Sunday, August 19, 2007

What Autistic Girls Are Made Of

What Autistic Girls Are Made Of is an excellent piece published in the NYT Magazine earlier this month that explores the differences between boys and girls with autism. As stated in this rare gem, girls and women on the spectrum are a grossly under researched and under served subset in the autism community.

I found the descriptions of young girls with Asperger's and autism to be accurate reflections of my experience as the mother of two girls on the spectrum.

I enjoyed the piece and was grateful to see some attention being turned to girls and women. I have speculated for years that the ratio of 4:1, boys: girls, is not a figure that has been irrefutably proven as fact. I think it is far more likely that females are simply undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because they present differently than their male counterparts and societal norms allow for their unique traits to be overlooked more easily.

I have to admit that the accounts of what young women face were not exactly encouraging. I cried a little bit, both for those girls and my own. All Jimmy and I can do is keep fighting for them and working with them. I know that their futures are secure in the Lord. That He has not carried them this far only to abandon them at the precipice of adulthood. Despite understanding these truths intellectually, my heart heaves when I think about what the future could hold for them.

For our family.

For me.

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13:2-6


Blogger Kim Stagliano said...

Oh yeah. I have three girls on the spectrum. It was very sad to read the grim stats "Almost no females marry." But then I realize that so many articles, especially in the NYT, which I usually love, portray autism as untreatable. I choose to focus on what I can do for my own girls RIGHT NOW to help them move as far along the spectrum as possible. What else would a mother do? Lament and pull my hair out and cry "me poor lady?" "Not I" said the first little pig. I'll keep walking the beach turning over every stone I can find to help my kids. And if I can help other Moms do the same? Even better. And Dads too.

11:05:00 AM  
Blogger supposedly susan said...

I also wonder whether these young women and girls have had the opportunities to receive the help that my two have. I am hanging my hat on the possibility that they have not and that my girls' futures are wide open.

"I choose to focus on what I can do for my own girls RIGHT NOW to help them move as far along the spectrum as possible."

One of the blessings I have found in our autism adventure has been learning how to live in the now. Treasuring today, rather than forever looking to tomorrow for satisfaction. Of course thinking about the future is necessary and sometimes uncomfortable, but I enjoy the freedom from its constant beckoning.

2:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susan, you helped me learn to live in the now though your words and your beautiful girls. I miss you and you and your family are often in my thoughts and prayers. Love ya...Sheri(TCO)

9:41:00 PM  
Blogger Dadof6Autistickids said...

I found an 'Autism guide' for parents and teachers on the website of the National Education Association (NEA). It has a LOT of good info that parents should make sure their school district and teachers of your children have AND use. I thought you and or your readers would find it useful.

I have more details and the link on our blog.

Good luck!

12:00:00 AM  
Blogger Ashley loves Leo said...

Hi Susan. Time for an update! I look forward to hearing all about the girls so far this year. I also love this blog I just found, and thought you'd enjoy it too - a mom of a 15 year old boy! The mom writes beautifully!

8:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Robyn (houlenberg) said...

Susan, I hope you are doing well. I miss talking to you and seeing/hearing what you have to say. You have such a beautiful way with words. I hope you and your family is doing well. Miss ya!

- Robyn (houlenberg)

6:47:00 AM  

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