In 2021, I was diagnosed with autism and ADHD at age 37. A life of struggles and confusion that had no name, but many inappropriate labels, all came culminating to a single point of clarity.
So many shifts in identity have occurred, so many realizations, so much more self-love and gentleness. However, almost in equal measure, there has been grief, disillusionment, letting go of internalized ableism, relationships that no longer belong, and much more.
To help process all of this big change, as well as offering those who need it some guidance, I have created several resources. See them all below.
Lots of love,
The popular hashtag that I started years ago on IG now has a home! Musings On The Path is a place where I do deep dives with my writing and share exclusive content, discounts and more. It is also where I explore all topics related to autism + ADHD! You can subscribe for free and see a great deal of the work, but paid subscribers (5.00/month) have access to everything (including the special discounts)!
When I first heavily suspected that I am autistic, it was because of a blog article that esteemed clinical psychologist Tania Marshall wrote, detailing the female autistic profile. This profile contains over 100 points, of which I ‘scored’ over 85. It led me to seeking a professional diagnosis. A year and a half later I’ve decided to create my own list - based upon my own extensive research, life-long experience, observations of my autistic community, and occasionally drawing from Tania’s comprehensive post.
This does NOT entirely conform to the DSM-5 criteria for an autistic diagnosis - it is a much more nuanced, detailed list of traits that are not necessarily stereotypical in nature. It is as such due to the fact that many women, girls, trans and non-binary folks fly under the radar of diagnosis because of how rigid (and male-centric) the DSM-5 is. (Please do note that while this is entitled ‘women and girls’ it does apply to trans and non-binary folks alike. Much of what is discussed about early life experience would be through the lens of AFAB - assigned female at birth. No one is excluded from this list, though it is not explicitly male-centric, because that has been widely covered - and autistic traits in those who were AFAB are different across the board).
This list is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for an official diagnosis. I would like to say here, however, that self-diagnosis or self-identifying is valid - as an official diagnosis of autism is prohibitively expensive and many professionals are not properly educated in the nuances below.
Many girls and women pay thousands of dollars for an assessment only to be told they’re not autistic because they can make eye contact, for example, or do not have an obsession with trains.
Not obtaining an official diagnosis is sometimes also for self-protection, as having a diagnosis on one’s record can lead to discrimination, dismissal, and sometimes worse - such as violence. So if you strongly suspect that you’re autistic based upon this list and other extensive research, you will be welcomed into the autistic community without an official diagnosis. But you may wish to proceed with one for your own knowledge and peace of mind.
Please also note that I am not a clinical psychologist. I am, however, someone who has led a life as an autistic person, both undiagnosed and diagnosed, and autism has become my special interest over the last two years.
I've dedicated an entire season of my podcast to exploring autism + ADHD with more episodes to come. You can find them on Spotify and Apple.
I'm also on TikTok! Join me there for educational + humorous videos about autism, ADHD and perimenopause.