For decades, the scientists and autism researchers have been studying the appearance of autism among boys and men. But recently, we found that new studies have been launched among the women and girls.
It’s been a long time since people thought that autism is a male disease, but studying boys and girls separately ignores gender diversity and perpetuates gender stereotypes.
“There’s been a myth that autism only exists in boys, or that it’s biologically more common for boys and men to be autistic than girls and women,” Emily Brooks (a writer, public speaker and advocate, was diagnosed on the spectrum as an adult) said. “Some of the larger organizations kind of perpetuate this myth by having [campaigns] like ‘Light it Up Blue,’ with blue representing four times more boys than girls being on the spectrum. I think as a culture we just kind of got caught in the idea that being autistic is a male thing, when really, it’s just another way of being human.”
Being autistic, Brooks was invited to take part in one autism research and when she looked into it, she was told it was for men only, so they had fewer women participating. Studying autism in males separately from autism in females is a disadvantage because autism issues go beyond the question of male and female-focused research.
Emily Brooks also mentioned, that I end up feeling kind of stuck in the middle, and unsure where to go or which is my community. What I’m worried about is that because scientists and researchers and doctors and medical professionals are trying so hard to figure out what autism looks like in girls and women that they’re going to accidentally end up coming up with a gender stereotyped idea of ‘girl autism’ versus ‘boy autism.'”