Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Women with autism: members on two fronts of ‘non-dominant group’

Graphic: "I am one of 252 girls with autism"
Infographic by Landon Bryce: 1 of 252 girls in U.S. has autism
I enrolled last night for HEED 203, “Women’s Health Issues,” for Spring 2013. This course will satisfy general ed requirements to earn me an associate’s degree in Library and Information Technology.

 I am interested in the welcome letter’s description of the course: identifying obstacles of access to women’s health care to members of non-dominant groups. This emphasis intrigues me because as a woman (and adult) on the autism spectrum, I am a member of a non-dominant group on two fronts.

Dr. Tony Attwood stated in Asperger’s and Girls (Future Horizons, 2006) that the overwhelming majority of referrals for diagnostic assessment are boys:
“The ratio of males to females is around 10:1, yet the epidemiological research for Autism Spectrum Disorders suggests that the ratio should be 4:1.”
I more recently encountered references of 4:1 for diagnostic assessments.

Autism prevalence rates released this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that one in 88 children in the United States has autism. The autism rate for boys was estimated at one in 54 and the rate for girls was estimated at one in 252.

Secondly, autism is spoken of almost exclusively as a condition impacting children -- even though a study in 2009 by England’s National Health Service indicates that roughly one in 100 adults are on the autism spectrum.

Next-to-no attention is paid to adults -- here and now -- who are on the autism spectrum. Since being diagnosed, I have worked to raise the profile of adults and women on the spectrum.

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