The importance of this study is how this has and will affect these undiagnosed or misdiagnosed girls and women. There is a benefit to having a doctor give you a diagnosis, especially when it comes to necessary accommodations or being able to get targeted help when needed. An article written by BYU talks about the mental health repercussions of this, saying “Of the 58 women in the study, who all had symptoms of autism, the majority reported frequently masking autistic characteristics. Troublingly, the majority also reported significant psychological distress—including depression (62%), stress (66%) and anxiety (67%)—and 62% reported past or present thoughts of suicide. More than half of the women additionally described difficulty in everyday functioning, such as maintaining friendships and successfully completing work tasks.” This discovery will hopefully lead to new research to learn more about this, as well as inform professionals and doctors of all types that work with autism that there is something new they should dive into.
A quote from the BYU article that was posted on the Totally Social ASD instagram a while back:
“When a girl or a young woman approaches a clinician with significant distress and social anxiety, that clinician should check for symptoms of autism, because she may be camouflaging. We have to start looking a little deeper to find out what’s going on with these women.” -Dr. Rebecca Lundwall
Written by Katy Evans