Many of the problems faced by individuals with Autistic Spectrum Condition are cultural in their origin. For example, western society’s obsession with the importance of social confidence, self-promotion, networking and assertiveness.
An individual’s energy can be wasted in trying to conform. Life is about the individual being the best they can be.
A sympathetic teacher is an invaluable gift for any pupil in school. Everyone has the right to expect a positive school experience.
Many girls with ASC don’t identify with their female peers or media representations of femininity, and may have no strong sense of their gender identity.
ASC girls dress for comfort, albeit sometimes unconventionally, and many have an aversion to heavy make up or high maintenance hair styles.
Girls with ASC are usually able to socialise in small doses, but find it emotionally draining. Allow plenty of down time for enjoyable activities in order to recharge socialising batteries.
To support physical health, find activities that are personally appealing. For example, yoga or Pilates may be preferable to keep fit classes in a noisy, smelly gym. Martial arts will assist with self-regulation; an exercise bike or skipping rope will provide simple repetitive physical activity; and jogging or orienteering will offer outdoor exercise. Physical fitness supports personal happiness.
Unobtrusive everyday equipment can be used to reduce environmental excesses. Sunglasses, caps or hats in bright light; earplugs or iPods in noisy environments; and a squishy toy in the pocket for sensory comfort.
Girls on the ASC spectrum tend to be better at expressing themselves through the written word, rather than verbal interaction, and such strengths should be played to. Many ASC girls enjoy reading; and accessing a wide range of material will give valuable insights into the life and behaviour of others.
Cultivating areas of interest is the key to personal happiness and may lead to an all absorbing future career. A personal passion can be used to fight inequality, injustice and to benefit society – see Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmentalist.