Is the NHS failing girls who are on the autism spectrum?

Autism and girls -In an article published in the Guardian newspaper this week, the issue of women and girls on the autism spectrum was discussed at great length and the issues surrounding diagnosis.

Autism has very much been  characterised in the past as a male condition. However autism in women is much more prevalent than previously thought.

The Guardian state:

‘it is commonly believed [women], mask their symptoms by learning to imitate the behaviour of non-autistic people. But without a diagnosis, experts say, their difficulties with social interaction and attachment to routine are misunderstood at school and then work, leaving them at increased risk of mental health problems including depression, eating disorders and self harm’

Many women and campaigners for women on the autism spectrum believe that guidelines recently published entitled, Adult autism statutory guidance is failing women with autism.

 Monique Blakemore, of Autism Women Matter told the Guardian that she is shocked that women were not included in the guidance.

“I was asked last year by the Department of Health (DH) to feed back on the key issues for women. We did a survey of around 100 women and presented the results to the DH. We engaged in the process but we just don’t feel it has engaged enough with us.”

The National Autistic Society (NAS) have also highlighted this glaring omission, and that the statuary guidance needs to be revised to include women.

Dr Judith Gould who is the director of the NAS’s Lorna Wing Centre for Autism told that she often sees women in their 30s and even older, who have never had an autism  diagnosis. She also ads that the majority of thee women have been  in abusive relationships.

Autism Women Matter want to gender specific autism training for all professionals. A Department of Health spokesperson said of their comments regarding the guidance:

“We welcome the views made and that is exactly why we have consulted on this draft guidance.”

Source: Rachel Wiliams on the Guardian website:  Is the NHS failing women with autism?