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Girls and Asperger Syndrome (page 2)

By — Autism Society
Updated on Jul 28, 2009

What Parents and Teachers Need to be Concerned About

Parents who have girls with AS face many issues different from those who have boys with AS. Parents and teachers need to be aware of several issues as well as characteristics in girls with AS across the lifespan in order to provide appropriate support for girls. The following areas can be considered as important issues related to girls with AS (Ernsperger & Wendel, 2007; Nichols, Moravcik & Tetenbaum, 2009; Attwood, 2008):

  • Different cultural and social expectations for different ages (e.g., culture of teenage girls, patterns of friendship in girls, manners of girls at different ages in different settings)
  • Dealing with emotional crisis related to depression and anxiety
  • Puberty and sexuality (e.g., dealing with “growing-up” anxiety caused by body changes such as menstruation and breast development, and premenstrual syndrome issues)
  • Hygiene issues (e.g., changing pad or using a tampon appropriately, regular check-up for pelvic exams)
  • Safety issues (e.g., dealing with sexual harassment and bullying at school)

It is also important to be aware that girls with and without disabilities have to deal with gender-specific social biases. For example, the social bias for beauty and women’s body image has created a very stressful social situation for both girls with and without AS, and can affect the self-perception and self-confidence of girls (Nichols, Moravcik & Tetenbaum, 2009). Providing accurate information about gender-specific issues, including the social bias of girls, can be very important since those issues often cause emotional difficulties.

References

Attwood, S. (2008). Making Sense of Sex: A Forthright Guide to Puberty, Sex and Relationships for People with Asperger’s Syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Attwood, T. (2007). The Complete Guide to Asperger Syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Attwood, T., Grandin, T., Snyder, R., Wagner, S., & Faherty, C. (2006). Asperger’s and Girls. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons Inc.

Ernsperger, L., & Wendel, D. (2007). Girls Under the Umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Practical Solutions for Addressing Everyday Challenges. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.

Gillberg, C. (2005). The epidemiology of autism. In M. Coleman (Ed.), The Neurology of Autism (pp. 119-135). NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Hill, A. (2009). Doctors are failing to spot Asperger's in girls. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved April, 12, 2009, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/apr/12/autism-aspergers-girls.

Lee, H. (2008). A meta-analysis of gender differences in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of the Korean Association for Persons with Autism, 8, 67-81.

Nichols, S., Moravcik, G.M., & Tetenbaum, A.P. (2009). Girls Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum: What Parents and Professionals Should Know About the Pre-Teen and Teenage Years. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

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