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16 Overlooked Autistic Traits In Women

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We hear a lot about “autism moms”, but Taylor Heaton is an autistic mom, diagnosed as an adult, and she has insights to share about overlooked autistic traits in women.

The Traits

  • Difficulty navigating romantic relationships: often due to misreading signs
  • Difficulty understanding things: including the above, but mostly: difficulty understanding subtext, when people leave things as “surely obvious”. Autistic women are likely to be aware of the possible meanings, but unsure which it might be, and may well guess wrongly.
  • Masking: one of the reasons for the gender disparity in diagnosis is that autistic women are often better at “masking”, that is to say, making a conscious effort to blend in to allistic society—often as a result of being more societally pressured to do so.
  • Honesty: often to a fault
  • Copy and paste: related to masking, this is about consciously mirroring others in an effort to put them at ease and be accepted
  • Being labelled sensitive and/or gifted: usually this comes at a young age, but the resultant different treatment can have a lifetime effect
  • Secret stims: again related to masking, and again for the same reasons that displaying autistic symptoms is often treated worse in women, autistic women’s stims tend to be more subtle.
  • Written communication: autistic women are often more comfortable with the written word than the spoken
  • Leadership: autistic women will often gravitate to leadership roles, partly as a survival mechanism
  • Gaslighting: oneself, e.g. “If this person did this without that, then I can to” (without taking into account that maybe the circumstances are different, or maybe they actually did lean on crutches that you didn’t know were there, etc).
  • Inner dialogue: rich inner dialogue, but unable to express it outwardly—often because of the sheer volume of thoughts per second.
  • Fewer female friends: often few friends overall, for that matter, but there’s often a gender imbalance towards male friends, or where there isn’t, towards more masculine friends at least.
  • Feeling different: often a matter of feeling one does not meet standard expectations in some fashion
  • School: autistic women are often academically successful
  • Special interests: often more “socially accepted” interests than autistic men’s.
  • Flirting: autistic women are often unsure how to flirt or what to do about it, which can result in simple directness instead

For more details on all of these, enjoy:

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Related reading:

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Miss Diagnosis: Anxiety, ADHD, & Women

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