October 10, 2020 | website | No Comments
A Wexford mother has set up a website dedicated to raising awareness about the particular struggles of girls who have autism.
Orla Simone Taylor and her partner Thomas of Kilrane, have three children who are all autistic – Josh (12), Anna (11) and Sarah (3).
Orla has been an advocate for autism awareness for many years, fighting for the recognition of hidden disabilities and the need for inclusion of children with additional needs.
‘It all came about from our son being diagnosed with classic autism in 2011 at the age of three and the struggle we had trying to understand a very misunderstood condition,’ she said.
‘In going through the assessment and diagnostic process with our girls in 2018 and 2019, I realised that female autism is even further misunderstood.
‘We struggled with barriers to assessment with both girls, purely due to a lack of knowledge of how girls can present with autism.
‘Our older daughter was diagnosed age nine after a long struggle to have her difficulties recognised. Our youngest was diagnosed aged two, mainly due to our ability to spot the traits she was displaying.’
Orla said that both girls presented differently to how their brother did and although there are girls who present with typical autistic traits and can be easily assessed, there are also girls who do not.
She said the term autistic disorder arose in 1940s and since then the majority of research studies have been carried out with autistic boys and the current diagnostic criteria for autism is based on a male profile.
‘There are many girls who are slipping through the net as their autistic traits are unseen or misunderstood. Often these girls are diagnosed with mental health conditions as adolescents, and go through adulthood not knowing who they are or why they don’t really fit in,’ said Orla, who was motivated to create raisinggirlsontheautismspectrum.ie by the lack of information on autism in girls.
‘We have a somewhat unique perspective of parenting two autistic girls who are completely different in how their traits are displayed. I hope that by sharing our journey with autism it may help someone else in a similar situation’, she said.
Orla has attended several courses and seminars on various aspects of autism and has a CPD Cert in Understanding Autism. She is currently studying Psychology and is conducting her own research into female autism.
‘I hope to use the website as a place to share what I have learned, and continue to learn in the hope that the content may help someone else and raise awareness of girls on the Autism Spectrum and the struggles they face in being recognised. We want to spread the message that #girlsareautistictoo’, said Orla.