What is Autism?
Asperger’s Syndrome is often considered a mental health issue. It is usually diagnosed by a well-trained psychiatrist, or therapist, and in the United States, is viewed as a brain deficiency. In actuality, Aspergers is a variation in the way a person processes and reacts to information and environment. Einstein is known to have displayed traits we would classify today as Autism.
Asperger’s is described as a high functioning version of autism. People with Asperger’s rarely display the same intellectual disabilities as those associated with more severe forms of Autism, and are able to digest large amounts of ‘facts’ about any subject they are interested in.
There is often little or no delay in speaking. Most problems for high functioning autistics crop up with social interaction, and become visible in social situations. The symptomatic presentation of Asperger’s is so markedly different between girls and boys, men and women, that countless women on the spectrum are missed entirely.
There is a myth that there are no people of African heritage with Autism. I have read all kinds of interesting theories on why there are not more of us. In the black community there is often a lack of trust in those who would diagnose Autism, due to an incorrect diagnosis of a family member in the past, or worry over the repercussions of carrying such a label.
I self diagnosed in December of 2013, then received a formal diagnosis in March of 2014. I am 51 years old.
The CDC says the number of women with Autism is 1 in 252. I believe this number is wrong. Since women present differently than men, are often social and have speech, as a group we have been studied less and in many cases, missed entirely.
I am not aware of any study that has been conducted on minority girls or women, so there is no data on what our actual numbers may be.