Girls and Autism: Educational, Family and Personal Perspectives

A review of Girls and Autism: Educational, Family and Personal Perspectives.

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Edited by Barry Carpenter, Francesca Happè and Jo Egerton (Routledge)

Traditionally, autism has been thought of as a disorder mainly affecting males. However, this is not the case. Many girls have been undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, with sometimes devastating consequences.

This book is the coming together of researchers, professionals, policymakers and parents, as well as young women diagnosed with autism, to create awareness around the misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis of autism in girls. The contributors to the book are mostly UK-based, but New Zealand readers may be familiar with Wenn Lawson, the Australia-based lecturer.

The topics that are covered in this book provide excellent strategies and ideas for understanding autism in girls and how to approach the behaviours that this presents, as well as how to support these young women as they enter adulthood. Suggestions include, for example, the
formation of a girls group, which would provide a safe, non-judgmental place where girls can learn from each other and celebrate their differences. Ideas around building a specialist curriculum could be adapted to fit in with the New Zealand curriculum and the mainstream setting.

As this book is written mostly by people based in the UK and Australia, there may be some differences in the language and terminology used. The content is focussed on high school students, but could be adapted for  primary school students as well. One theme evident throughout the book is that each person who has autism is unique – not all people with autism are the same.

I would recommend this book to teachers, parents, SENCOs and RTLBs. –Tracy Davies

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