Empowering Autistic Girls and Women

Autism in Teenage Girls

 teen by a window

Teenage girls that are on the spectrum can sometimes be a real handful and are often labelled as disruptive and badly behaved and  then again they can be so socially isolated that it is painful to watch them not fitting in socially .Its hard enough being a teenager without having the difficulties that arise due to your challenges .

All teenagers have difficulties handling their emotions and this is amplified and more intense  for girls on the spectrum .Girls on the spectrum tend to internalise their feelings which leads to great anxiety  By the time these girls reach their teenage years many have developed a social mask that they hide behind which hides the anxiety that not understanding social rules create .

They are different and do not fit into the social norm which is of great importance during the teenage years Often these girls are having difficulty communicating their needs and many are dealing with bullying and constant ridicule because of their differences .

Bullying amongst females is more than just physical aggression ,it is bullying at an emotional level and on a relational level .Female  bullies work to break down the social network surrounding others by the use of gossiping and tarnishing others reputations .

It tends to be when a female bully is surrounded by a group that they will use aggression almost as if they have the need to belittle the victim in front of others to deal with this social ridicule often teenage girls with a spectrum condition will either socially isolate which can lead to chronic problems with truancy or they will simply camouflage themselves ,pretending to be normal but all the time not putting themselves forward into the social circles .

Just when all other girls are getting in the fashion the teenager on the spectrum is struggling to cope with all the changes in their body and mind . Sensory difficultys often heighten with the onset of puberty and raging hormones and a girl on the spectrum will often just want to  wear clothes for comfort rather than fashion .They often have difficultys using make-up and  perfumes etc which can be due to sensory difficultys  or poor executive functioning

Many girls still have childlike interests and have difficulty relating to their peers new found social -sexual interests .Teenage girls begin to share their emotions and this is when the Autistic girls difficultys become apparent .She dosent understand her own feelings  and finds their constant social needs exhausting .Poor organisational skills often causes problems with homework .and special interests and obsessions can take over the time when the teen should be studying

They find it difficult to relate to other people and feel over criticised and controlled by people’s attempts to get them to conform and live their lifes according to the social rules .Not understanding the social rules can leave these girls very vulnerable to abuse .Girls on the spectrum are particular at risk for sexual victimisation . They misinterpret situations and this can lead to many circumstances were a girl could be victimised .Even the  internet can be a dangerous place ,Girls on the spectrum are so desperate to make a connection and to make new friends that they are easily coerced into sharing personal information . There have been many cases where young girls have been talked into sending pornographic images of themselves to strangers .Autistic  girls are so desperate for friends this is a real problem that we need to be more aware of . We need to  educate our girls  about the realities of life they are not going to pick it up from their peers as other girls do .

A girl that is on the spectrum needs to be reminded of her strengths by those close to her .She is reminded all to often of her weaknesses  .You need to build her self confidence her self esteem and her self worth .Make her feel worthy of a happy fulfilling life otherwise she will be vulnerable and at risk from predators who pray on those of low self worth.

Teenage girls have unique issues that can be further complicated by their autistic traits. As these girls grow into women and begin their own families, social ineptness can become more problematic. Good parenting preparation classes for those on the spectrum would make a huge difference including sex education and independent living skills so that the girl can grow to be self reliant .

Girls on the spectrum need to be taught skills to enable them to become strong empowered women that cannot be manipulated or used which is in fact something that all teenage girls should be taught .

Difficulty’s to be aware of

Development of Eating Disorders
Development of OCD
Development of Self Harm
Developing Behaviors to Fit In
Risk of Sexual Vulnerability

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