Defining Asperger’s Syndrome in Women
Asperger’s syndrome is a defined as a high functioning form of autism. It is estimated to affect four times more men than women and the signs differ somewhat between genders. The three symptom groups of Asperger’s are as follows:
- Impaired communication skills
- Problems with speech and language
- Repetitive behavior patterns
Fascinating Facts About Asperger’s Syndrome in Women
Asperger’s women are generally better at adapting to a neurotypical environment than males. They generally want to fit in with their peers, and watch other women to see how they behave. They then imitate their social habits and manner of speech and often manage to blend in. Here are some interesting facts about other traits of Asperger’s women:
- Women with Asperger’s are often immature and naive compared to their peers.
- Women are more likely to remain undiagnosed than men. This is because they generally find it easier to imitate social skills and fit in, even if this is on the fringe of social groups.
- They may seek out a relationship with someone who has a similar personality type. This is typically a reserved person who does not socialize much and does not seek frequent physical intimacy.
- These relationships may be based on a common interest and often thrive although they are far from conventional.
- Some Asperger’s women fall prey to sexual predators as they cannot see the dangers of these types of men. Some go as far as marrying one of them, and may suffer a lifetime of abuse as they do not know any better.
- Many Asperger’s women marry and bear children. They may struggle with some aspects of parenting such as constant noise and having to clean up vomit or dirty diapers. In spite of this, many learn how to nurture their children and a neurotypical partner often helps in areas of weakness.
- Fashion sense is often lacking and women may wear outdated clothing or no makeup.
- Contrary to neurotypical women, Asperger’s women may not enjoy shopping malls and find that catalog shopping is more suitable. This is partly because they do not like crowds and find it hard to concentrate in noisy environments.
- One on one conversations are tolerated better than group conversations. This is because Asperger’s women find it hard to follow the threads of what multiple groups of people are saying.
- Body language may be stilted and unnatural and eye contact does not come easily. Nonverbal signals of boredom or needing to move on are frequently misunderstood.
- Males with Aspeger's tend to be more aggressive than females and frustration comes out as anger. Asperger's women are more able to internalize their feelings and keep them under control.
- Asperger’s women do not work well in an open plan office environment. A quiet office is more suitable and will enable them to be more productive.
- Although Asperger's women also have special interests, these are generally more normal than those of their male counterparts. For example they may have a keen interest in flowers or horses as opposed to electric trains or vacuum cleaners.
Asperger’s women can learn to fit fairly comfortably into a neurotypical environment. They often prefer to work alone, but with the help of family and friends, they can learn to hold a conversation, dress fashionably and may marry and become a good mother. Understanding and working within the limitations of their condition gives Asperger’s women the best chance at a happy and fulfilled life.
The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, Tony Attwood, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007
Pretending to be Normal, Liane Holliday Willey, Jessica Kinglsey Publishers, 1999