Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that can impact behavior, communication, and learning. In the U.S. around 2.2% of the population has ASD and of those, it is more common among men.
However, up until recently, the majority of autism research has been carried out on men or boys, so there is another theory that women are just simply not represented enough in the literature and research. One thing we do know for sure is that autism presents differently in women than it does in men, which can often lead to misdiagnosis.
Below, I will go over some of the lesser talked about symptoms of a female with autism.
1. Easily socially exhausted.
Women with autism tend to mask their symptoms better than men. Due to this, many people may not even realize that someone they are dealing with is autistic. However, this can make it much harder to deal with social situations, because ultimately, what happens is, socializing becomes a lot of work.
2. Feeling different.
Women with autism may experience feeling differently. In some cases, they may feel the urge to hide who they are, and over time, to fit in, they will adopt the mannerisms of people in pop culture to cover their autistic traits. Deep down, they may realize they are different, but struggle to understand why.
3. Extreme sensitivity to sensory.
The world is much different for an autistic person than it is for someone who is neurotypical. Extreme sensory sensitivity is common among the autistic population. You see, autism can make you have a heightened sense of awareness for sounds, smells, lights, and even touch.
4. Obsessive traits.
Men and women alike tend to have specialized and very focused interests. In most cases, the autistic mind is geared to have a ‘what if- then’ mindset, which drives them to understand how things work. When something catches their interest, they will learn as much as they can about it. Men with autism are more hyper-fixated on one or two interests, while women can have a wide range of subjects they are obsessed with.
5. Meltdowns caused by sensory overload.
Those affected by ASD can easily become overwhelmed by bright lights, loud noises, or other sensory input. This can lead them to feel distracted or overwhelmed. Women with this disorder tend to be able to cope a little bit better than men and can push through their obstacles in most cases due to masking.
6. Emotional dysregulation.
Women who have ASD tend to feel somewhat emotionally dysregulated. This can make it hard for them to control their emotions during some moments, but they are also great at regulating their emotions during other times. One common theme is difficulty in understanding what they are feeling or connecting physical ailments to their emotions.
7. A need for certainty.
Women with ASD thrive when they feel like their routine is predictable. If they feel uncertain, they will become anxious, because it leads to them feeling like they have no power over the outcome of their situation.