Aspienwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome...Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome - Autism Awareness

Aspienwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome…Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome

Tania Marshall, Autism Studies PhD. student, has compiled a working list of traits women with Asperger Syndrome have.  She compiled this list after working with many women on the spectrum.  The list is based on her clinical anecdotal evidence and research by other well-known professionals. She will be modifying and/or updating this list from time to time. This list is a result of her reflections, observations and experience, and is written in no particular order. Tania states, “No-one person needs to have every trait, and it is rare that a person would identify with every trait.” Everyone is an individual so they will exhibit different traits from another person with the same diagnosis.

Her 18-point profile was created for females who are self-diagnosing or considering formal diagnosis, and to assist mental health professionals in recognizing Asperger Syndrome in adult females. To read Tania’s list or to leave a comment for her, click here.

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  1. Darrell David says:

    Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking blog post about Aspienwomen and their experiences with Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s crucial to shed light on the unique challenges faced by adult women on the autism spectrum and to promote a better understanding of their specific needs. I appreciate the emphasis on moving towards a more comprehensive and accurate female profile of Asperger’s Syndrome, as it highlights the importance of recognizing and supporting the diverse experiences within the autism community. This blog post provides valuable insights for individuals on the spectrum, their families, and professionals working in the field. Keep up the great work!

  2. Jan says:

    My husband and I have raised 2 children on the spectrum and we see the differences between male and female. They were both diagnosed at a well-known university teaching program. Our daughter really struggles with her cycles and usually has a meltdown when it comes. She tends to bait us into an argument and won’t let go. I try to suggest self stimming and comforting videos. This all got worse when she was given an injectable hormone birth control 3 years ago. She is 32 and we have a long way to go til menopause and we are in our 70s. Thanks for the book recommendations. Information is the only way to cope with these problems (and love)

  3. Shamea says:

    I don’t know what to do. My mom came with the conclusion that I might have autism b/c of the things I have been doing since I was little and all I told her was that I trace the outlined shapes of objects, but I only told her that b/c I was wondering why I did it. Then boom out of nowhere she talking about she knows this and that i’m different. I didn’t sleep that night, its just been on my mind heavy, people don’t usually care about the mental health of black women.

  4. Wendy Gardner says:

    Hi Ana, I don’t know how old you are but now in my early 50’s I have a small circle of friends and I only ever meet up with one at a time. And then the next day I have to rest – it’s super tiring being out with people, even if you really like them and were talking about a common interest. You will figure out what works best for you, and how much time and energy you have, and also what things will reload your batteries so to speak. I like to read fiction, take long baths, do creative hobbies like tapestry/sewing and sit in the garden, simple things like that. And remember many people pretend they are happy, when inside they are not.

  5. Wendy Gardner says:

    I got my diagnosis late, in mid forties. My son is on the Spectrum too. Now in hindsight, it’s obvious why so many ‘little’ things have been so tricky.

  6. mike says:

    Let’s not forget also that autism symptoms in adults can look different between men and women. Women are better able to mask their symptoms and fit in, as it were. They are also less likely to be diagnosed, as autism clinical symptoms criteria are still based on autistic males.

  7. Thanks for sharing the tips. I am using this to make others understand

  8. Ana says:

    Hello! I was wondering if I should get evaluated for Asperger’s. my brother has Asperger’s and schizoaffective disorder, it was diagnosed in his college years, he used to receive speech and OT therapy when he was a little kid in school but my mom didn’t follow up after. their is a lot of stigma in the latino community when it comes to mental health. when my brother had his first mental crisis, he had episodes of psychosis and while he was getting treatment throughout the yrs he had these 2 diagnosis. As for me, I always thought (and even my mom) said it once, that she and I would not have expected my brother to be the one with the mental illness but rather me. my brother was very social but very hyperactive, among other stuff. I was the very fragile, quiet and scared girl. I remember as a little girl being happy and playing, but then things started to change in elementary – middle and even more high school. I was extremely timid, had only classmate friends but in high school I was lonely. at first I thought maybe I had ADD because I struggled in elementary school and found myself daydreaming a lot.  yes, I had my group of friends outside of school for about 3 years but they were friends of the family that were introduced to me. in family reunions in Florida, where I do not live, I would not engage with cousins my age, I would prefer to stay with the adults. entering a classroom was very intimidating I felt everyone was looking at me. and I felt awkward in groups and didn’t know what to say or how to stand or what to do with myself. to my embarrassment I still experience this when am with groups but through years I’ve learned to act “properly” or at least hide that from people, although sometimes I notice a person looking at me and they seem to have a look on their face like am being weird. someone once told me to be natural. I don’t really enjoy what people my age (29) or even when I was younger enjoy in terms of clubbing or partying. I like nature more and I dont like long conversations I feel overwhelmed sometimes. in terms of sensory sensitivity yes I am to sounds but I think I can handle it, I dont think it interferes with my life, I think even “normal” people experience this. but I must admit that social situations overwhelm me and drain my energy very often. I always wanted that experience of a best friend, but I never really did. yes I’ve had friends but they seem to be bored of me and I can’t really talk much about stuff. I feel lonely in that sense and in terms of intimacy and having a family of my own. idk if I should get tested, it is scary and I don’t know how to express my emotions. when asked how I feel I say fine, but if its with a therapist I wouldn’t know how to elaborate more on how I feel, I feel like am not really saying what am feeling because I don’t even know what am feeling, I can’t really describe it. when I try to am all over the place. I am so confused 🙁 I definitely have low self esteem though and its something i’ve been working on. 

  9. Lacey says:

    I relate to a lot of the things on the list and have been made aware by people that they think i could have aspergers/Level 1, even my mother jokes about it. The thing is is that i am only 13 and even though i know i relate to a lot of these i don’t want to end up doing them more than normal because im thinking about it, you know? i don’t want to be faking this but i relate to a lot of it.. When i was little i fit in in regards to socally but i would have bursts of emotions, speak to adults instead because they’d listen to the facts i’d learnt and more but at the same time i never had sensory things in regards to clothes or noised, taste and smell. I now don’t like anyone touching me i get freaked out (only two or three of my friends can, my mother cannot). Anyone have advice?

  10. Doylestown psychologist says:

    We need more blogs like this. Psychological problems are not something we like to talk openly about but it is very important to be spoken about considering the seriousness of the issue. Keep up the good work.

  11. Anita says:

    I’d like a formal diagnosis but I can’t find an aspie woman in my town to do so. Can you recommend someone? I’m 32 years old in Bakersfield, CA.

  12. Sabrina says:

    Is it likely to have about 70% of these but be socially “normal” – able to recognize cues, normal tone of voice, etc.? I am also very much not a numbers person. But the rest – reading this legitimately made me cry. 
    I only got a 13 on the AQ which seems exceptionally low, but the vast majority of the items on Tania’s list apply strongly to me. I’ve been trying to fit in my entire life. 
    I also cross-compared with a similar list – got about 67% each time. 

  13. Molly says:

    I’m 22 years old with Aspergers Syndrome.
    For the past 6-8 months I’ve been struggling to find somewhere that could give me an updated diagnostic evaluation in colorado. No success. I wS officially diagnosed in another state when I was 13 but we don’t have it in a official printed documentation. Any of the establishments I look into don’t give diagnostic evaluations for adults with aspergers. Any calls I make go to voice mail or any email I send gets ignored.

    If there is a place where I can be directed to get an evaluation, that would really help.

  14. Christine says:

    Someday I hope we will be categorized not as humans with a disorder, but a different type of person. We will be described:
    We are the truthful ones.
    We have minds capable of vast scientific exploration and reasoning.
    We are not easily swayed by social pressures.
    We are our own judges. We do not want to follow illogical rules merely to fit in.
    We develop differently. Our brains are developing other features when your is beginning to walk and talk.
    We do not like eye contact. It feels like you reading my diary and is painful.
    We say what we mean and hate drama and subtext.
    We can learn almost anything through methodical, persistent pursuit.
    We have extraordinarily keen senses that can be used to our advantage (or can make the world feel like someone shining a screaming flashlight in your eyes).
    We love quiet and solitude. Our brain finally gets to relax from all the pretending.
    Our bodies dissipate extra energy through flaps, wiggles, twirls, nibbles, and claps.
    We can hyper-focus our attention on things WE choose for a very long time and enjoy it immensely.
    There are many positive attributes and sometimes I get saddened at the attempts to make A’s seem weird and deficient. I wish there was a marketing campaign to elevate A’s status and some highlight that many of the most amazing people in the world were likely A’s. “We may be weird, but we got your butts to the moon” 🙂 I do think it is slowly happening for adults (tech is filled with A’s), but kids have it REALLY hard socially (lots of emotional damage in school for being different). What if this difference was looked up to?

    • I think things are slowly changing and there is becoming more awareness around neurodiversity and different ways of thinking. I really like your list – my adult daughter would agree with all of your points.

  15. Katherine Banks says:

    Hi, I am a 39 year old woman who has struggled my entire life. I just tried to get an autism diagnosis from a psychologist here in Kansas City. After virtual testing, it was determined that I am not autistic because I didn’t have developmental delays and because I can have a “normal” conversation and can think creatively. I am so frustrated because I fit nearly EVERY item on both Ms. Marshall’s checklist and Samantha Craft’s. I know deep inside that I am autistic. I can’t explain it. But I *know*. The psychologist was male and was going strictly by different DSM criteria. How should I proceed? I have severe social difficulties, sensory difficulties, severe anxiety and depression, and can’t seem to attain a successful and fulfilling career despite being highly intelligent. I have 2 kids and I want to be a better mom. I want to be able to accept myself even though I have never fit in.

  16. Jessica says:

    I am a 35 year old female with suspected ASD. I would like to be formally diagnosed, but I am unsure of how to go about doing so. One of my main obstacles is verbal communication, to the point of mental cloudiness and it makes it difficult to explain what I want to say. I am wondering if a consultation would be difficult if it required a lot of communication. I tend to freeze up. I would also like to join a support group in an online community. I am not finding any information, so If anyone could direct me to one, that would be appreciated! Thanks!

  17. Jen says:

    Hi, I am trying to find a way to be officially diagnosed with ASD in Charleston, SC. I am having trouble finding an ASD in adults “expert” in my area. I am 45 years old. Do you have any suggestions on how I can go about receiving a diagnosis/testing?

  18. Ayan C. says:

    I don’t want to annoy anyone, but I’m a thirteen year old female who is showing heavy signs of aspergers. Both of my brothers are on the more moderate side of the spectrum, but from about 4 different test results online I’m starting to think that I’m just high functioning. I know my mother would be upset if I said anything about that or tried to talk to the doctor. What do I do? 

  19. Kat says:

    How can I contact Tania for an assessment? I sent an email a while back and didn’t get a reply. Is that typical?

  20. Gilly Robinson says:

    Alexandra, I totally relate to what you say. I was diagnosed with adult ADHD in 2015 (following on from a dx of dyspraxia in 2011). Through continuing to do more research (and because of the difficulties my daughter has had throughout her life) I became increasingly aware of how ASC can present very diffierently in women, and am 95% sure I am also autistic.

    I still need to build up a spreadsheet detailing all my traits and showing how the could possibly be explained away by my ADHD and dyspraxia – or where these still don’t provide answers. (I felt the same prior to learning about my other conditions: there was a fair gap between me learning about the conditions and actually gaining a diagnosis because I needed to feel I had an absolutely watertight case to present to a clinician before I requested a referral (my short term memory is shocking, and my masking excellent, so I do not present as having any difficulties unless you look very closely!). With both the dyspraxia and ADHD I was also 95% sure I had them prior to diagnosis – but getting it rubber stamped by somebody licensed to diagnose feels so important to me.

    One additional factor is that my daughter has struggled in many areas for most of her life, yet been routinely passed over by clinicians. I have had to fight the authorities (in education, in medicine, the police, local authority, social workers etc) which has been exhausting and hugely distressing. Only through my continual pushing did she finally get diagnosed with coeliac disease, major depressive disorder and, finally, autism three months ago tomorrow. (It has also been recognised that she has General Anxiety Disorder, and likely OCD.)

    So I am taking a breather from pursuing a dx of autism for myself as, frankly, I am all done in. But once I have regained some of my energy, and done enough wound-licking, I shall start filling in my traits spreadsheet!

    Never give up.

  21. Brooke says:

    I am the piece that never fit.  I am 35 years old with a 3 year old girl on the spectrum and her diegnosis has changed my life!  I have been diegnosis from the age of 6 into adulthood with every single major neurological disorder out there including Tourette’s syndrome as my first major diegnosis.  I am now struggling as an adult woman of two very young girls and still no answers.  I have PTSD and PPD and now they have slapped a MDD on my wrap sheet.  My entire 35 years have been traumatic and u have never had any time to recover from any of it and now my life is consumed by trying to keep my beautiful girl safe from all I wasn’t.  Both my brothers have undiagnosed aspergers as well.  My mother and grandmother both as well, my uncle who passed too. 

    I have no one to turn too and I’m at my wits end with the entire world thinking the spectrum isn’t what it really is!! I am alone in my struggles even though I know these women like me are out there.  Please reach out I am calling to my ladies in utter desperation 

  22. Alexandra says:

    My twin sister and I were diagnosed with ADD ( before adhd became the diagnosis) I feel there wasn’t enough understanding back then of ASD. I also have a learning disability and struggled throughout school and life. I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety as well. My four year old nephew has been diagnosed with ASD and it has my sister and I further questioning our diagnosis. We always had sensory issues and never talked in home videos until we were 5, we wouldn’t respond to our names like our other sisters. My family  often remarks about how my nephew reminds them of me as a child.  I see the similarities and I’m so happy he has the best support but feel a little sad for myself that I didn’t have the same understanding. I am curious if a lot of other adult women have been questioning their adhd diagnosis, that feel as if it barely stretches the surface of the truth and are struggling to find an affordable way to be tested for ASD. 

    • Alexandra, I am not sure how old you are now, but women have often been misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Women are better at masking (hiding their symptoms). I am not sure where you are located in the world, but there are ways to be diagnosed as an adult. One reason women have been underdiagnosed is because the tests that were developed were based on observing males and females exhibit different symptoms. I just helped another adult woman get a diagnosis after 20 years of no one being able to figure out what they were seeing. I knew it the first day I met her. I am the mother of a young woman with autism so I recognize the gender differences. I also have an adult son on the spectrum.

  23. Cindy de Albuquerque says:

    Hi, Tania. I’ve score 72% of the traits, I’m thinking about pursuing a formal diagnosis, but I’m in Ireland. What do you recommend? Thanks in advance.

  24. Tonya says:

    I took the test for my 27 yo daughter, she scored a 40. She has been diagnosed with sever depression, yet that never explained all her behavior. She now lives with me and I have been able to watch her and take note of her “symptoms “. I have a masters in special ed, and know of autism, I did not however realize there was such a striking difference between males and females with autism. I suspected she might be on the spectrum, but she just wasn’t like the boys I taught. As soon as I can I am getting her to her Doctor and having her tested so I can get her the right type of help. Thank you for helping me see.

    • Tonya, I parent both genders and can tell you firsthand, there are huge differences between genders on the spectrum. Women are underdiagnosed because they are better at masking their symptoms. The diagnostic tests developed have been based on male observation. Here is a really good resource for women on the spectrum – . If you need more information, please feel free to ask me.

  25. Patrick Ledwidge says:

    My partner who’s a aspie suffers a lot from a lot of the things on most pages. But she won’t let me in
    When all I want to do is help her. I love her with all my heart .she is a lovely caring person she was diagnosed at 50 she’s now 53.

  26. present says:

    im female with autism. just got diagnosed with other correlating disorders. I heard sensory issues play a role. I’ve always had trouble with getting cold n the summer because of the “breeze” factor. I never get cold in the winter below 20 or 5 degree whether with high winds and snow. I often wear warmer clothing in the summer and t-shirts in the winter. I was wondering if anyone else struggled with these type of sensory issues….

  27. Alisha says:

    I can’t find the test. I’ve found it before, and wanted to show my mom. She thinks it’s a possibility for her as well.

  28. Adrienne Fraser says:

    I am 70 years old and have recently come to understand that I am autistic, from having read books in which I recognize myself very clearly. Many times in my life I have wondered what was wrong with me. This realization helps me to understand why I behaved in certain ways. It explains a lot. But I don´t know what to do with it. Even recently, just before coming across these books, I sought medical help and wondered why, at my age, I still had not been able to figure out life. It is a consolation, in a sense, to understand that I have had lifelong struggles due to autism, and not to weakness or stupidity, but other than talking to my husband about this newfound knowledge, I don´t know how to have an easier time, so to speak, with the rest of my life. I feel that if I told people they would think I am truly crazy. I have been told so many times that I am too sensitive, too this, too that, too much, too literal, hat this revelation would not lead to good things. I have seen a number of posts by women who were diagnosed or came to this realization as adults but so far, none who are as old as I am.

  29. Cheryl says:

    I recently took the 50 questions aq test (three times)and my scores were 38 ,38,40. I also found a similar checklist for woman elsewhere before this one,and 101/216 were marked by the time I was finished. Im 42 so honestly I’m not sure if i am going to try and find out at this point,but it made so many things make sense to me,esp as a ill see the curiousity will prob drive me nuts if i don’ I also am diagnosed with depression,social and generalized anxiety,panic disorder,and i also have clostrophobia and slight agoraphobia .

  30. Amelie Seath says:

    I am a 37 year-old mother of 3, living in France, currently in the process of getting my 4.5 year-old boy diagnosed with ASD ( high functioning ) and following the advice of a wonderful Aspien Woman I have met through a support group, she has encouraged me to buy the Aspien Girl / Woman books… It looks as though myself and my daughter might also be in on it as well . I recognize a lot of myself in this and my daughter is like a mini version of me in every way except for the fact that she is incredibly talented in drawing 🙂

    I would love to get assessed , I scored 33 AQ but, it is terribly difficult to get an appointment for my kiddo as it is ( as he is verbal and intelligent so, not obvious ) I had to battle with everyone since he was 2 and only now are people starting to take me seriously… I want my daughter to get assessed but, that’s not going to be easy because, she is awesome at masking… Nobody will ever believe it and France is about 50 years behind when it comes to autism…

    Any suggestions you may have so that my 6 year-old girl and myself can get an assessment would be really super helpful!

    Many thanks!

  31. Benny says:

    Hi I  have had a recent insight that my sister is in the spectrum, ADD in 2 other siblings. She’s an amazing artist but she’s always been the odd one out. One of her kids is on the spectrum. She’s over 50.
    I’d like to figure out how to help her. Cause at this rate it’ll be me taking care of her at some point. My other siblings are not the type… 

  32. Deb says:

    I did the tes and got a score of 34. It was suggested that i could have high finctioning autism. I di yhe test three times. My scores were 34, then 40, then 36! I told my 32 yo son who said ” wow mum , that explains a lot!” This surprised me at the time, but after reading all of these stories I can see parallels with my own life. I was always scolded for living on the world of daydreams. My mother said as a baby she couldnt get my attention even if she pinched me hard on the bottom. This is repeated constantly through my life. I have gluten intolerance, latex and sulfur drug allergies, anxiety, agoraphobic tendencies, i had borderline anorexia in my early adult years, have never been able to keep close friends but can make new friends easily, Im painfully shy. I cant go out without a family member because of the threat of an anxiety attack. Im a great story writer. I played dolls by making clothes for them and always envied my brother getting train sets instead of dolls etc. Am very good at accounting, computers, databases, spreadsheeting and bookkeeping programs. I have a deep interest in nutrition. I draw and paint well. I LOVE music and have a good ear for tone, and can sing, (but not in public of course). I choke up in latge company or if i am in the limelight, can’t go to exams without great personal effort. Thats only the beginning, and I now know whyy hubby and I don’ t see eye to eye most of the time. I also remember full events from early childhood onwards. I talk too much and too soon after meeting someone. Wow, there is a lot when I write it all down. I don’t have adhd but I do have insomnia and depression and anxiety. I am now 54. I have a very high IQ. I wish I had known earlier

  33. Pamela Tufnell says:

    Hi Tania I think we get on more with boys coz women are too emotional up a d down we need stability also I think Asperger’s in women is caused by too much testosterone before and during birth

  34. Belinda says:

    I too feel like this & extremely misunderstood too, even @ work with my own family they don’t understand me, I often don’t bother even telling people my problems as they don’t listen anyway, I just pretend I have gr8 friends, I have go friends BUT I have opened up to one of them & she told me I made her depressed fat lot of help she was, even helpline hopeless as if I try to explain like this, these books here have they been checked as not good books for school kids & the office lady well they have been checked & ok, I don’t think they had been I can’t explain myself real well without getting upset so I said oh gr8 & took them & threw them in the big bin outside, thankfully they were never ever missed, but I do this lots it helps me cope as I say what the person doesn’t know won’t hurt them, I am a real loner too, I get up @ 5 am even on weekends & go for a half an hour walk & swimming by myself as anyone that knows me doesn’t go then, sad & lonely but easier to cope this way, my best friends are books & I get on better with strangers as they don’t know me so well, hard living there are only 5 people that understand me, I even hide sumtimes when people cum in I don’t know as they laugh @ me, I hate being like this but only way to cope, we have a car with tinted windows too sumtimes I will sit in here & read a book & people watch luv this

  35. Helen Spencer says:

    Are there any ABSOLUTE  common denominators between people with Aspergers Syndrome? 
    There are so many traits that l find it difficult to decipher what is AS as opposed to personality traits and/or mental health issues. 

  36. Eric says:

    Recently a lovely lady in the dance community reached out to me and we have been spending time together, much to my enjoyment, but she seems a bit odd. She reminds me of one of my other friends in the dance community, and he is a bit odd too, a self identifying Asperger’s person, so I began wondering if she is also somewhere on the spectrum.
    I am not sure where the relationship is going to, but I would like to understand her better; not that I am afraid, more about making the best of the relationship with an interesting woman. Whether we are just friends, or become more than friends, I like her a lot and would like to know how best to meet her needs. Any advice you have would be appreciated. The situation does not lend itself to my normal courtship practices, so I don’t want to make any blunders.

  37. Hedwig says:

    At nearly 60 my daughter said that she was going to be assessed as after stumbling across an article/webite about women with Aspergers and how she recognised herself and her struggles; I was drawn also to research (and lost sleep when doing so). I found that I identified with the Asperger in women traits and found myself laughing in recognition of my behaviours. If I do not have a trait that is said to be typical, does that mean that I am probably not on the spectrum?

    • Because every person is an individual, not all people will have all of the traits listed. When an assessment is done for an ASD diagnosis, many aspects are taken into consideration. For example – sensory issues, communication concerns, relationships, friendships, ability to hold down a job, anxiety levels, mental health issues and the list goes on. No person will display every trait listed for Asperger Syndrome. You also have to take into account that the diagnostic tests developed so far are not specific to females so some traits may be missed with the current tests that are in use.

  38. Mar says:

    My son was recently diagnosed and I kept wondering ‘how did I not notice?’.  I mean, I knew there were difference, but not asd. And now, the more I read about women on the spectrum, the more I think ‘oh gosh! That sounds so much like me!’ I don’t really feel the need to pursue a formal diagnosis, but it does seem to make sense that the constant headaches I’ve experienced for years would rise from constantly managing the noise in my head. 

  39. Amanda Witt says:

    Heidi, you’ll find with a formal label/diagnosis, that it should then be accepted by universities/colleges etc. I still had trouble getting mine to understand exactly what I struggled with, but had the diagnosis and psychologist reports to back me up.

  40. Eddie Hughs says:

    One of the ways that labels help is by alerting neurotypical people to the fact that the ASD individual they’re working or interacting with isn’t trying to be difficult to communicate with, and that this individual cannot simply suck it up and snap out of it. If nothing else, the label is really helpful by informing the neurotypical of just “how” different this other person is and how to communicate or work with them in ways that become a win-win for both of them. Labels help a lot when a person’s disability is a “hidden” condition. In other words, what you see and experience on the surface in a person who has a high-functioning autistic
    spectrum disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome is only the tip of the iceberg.

  41. Barbara C. says:

    I’m a 70 year old female. I came across some information on Asperger’s by accident which led to more research on this interesting syndrome. I often stop what I’m doing to research something that has caught my interest. My interests are vast and varied from classification of birds to mapping the universe, from brain function after a concussion to global warming of the Arctic, comparing religions of the world to foot binding in ancient China. It never stops.

    I managed to squeak by with a high school education and spent the rest of my life self-educating. At 70 I can study anything I want without feeling the need to give excuses about a messy house or living in my PJs or turning down social invitations. My family calls me quirky, others call me weird and worse. I’ve spent far too much of my life worrying about others’ opinions of me.

    I’ve often tried to count how many jobs I’ve had and how many different places I’ve lived. I stopped counting at 25 to 30 mainly because I couldn’t figure out why I did this and realized I wasn’t doing my son any favours by dragging him around to different schools and neighbourhoods. If only we could go back in time.

    About labeling yourself, one commenter (pluma) wrote “You will find yourself being ostracized, othered, feared, seen as mentally ill and possibly dangerous, too much trouble to employ.” As much as I would like to tell others there is a reason I do the things I do, I have to agree with pluma. It’s unfair but it is true.

    By reading the attached article and comments on this thread I’ve found a wonderful sense of peace and acceptance never before felt. Thank you to all.

  42. Fran says:

    It’s hard to find others who can relate. I camouflaged heavily in childhood, and then was misdiagnosed/diagnosed continuously in my early 20’s (ED, BPD, Bipolar, G Anxiety, Social Anxiety, ADHD). I’ve been trying to decide on having the formal diagnosis for autism done or not (the ultimate cause of all other diagnosis). I am not sure if it’s worth the cost, unfortunately it is expensive. Luckily, after many excruciating years I finally have accepted myself and can be myself – though I have many scars from the journey that still impact me and my current relationships (it’s my baggage, perhaps). I’m trying to move past these wounds, but it has been so hard. I have a huge heart, I love so deeply, and relationship after relationship I struggle with communicating my feelings effectively, jealousy, overthinking ever interaction/facial expression/body movement of my partner, and general sensitivity to the environment. My partner finds it jarring, which I completely understand, and yet so much of it feels outside of my control. He is very loving and accepting of who I am, which I’m grateful for. I feel badly that I put him through my emotions as times, I feel terrible that my social confusion (and subsequent fear) leads to worry or paranoia and makes him feel that I’m questioning who he is, and his intentions. I know he is on my side, and yet I don’t make him feel that way always – he feels I’m unpredictable (especially when I become emotionally overloaded and shut down) – which I probably am. I am not sure how a diagnosis would help me, unfortunately it is hard to find support groups, or people who do understand more easily. It would be wonderful if some amount of validation/support could be accessible more readily. I try to hold self-compassion close these days, and yet it’s flimsy and waivers. It’s hard to accept that this seems to be my pattern in intimate relationships, and I truly do love this wonderful man I’m with.

  43. Cat says:

    Although I have had this overwhelming battle of thought, emotion and stagnation of being pressing upon me from a time to little to remember, I have never spoken of it to a single creature . I am a true chameleon. I laugh just like you, talk just like you, express the same passions just like you. I mimic and portray all of your strengths and the world sees me that way….
    …thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this site,  for today I don’t feel so alone. 

  44. Stenna says:

    I don’t get it: why do you have to have a label? Just live your different life (everyone is different). Labels benefit only the medical and pharmaceutical industry. Serious question? Why seek a label? Your brain is different from everyone else’s brain which is different from everyone else’s.

    • Alisha says:

      why label? speaking for me, as humans we naturally seek validation support and connection with peers and other people in general,we NEED it. growing up aspergers building those relationships,avoiding toxic ones,and filtering communicating emotions can be very hard.even faking it u can end up coming across an asshole on accident constantly.effects self esteem the “why does everyone hate me” “why am i so misunderstood” “i just want a real friend” and anxiety and depression can result if unrealized. saying autistic people are all antisocial isnt right,even super social autistic and less social autistic people need human relationships like everyone else,without the diagnosis or label its harder to work on behaviors and things that can greatly improve a persons ability to navigate the world and build connections. my aspergers was ignored for years and misdiagnosed,ive stayed away from medications after they would severly make things worse,im a functioning adult ,high functioning and i figured life out on my own,but its still really hard and i cant figure out why my whole life ive been so unwillingly isolated ,now with the correct diagnosis, i can pin point problem areas and work on them and find ways to help me and make things less difficult.i can really live my best life. thats why label.

    • Alisha, thank you for such a thoughtful and insightful post. You made some excellent points on why a label can be helpful. I am sure your post will help a lot of people.

  45. Heidi says:

    I have just come from the therapist office with the plan to test me for Aspergers. I am 43 years old and just never seemed to be able to take care of myself, even though I know how I am supposed to do. A lot on this list resonates with me and I find myself hoping that the test will show that I do have Aspergers so maybe finally I can get some tools that can help me manage my life. I’ve jumped in and out of educations and jobs, never really being able to stick to anything even though I intellectually was very capable. 

    • Heidi, you will find that receiving a diagnosis will help you better understand yourself and get the right supports. Just take things in small steps so that you don’t get overwhelmed. This is a lifelong journey.

    • pluma says:

      If you gotten this far on your own, without being labelled, why change that? There is no treatment which will change what you can do to help yourself, just because you are now labelled. You will find yourself being ostracized, othered, feared, seen as mentally ill and possibly dangerous, too much trouble to employ.

  46. PAULINE TUNNEY says:

    spot on..all General practioners and so called “Psychologists” should read this..

  47. Peta says:

    I am 50 this year and my experience is so similar to yours it is uncanny. Reading about adult women with Autism has made me finally feel like I fit in somewhere in this world. Thank You. P

  48. StraightJacketJ says:

    I wish the psychologists in Australia has this level of awareness. Women are different and I have been to so many doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists, none of who will recognize Aspergers in women other than the most obvious and severe childhood cases. I’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, acute anxiety disorder, PTSD, major depressive disorder, dyslexia, OCD. No two doctors can agree and all of my traits fall directly in line with Aspergers, but because I don’t present like the male in traits, I am told I am wrong. It is very disheartening to hear a description of yourself so completely accurate and be told that it doesn’t apply to you because it doesn’t fit into the linear model of what it is. Aspergers isn’t a linear occurrence. I am struggling to find help, but because I am not allowed to be diagnosed, I miss out on the support groups to cope with living in a neurotypical world. I don’t know how much longer I will be able to exist this way.

    • There needs to be diagnostic tests devised for women and girls. One of our world experts in this field is Dr. Ruth Aspy. Google her name and you can see some of her work. I am also starting to see more books published specifically addressing the needs of women on the spectrum. The field is evolving and I am hopeful. I also parent a daughter with autism so I understand what you are talking about.

    • jess says:

      There is Melbourne clinic for women and girls on the ASD spectrum. They specialise in assessing women. I highly recommend researching for a clinic that may suit you.

    • Peter Love says:

      Am terribly sorry to ( read ) hear about what you’re going through—- suffering with… I, too, am afflicted ( i’m A male ) and it’s painful having to endure all this misunderstanding, etc. you just so often feel left alone in the dark…

    • Lise Banks says:

      I too am struggling with life and have always considered myself clinically depressed. I’ve never fitted in, I feel awkward and different but anybody that knows me would never guess. I’m 52 years old and continue to be unhappy, so much so that Sunday just gone having drank to oblivion I slashed my wrists and ended up with stitches. I have a 12 year old with suspected autism and things have been tremendously difficult. I just felt, I can’t carry on being this unhappy and not knowing why. I started to suspect Asperger’s after my ex husband asked me to watch a documentary about adults with suspected autism. I kept saying, ‘’I do that!’ Etc! He kept saying ‘yep, keep watching’ However, certain things still didn’t quite add up until I read this article. I can relate to so many of the traits! I’ve always thought I was strange and pathetic, I’ve hated myself all my life as ‘I just don’t fit!’ I’m great at acting ok but by god I get exhausted. I’m constantly self destructing and feel helpless. Reading the article/traits has certainly made me think. Now, maybe I can accept I’m who I am and weak or pathetic. I’d love to know, what to do with this information in regards to dealing with traits and wonder if there is advice on moving forward. 

    • Melinda Albers says:

      Omg i hear yiu, i was told i couldn’t have Aspergers because i was aware id struggled my whole life. I havent been to see anyone since because i felt like a fake!

    • Alisha says:

      Dont give up! i had the same problem and i had a case worker for 11 years who was trying so hard to help me,and after so many different therapists i found one who took me seriously and agrees with me and it took a long time to get that far. do your research the symptoms like bipolar downs they can misinterpret wha tu say make sure u know the difference between a rage fit and a sensory meltdown and things of that nature to better describe them to the phycologists if u have ticks,rocking opacing,in meltdowns banging head off of wall ect that are okay or some of them dangerous,bring them up. as well. u will be heard some day but until then to better help u understand urself research it as much as possible and read first hand stories of how other aspies managed meltdowns,social situations ect and apply them to urself. it can improv eur life even without the diagnosis just enough tha tit might help u then better communicate ur needs.hope thaat helps! more and more is being figured out about autism years ago it was hard to diagnose sever cases now so many can be diagnosed high functioning too and its wonderful. 50 percent of women go undiagnosed who are in fact aspies. many people go there whole lives without a diagnosis and do fine. but when u know and ur trying to help others realize what u know it can be depressing,dont let it depress you.know that ur not alone,theres online support,and u can keep truckin’

  49. Brandie says:

    This list is incredibly relatable for me. As a small child I was in special education classes until the fourth grade when my reading level jumped to a ninth grade proficiency. I remember that I was somewhat always daydreaming as I was/am very shy and uncomfortable in groups of people. Reading became an addiction for me, and then onto writing. However I never fared well with math. There were a lot of traumatic events in my childhood, sexual abuse, domestic abuse between my parents, drug abuse and thus I always associated those things with my withdrawn behaviors as a child. However, I never grew out of withdrawing. I’ve found it impossible to stay with one job for more than two years, even though I would excel and pride myself on perfection. I’ve had issues using alcohol to cope with a lot of things. I’ve been diagnosed with Generalized anxiety disorder as well as bipolar disorder and do not currently take medication. I was incarcerated recently and had to request risperiodal as it was the only antipsychotic medication available. If I hadn’t had that medication I couldn’t have made it through without a fight because I was forced to constantly be in a group of chit chatting, loud strangers. I graduated high school after dropping out and going back. My ability to write poetry and prose has been the source of my goals in life and I still plan to make something of all this. I have a daughter and a family history of misdiagnosed mental illness so despite my fear of making phone calls and seeking out help for myself, I want to be prepared if she turns out like me. My parents and apparently my teachers didn’t notice anything about me early on other than that I was quiet, shy, and soft spoken. I feel now that there was always more to it than that. And my self soothing tics, I have a couple.

    • Peter Love says:

      Hi. Am really quite inspired and uplifted by what I’d just read about you and your remarkable striving to get up in this world—-all that you’ve said is really quite inspiring! It really must’ve tough and most challenging at times. I too was reading at the third and fourth grade level way back when I was only in kindergarten . . . It was rather amazing, to my parents and to teachers and what-have you . . . I hope life and the road ahead brings you an abundance of good fortune with whatever you desire and wish to accomplish— God bless you!!

  50. Dawn says:

    After reading your article and the list of symptoms, the questions to my personal life puzzle seem to make a lot more sense. What a relief to know that I am not alone after all.
    Now I should go be diagnosed to confirm my self diagnosis . Thank you

  51. Bethany says:

    I am 36 years old and have spent the last several years trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. At first I thought it was gluten intolerance, then brain damage from surviving meningitis when I was a child, then I thought it was AD/HD, then I thought it was because I was homeschooled, then I thought it might all just be depression. Last night I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a young autistic woman describing some misunderstandings of autism in females. I could relate to a lot of things she said. Since then I’ve been looking for as much information as possible. I can tick a lot of boxes on Tania’s list. I did an autism test online, but it appears I don’t fit the description of an autistic person because I’m terrible at math, love reading fiction & am quite good in social interactions and very good with words.  I just want to know why I have had such a hard time in life and why I’m different. I feel if I had a diagnosis that would answer some if the questions, it could help me cope better and help me forgive myself. If anyone has any advice of what to do next, please help!

    • Bethany – if you want to send me an e-mail to I can give you more direction. I have to ask you some questions so that I can pinpoint the resources in the area where you live in order to help you.

    • Sally says:

      Hi Bethany,
      I have had a similar experience to you. I had bacteria meningitis when I was a child and have spent my life wondering about the possibility of brain damage. I’ve always felt different and during my school years I always felt a step behind everyone else.
      Recently there has been more research in the area concerning the after effects of meningitis known as Acquired Brain Injury ABI. There is a great website which has great information on the topic. 
      I’m also going to see a neurologist in the hopes that they will be able to shed some light.  Good luck.

    • Tali says:

      I came here just to understand people with autism better after I saw a reddit thread that mentioned how females with autism have different symptoms, I generally like to know things like that because I don’t want to be ignorant of the struggles other people can have. I always suspected my brother might be on the spectrum too as he shows some of the more obvious and ‘typical’ behaviours.

      Now I read your comment and feel a bit overwhelmed because that sounds like me a lot. I know I had a lot of tics as a child, my mother still teases me with that sometimes, loud people, applause in theatres, trains, all that still just makes me want to curl up and cry and I don’t know why. I always thought I am on the opposite of autism, if there was something like that, because I am good with people and words, I like to twist a sentence around so long until I’m sure it contains every aspect of what I want to express in exactly the right way, but then lose track of what the conversation was about. Like just now, I guess… I’ve had so many different meds for depression without them helping and therapy was mostly an unpleasant experience. Now I’m 29 and I still did not learn a trade, I dropped out of school right before the final exam, and I wonder why I will just not function as is expected of me. Anyway… I think writing this down helped a bit just now, and reading your experience has done so, too. I’m not sure if I even want to go in that direction and be diagnosed, but I guess no matter what the results are it might help me progress. If someone has any German sources for that it would be much appreciated, too.

    • Michelle says:

      Bethany and Sally- I also had bacterial meningitis as a baby and have often wondering if the things I struggle with are related to that. 

      Sally- did you find any answers at the neurologist? 

  52. Sadie Curtis says:

    I am 19 and am self diagnosed. Is there any online support groups for young aspie women?

  53. Robin Welsh says:

    This site and the attached article resonate deeply with me. My husband I have a 16 year old daughter who has a diagnosis of aspergers, learning disabilities (several), and she self diagnoses ADHD. 

    School has been almost completely a no-oo for several years now and she is very worried to the point of severe anxiety and depression about her future. Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to address the school issues, trying tutoring, modified courses, and many other things to no avail.

    But, she loves soccer and thankfully is a great goalie, playing at the rep level locally for several years now. It is the only thing keeping her and us going. She also love music and plays several instruments, but she cannot not read music and this causes her untold stress, to the point where she gave playing in an award-winning band.

    As you can see, she is very gifted, but anxious in any visible or social situation. And avoidance has become her main strategy which only makes things wors. To date, soccer has been the only thing she hasn’t given up on, but we fear that may go soon because she is having more and more diIfficulty relating to the other girls. 

  54. Pamela Davis says:

    I am a 62 year old woman who has been diagnosed with ADHD, depression and anxiety. I have always ADHD, but when I was young they just called inattentive, antsy, misbehaving!  In first grade a teacher put me under a table wrapped paper around it and made be sit under so I would not disturb the others! Thank you for all your insight into. This subject! I can relate to so much of these characteristics!

    • Thank you for sharing your story. We understand a lot more now about ADHD. It is through understanding that people learn better ways of helping those with a diagnosis. There is still bad practice out there, but things are getting better on the whole.

  55. Jennifer says:

    I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in Gr.4 and as a child I was bullied. It has been quite the journey and I am so glad to know that there are other adult women on the Spectrum and that I am not alone. I am 25 and graduated in 2009 with my Gr.12 diploma and in 2016with my Early Childhood Education Level 2 certificate. I also am very musical; I started playing the piano when I was 4. Does anyone else find that you experience extreme anxiety going to social events with large groups of people? 

    • Congratulations on all that you have accomplished. You have done so well for yourself even with all of the challenges you have had to face. You are an inspiration! My daughter, who will be 18 next month, suffers from extreme social anxiety and can’t speak around large groups of people. She wants to focus on puppets and working with cats. When she has a puppet on her hand, she can speak with confidence. She also has found her voice around cats.

      There are some good book resources out there to help work on alleviating anxiety. It’s important to develop self-calming tools and find ways to relax. It is a process and not something that can be learned quickly.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your story.

  56. Jasmine Jones says:

    I’ve just started a job as a supported living scheme manager and have worked as a support worker for about 12 years. Over the years through my work with people on the spectrum I have begun to wonder if I do indeed have aspergers syndrome. I recently began working with a male aspergers client and I can see some similarities in mental process to myself it’s the first time I’ve really worked with someone who is so able to explain the way he thinks. This article has left me with more questions I guess, I did take an AQ test and scored 23 which would indicate I do not have it, however I felt the test was more oriented towards the male perspective rather than female. Thank you for posting this list it is most useful

  57. Samantha Million says:

    I am self diagnosed for 5 years now. My son was diagnosed at 3 1/2 years old.I have done some research as well as ask my family about any health conditions that could conjunt with the cognitive blessing; and found that my mother had some health issues involving her pancreas during pregnancy. I was a full-term gestation baby and was born with spinal meningitis and treated. I have my fathers blood type A- and my mother has O+. I have always been hypersensative and extremely empathic. At 34 now I do have a few issues with deciding what direction to take because an unexpected trauma occured in my life 2 years ago involving an accident during my own pregancy at 7 months along. During that time I worked in a nursing enviroments with the ill. I continued working in that environment for 8 more months. I choose nursing 7 years ago and it was like I found my true purpose in life and gained wisdom that I will pass to my son. The problem is after losing my child,totaling my vechicle and dealing with major issues within a romantic relationship I was deeply integrated into. I was facing immediate debt, Realization that the relationship I was struggling with was much worse then I could imagine, while grieving and working in a hospice nursing setting.The overload was so great that I lost all of my senses everything but motor skills and sight. I was completely blank at 32 and isolated myself because after all of the intensity. I am definitely a person of routine amd completly methodical about everything I do. I gain the courage to seek support from longterm friends I knew because I enjoyed singing at a local bar. I walked in and got about 12 feet and It felt like I could feel everyone and was extremely difficult to cope with because I spent several years practicing Tae Kwon Do with my mother and older sister which helped with any aggressive tendencies that I developed thoughout childhood.I almost feel as if I became more intuitively sensative then I have ever been and that it was filling up my learn tank but through a more spiritual aspect.I deal with fleeting depression currently; but my thirst to go back to school and finish my nursing degree is stronger then ever. But I am currently having major anxieties and overwhelming reservations about the thought or action of being in a medical setting that implys that I am the healer and not the sick. I will finish my education to become a practionor as soon as I can get it started with honors; but how do I make myself take that step again? I have always been a perfectionist and have always expressed unconditional love. I just want to make sure that it will be effectual and graciously excepted. 

    • Renee Sorrell says:

      I have been seeing a counselor for about 6 months now because I suspected that I had Aspergers and now it is definitely confirmed that I do. I am an RN, have been practicing for about 9 years. I feel I am really good with my patients, but working with other nurses has been a huge struggle. Now that I know why I am a little different, I’m anxious to get started back into the career but also a little nervous. I’ve had more negative experiences rather than positive. I am currently staying at home with my 2 young daughters. I think that women with Aspergers can be very good at nursing, but I needed a lot of down time after my shifts. Just something to consider. Now that I have children, I barely get any downtime. Its hard sometimes.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. One thing you might want to consider if you decide to return to work is ask if your shifts can be shorter or move to part-time work. Many people on the spectrum find it hard to be “on” and engaged for long periods of time which a typical 8 – 12 hour nursing shift would require. Women with AS can be very good at nursing! Being observant of details around a patient’s health can help ensure their comfort and recovery. I know someone on the spectrum who got her nursing degree and she is now a speaker, write and blogger – Judy Endow. You should investigate her blog which is brilliant – .

  58. Kris Schaffer says:

    You may have just saved my life

    • Judith says:

      Blessings to you Kris. I hope you are well these days (seen your post 4.5 years later!) I’m just discovering my Aspergerness with a diagnosis at age 48, tho I feel stuck at about age17.. it’s been a rough road..but this explains a lot for which I’m feeling relieved and grateful and gotta figure out how to best proceed… but knowing that there are many of us out there even if it’s only 1% of the population or whatever, that’s still a lot of sisters to discover.. and brothers too tho apparently it can be a bit different experience for men.
      Love to you anyway and best wishes for peace, confidence, support and happiness

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