Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? The “blessed autistic.” How do I justify being a blessed lady autistic? Because I got my autism diagnosis in childhood, that’s how. I was semi-diagnosed at three. My mother got the confirmation at eight. I did not know it then, but I am lucky. Most women receive their autism diagnosis in adulthood, when they have lived a large portion of their lives being misunderstood, targeted and most likely raped and abused.
Here is my story: “She’s one of ours!” Was the exclamation one doctor called to the other when they were examining me. Of course, I was on the other side of the one-way mirror. Anyway, it’s a hard road I traveled, but consider this: I was confirmed different. I did not realize this through the teenage years, but being different gave me a freedom to be weird. If I did not understand people, it could go back to my diagnosis. If I acted weird, it was explained by my diagnosis. Sure, I may have to fight for my rights, but there is a freedom to having an explanation as to why. So, why are we not getting these diagnosis to the women who are autistic until they have lived maybe half their lives in pain?
Here is the problem: most of my fellow lady autistics do not receive their diagnosis until adulthood, sometimes late adulthood. Susan Boyle revealed her diagnosis at 52. I assume she had got it recently, but my mother and I could spot it almost immediately. I have also heard of diagnoses being delayed until 68 years old for one case. Most of the bloggers who claim autism and are female are self-diagnosed, and have yet to receive their paper diagnosis. I say I am blessed because I had a woman in my corner who wanted what was best for me, fighting against people who did not want to put a stigmatizing “label” on me. So, lying to me and tossing me out to a society I do not understand to be raped and abused is better? You people throughout my childhood who fought doing anything for me, you absolutely suck.
So, what is the problem with getting a diagnosis to a girl in time to help her? Why, sexism of course. “You can’t be autistic! You’re a girl/woman!” Is a common statement made to autistic women who are trying to get their paper diagnosis. That above statement defines the textbook definition of something wrong. You can be autistic and be a woman. Ask me. I think there is not enough study, training or education concerning autistic women. Besides, the study of autism is definitely skewed towards the most privileged individuals in society – the rich white male. Also, there is a false theory that the autistic brain is masculine. Perhaps there has not been enough study of autistic women to help find the members of autism’s lost tribe.
Why did they not study me, if I was such a rarity? I got some study and tests in elementary school, but besides standardized testing, it stopped there. Why not track my interests? Why not study my behaviors? What, is there not enough money, or not enough priority? I suspect that John Lennon’s statement “Woman is the ni**er of the world” is also the same with autism. This is the textbook definition of intersectional prejudice. Autistic women are ignored because we are not male enough, or neurotypical enough. Until we value women and neurodiversity, I suspect I will be one of the few blessed lady autistics to get her diagnosis in childhood.