According to the statistics, autism affects more men than women, but is this down to a biological difference or is there an issue with diagnosis? In this online Q & A, Robyn Steward and Dr William Mandy joined us to answer your questions about women and girls on the spectrum. The Q & A took place on 12 December 2012. You can read the transcript below. Don't forget to check out Robyn's post Q & A answers at the bottom of the page too.
Robyn Steward was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome aged 11 and has nine other disabilities. She is 26 and runs a business providing training, consultancy and mentoring to professionals, families, and people on the autistic spectrum. She is an ambassador for the National Autistic Society and has co-chaired two of their conferences. Robyn has spoken at the House of Commons, and has just returned from her 5th self-organised USA speaking tour, where she was interviewed for William Davenport's upcoming film Citizen Autistic, a film about the politics around autism in the USA. In 2013 Robyn will have a book published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers about safety for women on the autistic spectrum. Robyn lives independently in London. She believes that people should learn about autism from a person not just a textbook.
Dr William Mandy is a clinical psychologist who works as a lecturer at UCL, and at the National Centre for High-Functioning Autism at Great Ormond Street Hospital. In his clinical and research work he specialises in autism, aiming to find ways of improving diagnosis and treatment for people on the autism spectrum. He has also helped to design and evaluate psychological interventions to help people with autism, and published research on whether males and females on the autism spectrum show consistent differences. He is founder and co-chair of the ‘female Profile in ASD’ Special Interest Group, an international collective comprising people with autism, clinicians and scientists. The aims of this group are to improve understanding and support for females with autism.
After the Q & A, Robyn very kindly answered all the questions which we didn't have time to publish during the event. You can find them in the PDF below.