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12 and HoldingA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Lethal InheritanceA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Special EducationA Toss Of The DiceA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainABC of Eating DisordersADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeADHD Grown UpADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention StrategiesAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAlpha GirlsAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAsperger's and GirlsAssessment of Childhood DisordersAttention Deficit DisorderAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderAutism - The Eighth Colour of the RainbowAutism and MeAutism's False ProphetsAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Before I DieBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBipolar ChildrenBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoy AloneBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingBullying PreventionBut I Love HimCan't Eat, Won't EatCaring for a Child with AutismCatalystChild and Adolescent PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChild and Adolescent PsychopathologyChild NeuropsychologyChild Well-BeingChildren and SexualityChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeConcepts of NormalityConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinConsuming KidsContesting ChildhoodCount Us InCrackedCrossesCutCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy TeensDamageDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDisconnected KidsDoing SchoolDon't Bother Me Mom--I'm Learning!Don't Pick On MeDying to Be ThinEarly Intervention Programs and PoliciesEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismEight Stories UpElijah's CupEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEpilepticEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEvery Girl Tells a StoryExiting NirvanaExploiting ChildhoodEye ContactFacing BipolarFamily HistoryFast GirlsForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillFrictionGirl CultureGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlhoodGirlWiseHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHandbook of Preschool Mental HealthHealing ADDHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Hyperactive KidsHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHelping Teens Who CutHollow KidsHope's BoyHow Infants Know MindsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHurry Down SunshineI Am Not Joey PigzaIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf Your Adolescent Has an Eating DisorderIn the Company of CraziesIncorporating Social Goals in the ClassroomIntegrated YogaIntrusive ParentingIssues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJake RileyJoey Pigza Loses ControlJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKim: Empty InsideLearning and Behavior Problems in Asperger SyndromeLearning Disorders and Disorders of the Self in Children and AdolescentsLearning Outside the Lines Let Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLook Me in the EyeLoserLove and SexLove That DogMad at SchoolMaking ADD WorkMaking American BoysManicMastering Anger and AggressionMaverick MindMedicating ChildrenMind FieldsMind to MindMommy I'm Still in HereMore Than a LabelMy Flesh and BloodMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNon-Drug Treatments for ADHDNot Much Just Chillin'NurtureShockOdd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the WoodsOvercoming ADHDOvercoming School AnxietyParenting a Child Who Has Intense EmotionsParenting Children With ADHDParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople with HyperactivityPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPlease Don't Label My ChildPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Problem GirlsPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPurgeRaising a Moody 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Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Ride TogetherThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Science of ADHDThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Survival Guide for Kids With LD*The Unhappy ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouThings Tom LikesThrough the Glass WallThumbsuckerTotally WiredTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreating ADHD and Comorbid DisordersTreatment of Childhood DisordersTwistedUnder the Wolf, Under the DogUnhappy TeenagersUnstrange MindsWastedWe've Got IssuesWeather Reports from the Autism FrontWhat about the KidsWhat in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?What Works for Whom?What Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?When Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhose America?Why Don't Students Like SchoolWill's ChoiceWinnicott On the ChildWorried All the TimeYou Hear MeYoung Minds in Social WorldsYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
Over the past decade there has been a substantial increase in the recognition of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome paralleled by the extensive growth of literature and research on the matter. Nonetheless, the 4:1 boy to girl ratio of identification and referral to diagnostic assessment has drawn the attention of clinical professionals and educators. An explanation is needed for the apparent gender prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome in boys and men, in face of the discrepant minority of their incidence in girls and women. According to Dr.Tony Attwood, author of "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome", there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift, when girls are being unidentified or misdiagnosed due to a male conceptualization of the condition. "Asperger's and Girls" emerges in an attempt of response to this question, as the book's collected essays and perspectives by authors Dr.Tony Attwood, Dr.Temple Grandin, Catherine Faherty, Shelia Wagner, Mary Wrobel, Teresa Bolick, Lisa Iland, Jennifer McIlwee Myers and Ruth Snyder, seek a fundamental breakthrough in understanding the different individual and environmental aspects of Asperger's Syndrome in the feminine gender. The experts intend to inform and alert the general reader, parents, sufferers, and professional audiences, on the particularities and difficulties of Asperger's Syndrome, by taking the different gender pattern of development and abilities of girls and women into consideration. Attwood starts by noting that the hesitancy and difficulties of clinical professionals in assessing the diagnosis can be greatly influenced by the subtle or veiled manifestation of the symptoms in girls. This may be due to a variety of factors; the open verbalization of emotions on the base of female education, to their being mothered and accepted by their female peers (in opposition to the greater intolerance of difference in male groups and emotional repression/overtly aggressive segregation and behavior), and even the assuming of identity masks and characters in social situations in order to conceal anxiety or fear, stemming from a strong desire for inclusion and acceptance. Cathering Faherty reinforces this analysis in "Asperger's Syndrome in Women: A different Set of challenges?", by exposing also the double challenge of women with Asperger's in society, approaching the topic of gender expectations (the projected empathic/relational knowledge of women, personal image/looks/clothing/behavior, and the aspects of dating and marriage), and stressing the problem of discrimination on the views of demonstrable rationality in men and women. "Educating the Female Student with Asperger's" by Sheila Wagner, M.Ed, sets these problematics against the inter-personal arena of school and educational practices, approaching the main difficulties as well as capabilities, shown by girls with Asperger's at school; from idiosyncratic speech, intense interests, solitude, problems with group projects and group interaction, anxiety, to the particularities of impaired social contact (that may be neglected and seen as mere traits of shyness or embarrassment), as well as the lack of integrative purpose with peer trends, that cause girls with Asperger's to be more socially reserved. Lisa Iland on "Girl to Girl: Advice on Friendship, Bullying and Fitting in", develops the topic of bullying and social integration taking the external stance of a neurologically normal adolescent on Asperger's Syndrome. These subjects will be further expanded by Mary Wrobel in "Preparing for puberty and Beyond", where the social immaturity of girls with Asperger's is related to a greater susceptibility towards their being victimized by moral and physical abuse, forms of molestation or advantage taking and deception. "The Launch: Negotiating the Transition from High School to the Great Beyond" by Teresa Bolick, Ph.D, probes with greater profundity the necessary preparation of girls entering womanhood and their personal and professional performances on the greater spheres of college, career and adult relationships. These topics will be divided and scrutinized equally by Jennifer McIlwee Myers in "Aspie's Dos and Don'ts: Dating, Relationships, and Marriage", "Maternal Instincts In Asperger's Syndrome" by Ruth Snyder and Temple Grandin's "For me, a Good Career Gave Life Meaning", that demonstrate the social and professional preoccupations of girls with Asperger's, and ways of overcoming challenges, constructing and cultivating self-knowledge and motivation, being able to develop friendship skills and coping with the world's interest in dating and sexuality, emphasizing special interests and ways of achieving happiness, security and a fulfilled life.
The offered discussion of this book can not be classified as distinctively scientific and fundamentally profuse in terms of new research, being also fairly incoherent and thematically recurring. However, the sharing of different points of view and a concise and simple phrasing, allow for it to be accessible to a broad public and stand as an interesting preliminary exploration of Asperger's in girls and women. Though it may prove insightful as a starting point to further in-depth research, its relevance is shown mostly in terms of raising awareness and improving educational practices and sensibility, an aspect that may help acknowledging and filling the debilitating void of absent or misguided support.
© 2011 Helena Barbagelata Simões
Helena Barbagelata Simões is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Affairs (Major) and History of Philosophy (Minor) at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas/Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She works as freelance translator and writer, with published poetry and prose in several anthologies.
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