not seen a list like this before and it provides an accurate description of me. Identifying these characteristics as Asperger’s Syndrome in women gives me hope. I am a 54 year-old women who has, throughout my life, benefited from some of the listed characteristics but struggled, painfully, with others. The idea that a part of my confusion about people and relationships could result from AS, and not from my own stupidity or lack of insight, is a relief. I would be happy to contribute to your research.

  107. All I could do, whilst reading, was to stare with my jaw hanging open. I’ve been searching for almost 40 years for a “why”. I had viewed a TV show about Asperger’s Syndrome several months ago and began to wonder; thus, I Googled.

    Have been mis-diagnosed a few times – Bipolar, PTSD, Severe PMS (LOL). I have not been officially dx’d for Asperger’s but, wow, does your list look like my biography.

    The empathy section had me in tears. I cannot tell you how many years I have tried to explain this to others and how painful (and at times joyful) it can be to literally, somehow, “feel” what others are feeling and thinking.
    And, by the way, be very careful when trying to explain that to a doctor as their first inclination is to slap you with a Bipolar disorder DX and label empathy as ‘grandiose thoughts’….
    For instance:

    Doctor Makeyouwell : “Mmmhmmm, yes and you say you can read minds?”

    Patient: “No Sir, that is not what I said.”
    (frustration sets in as you try in vain to explain yourself, expecting this poor soul to ‘get it’ and ‘feel’ what you are saying). “I said, I can ‘feel’ what others are thinking and/or feeling.”

    Doctor Makeyouwell: “Mmmmhhhmm, and do you ever believe that you can fly or that you can save the world?”

    Patient: “facepalm”

    Can you relate? 😉
    XO
    atomicgypsy

  108. Hi Tania,

    Thank you so very, very much for your work in this field. Your list is amazing, and whilst reading it I felt like something has clicked into place.

    I have a long history of depression and self-harm, and have seen numerous counsellors/psychiatrists etc. As my childhood was abusive my therapists tend to want to use that to explain my social phobia/ depression etc, bit it just doesn’t seem right to me. If I take any AQ test I always score really high.

    I am very sensitive to others emotions, to the point where I cannot distinguish between theirs and mine. I can read peoples emotions very well, but this does little to assist in social interactions. I cannot, for the life of me, do small talk. I like intense, deep, conversations and I’m told i’m very serious. I can laugh and joke, but my sense of humour is not slapstick as i find it patronising, and i am rubbish at banter. I’ll avoid the staff room at lunch time, and I hate work social events. If I feel uncomfortable talking to someone I don’t know very well I tend to nod and smile a lot, and I exhibit echolalia quite a lot.

    I have very intense and short lived obsessions that take over my life so that other things get neglected, like housework and my husband. My interests are really geeky I.e star trek, alternative music, fantasy, history etc. I binge read a novel, or watch episodes of a series back to back, and I get resentful and defensive if anyone tries to stop me.

    I have found having my children really difficult. I have two boys, and my eldest cried all the time as a baby. I found it incredibly distressing and anxiety inducing, and I have not really learned how to deal with the typical shouting and screaming of small children. I hate noise and cannot even have the radio very loud as it makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed.

    I spend so much time on introspection and soul searching, and have always felt world weary and fatigued, as if life is just exhausting and I don’t really get anything done. I hate change and it takes a lot out of me.

    Sorry, this is getting very long. There are more boxes for me to tick, but I just wanted to know if you think I could be an asperwoman? I was referred to a psychiatrist by my gp 4 years ago in order to assess if I was aspie or not. I had read an article about ‘little philosophers’ and it really rung a bell, so I asked for the assessment. She said that she thought I had social phobia, but since I interacted ‘fine’ and lacked any ritualised behaviour that she thought I didn’t fit the aspie profile. I’m convinced that I would fit a female profile though, and since there wasn’t one for her to refer to at the time I wasn’t diagnosed.

    Do you think it’s worth approaching for another assessment?

  109. Wonderful , very comprehensive info. I am 53 yrs old, and believe I have Aspergers, as well as my daughter. My son has Autism, my brother, mother, grandfather, I suspect all have Aspergers. There are so many puzzle pieces which totally make sense in my family. Everyone however, expresses these traits differently. Thank you for the information!

  110. Tania…. you have just described me to an absolute tee…. my fourth child at nearly 4 is just going through the diagnosis process of autism which has made me realise I have aspergers syndrome… I am a psychic and have a metaphysical Ph.D. Life has been such a struggle for me.. But I believe autism is humanities evolution as we are balancing up the male female sides of our brains and engaging our higher senses… Thanks for your awesome work Love and blessings Melanie

  111. I am 19 years old. I have always felt like I was different, I got diagnosed with acute ADD as a child. Recently I read a blog entry of a woman with asperger’s and It was like looking at myself in the mirror, I feel like this explains so many things that I feel and that have happened to me. I lead a more or less “normal” life, however I am very unhappy, I am not close to my family, and I would not feel comfortable talking about this with any of my friends. When I was younger I was bullied a lot, I have no self esteem and I feel like I can only be social when I’m drunk and it’s becoming a problem, I get extremely anxious by social situations, or some days even leaving my house is really difficult
    My doubt is what should I do now? I have access to a free psychologist, would that be a good idea? I am really scared of going to therapy and I don’t know how to go about talking to a psychologist about this, any tips? If anyone can help me I would really appreciate it

  112. As a recently diagnosed female (22) after being misdiagnosed my entire life it’s nice to read this and get some sort of understanding as to why I am like I am instead of constantly wondering what is wrong with me or thinking I’m going mad. So thank you.

  113. Hello Tania,

    I must say that reading this list has lifted an incredibly heavy weight off my shoulders.

    I am 18 years old, I dropped out of high school at 15 and am currently trying to figure out what to do with my life.

    I was formally diagnosed with OCD, generalized anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities, giftedness and I suffer from bouts of depression and social anxiety. I am currently taking Concerta and Citalopram. I always knew there was something different about me. I am incredibly in tune with children and animals. I don’t have any friends, nor do I have an interest in making any. I love computers, non fiction, photography and film. I can feel peoples emotions and it overwhelms me. I have trouble being out because the smell of cigarette smoke is completely debilitating for me.

    I would love to receive a formal diagnosis as it would aid me in my understanding of myself and aid me in succeeding in whatever I choose to do.

    I reside in Canada. If you can recommend someone or even do it yourself that would be wonderful. (money is of no object)

    Thank you!

    Enya

  114. Hey Tania! I see you have written that duplication is forbidden but can I translate this for a forum because I want to help women in my country who don’t speak English? I think people will benefit from it, I am not going to use it for any profit -, it will just be a forum post, I will give you the link. Is this ok for you? There are no resources about autistic women available in my language and that’s why I kind of volunteer to spread awareness online. I find your list one of the best, I want more females to benefit from it. Thank you!

    1. Hello and thank-you for your message and for asking for permission. My blog has been translated into several languages now. Yes, please go ahead and translate my writings for the forum. I do have a book series coming out soon. May I ask what your language is?