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Little Red Hen's Blog

Women on the Spectrum

March is National Women's History Month, and that makes it a great time to take a look at the challenges facing women and girls who have autism. Women's History Month was born from a school district program celebrating Women's History. It became official legislation on March 12, 1987, which is why it is celebrated in March. 

While signs of autism are similar for boys, they might be more subtle in girls, who have been shown to be better at emulating "typical" social behavior.  This often causes them to be under, misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed at all until adulthood. According to an article from Scientific American, Autism shows up very differently in girls:  

  • They may rely on other people (usually other girls) to speak for them or rely on other girls for behavior that is socially acceptable. 
  • Their conversations may be limited to what their interests are.
  • They typically will choose careers or interests with very structured rules

    Many of our staff here at Little Red Hen are brave and capable young women who also happen to be on the spectrum. Here's what a few of them had to stay about being autistic in 2019. 


    How old were you when you were diagnosed?

    "I was 19 when I was diagnosed. I had some episodes of 'acting out'; biting and growling at people when I was younger. When I didn’t grow out of it, my Mom started to get concerned. She was a beautician, and one day she was telling a client about it, and she suggested I get tested."

    -Andrea, Online

    "I was 13 months old. When I was young, my father thought that I was deaf. He would take pots and pans and bang them together and I didn't respond to the noise."

    -Meghean, Gift Shop

    "While I had other developmental challenges when I was younger, the official autism diagnosis came at 19. My language or expression didn't develop at the same rate as other kids my age. I also had very extreme and odd interests."

    -Emily, Online


    What challenges did you face in school or at work because of Autism?

    "I felt pressure by my teachers who wanted me to 'learn like everyone else.' I often refused to work in groups with people, simply because I didn't want to learn in a group. I didn't understand why I felt that way, just that I did. This caused me to leave the classroom at times."

    -Andrea, Online

    "At school, a lot of kids made fun of me because I was considered 'slow.' I was teased often because I did not understand sarcasm. I would get frustrated and was more prone to tantrums. Sometimes when I am being corrected at work, I start to feel anxiety on the inside and I become frustrated with myself."

    -Meghean, Gift Shop

    "I was more interested in spending time with my teachers at school, instead of other kids. I also preferred to be by myself a lot of the time."

    -Emily, Online 


    What Advice would you give to other young women on the Spectrum?

    "Don’t give in to peer pressure to do things like other people. Don't be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand something, or if you need to do it in a different way. Even if this means asking your boss or teacher to repeat themselves."

    -Andrea, Online


    "I would tell them do not give up on yourself, and you will get those rough moments. When you start to feel like you are losing control, take a step back and remove yourself from what you are doing if that is what you need to do to calm down. Just remember to keep your head up and don't be too hard on yourself." 

    -Meghean, Gift Shop


    "Learn to love and accept yourself for how and who you are. Think about your behaviors in a good way and try to find the strengths in seeing things differently and try to stay positive. We learn differently than others, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing."

    -Emily, Online


    At Little Red Hen, we employ all kinds and unique and amazing people. Let's all remember to support everyone in our Little Red Hen family as we celebrate courageous and strong women this National Women's History Month. 

    Posted by Sam DeLong

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