Many autistic women are not diagnosed until adulthood, often following a series of wrong diagnoses, burnout, and sometimes multiple suicide attempts.

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The materials used to diagnose autism are biased towards male presentations of autism. This means that autistic males are far more likely to receive an autism diagnosis than autistic females.

Undiagnosed autistic females are more likely to be described as highly sensitive, shy, depressed, or diagnosed with conditions such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), bipolar disorder, and other mental health conditions.

Autism is not a mental health condition

Autism is a genetic neurodevelopmental difference. …


Undiagnosed autistic people almost always share the widespread outdated and stereotypical views of autism. It takes a diagnosis for most of us to discover what “spectrum” really means.

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We have a lot to learn from the Sia autism film controversy.

The wildly talented (and tormented) singer-songwriter, Sia, has faced a great deal of criticism for her upcoming movie, which cast an apparently non-autistic actor to play the role of an autistic character.

In addition to her long list of pop albums and collaborations (e.g., “Titanium” with David Guetta), Sia has written hit songs for Rihanna (“Diamonds”), Shakira (“Chasing Shadows”), Britney Spears (“Perfume”), Katy Perry (“Double Rainbow”), Beyoncé (“Pretty Hurts”), and many more.

Of note, most of the songs she’s written for others took her under 20 minutes to write. …


This finding challenges the goal of universal autism screening in toddlers and suggests that many autistic children are not being diagnosed.

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Most autistic children do not experience cognitive delays and they develop speech at similar times as their non-autistic peers. In fact, some autistic children speak earlier than average and do not miss major developmental milestones.

The main characteristics of many autistic children include:

  • intensity of focus
  • overwhelmingly high emotional empathy and distress in response to others’ pain
  • differences in social preferences such as wanting to hang out with one person at a time or in small groups
  • sensory differences — being either very sensitive or under-responsive to touch, taste, smell, noise, and so on

These characteristics go against the stereotype that a person must have all of the “classic” traits of autism in order to be diagnosed. …


Has your therapist been trained in the scientific method? Do they have a basic understanding of human physiology? Without this knowledge, they could be putting you in harm’s way.

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Over 97% of scientists in the natural and physical sciences — such as chemistry, biology, and physics — support evolutionary explanations, according to the Pew Research Center (2009). Indeed, it is almost impossible to be a scientist without ascribing to an evolutionary view.

However, in the social sciences and in some areas of psychology, acceptance of foundational scientific tenets — namely evolution and genetics — is low and appears to be declining (Gross & Levitt, 1998; Perry & Mace, 2010).

These trends are symptomatic of a larger anti-scientific or ascientific position signifying a widespread unwillingness to engage with key scientific concepts and a suspicion of scientific explanations of the world and of human behaviour. In such an environment, non-evidence-based ascientific treatments used by a large portion of mental health professionals — including counsellors, psychotherapists, and even some registered clinical psychologists — have flourished. …


The part of the human genome that makes our skin and hair look different is tiny compared to what we share. Race is 100% a social construct, though it is still being used as a biological category.

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Those in certain minority groups are being hit harder by COVID-19 than others. In particular, the black population in America accounts for 33% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, while accounting for only 13% of the total population. Economic and social conditions drive these differences, not genetic or biologically-based ones.

Minority groups experience:

  • Higher rates of poverty,
  • More toxic stress with long-term health consequences,
  • Poor living conditions in more densely populated areas,
  • Less career advancement and educational opportunities,
  • Less access to health insurance,
  • Less access to high quality nutrition, and more.

These groups experience these inequalities not because of who they are at the biological level, but because of historical and systemic prejudice. And these inequalities tend to lead to greater likelihood of obesity and chronic health conditions, all of which are leaving these groups prone to developing more serious symptoms related to COVID-19. …


COVID-19 has more workers than ever working from home and, for some, it can be an especially challenging adjustment.

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Are you working from home for the first time due to coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions? Here are some simple ways to make the transition easier. These tips might be especially useful in the event that you’ll be working from home indefinitely.

Working from home can get old very quickly, so these simple tips could make the whole process a little bit easier and a lot more comfortable:

1) Just say NO to working in pyjamas

Though the novelty of working in pyjamas for the first week or so might be nice, this is something you’ll need to reconsider very soon. …


Why do so many autistic girls and women fall through the diagnostic cracks?

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Many autistic girls and women are not being properly diagnosed — some do not receive an autism diagnosis until their 30s, 40s, 50s, or even older.

Born with autism, a genetic neurodevelopmental condition associated with various social, neurological, and sensory difficulties, these girls and women are able to hide the signs and characteristics of autism from themselves and others, even evading the concern of the most highly-trained healthcare professionals.

More commonly and devastatingly, they are misdiagnosed with conditions like borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, bipolar disorder, and so on.

These conditions — including eating disorders like anorexia — can be highly comorbid (often appearing alongside autism), but without that key autism diagnosis, a girl or woman’s understanding of herself will be limited — sometimes with devastating consequences. …


Meditation is not everything it’s cracked up to be.

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Though it’s often assumed that the ever-popular practice of meditating is a major tool for personal and interpersonal transformation, recent research has shown that meditation is just…well, meh. At least when it comes to the interpersonal realm.

Researchers at Coventry University in the UK, Massey University in New Zealand, and Radboud University in the Netherlands, conducted a review of more than 20 studies that investigated the effects of several forms of meditation. These included mindfulness meditation and loving kindness meditation.

The researchers were seeking to determine the effects of meditation on the kinds of pro-social feelings and behaviours that improve interactions between people such as compassion, empathy, and tolerance. …


Experts share these science-backed benefits of reading.

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Print books remain surprisingly popular, even though some had predicted that the book would be dead by now. In fact, 65% of adult Americans say that they’ve read at least one print book in the last year, while 28% have read at least one ebook in the same time span.

The total percentage of Americans who read at least one book a year — in any format — is 73%, down from 79% in 2011. …


You’re 30–something and have fewer friends than in your 20s? You’re definitely not alone.

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An old friend and I recently sat down to catch up, and one of the topics that came up was the fact that we’d both — in our late 30s — found ourselves with far fewer friends than we’d had in our 20s or even early 30s. Why does this happen to so many people?

I likened the loss of friends during our 30s to the pruning of neurons that occurs during key stages of development. These friendships, no longer necessary, are pruned and cleared away. …

About

Kristen Hovet

North Dakota-born science writer in British Columbia. Research communications specialist. Founder of The Other Autism: https://other-autism.com/

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