We recently published a paper in the journal Autism that focused on the lived experienced of women who did not receive their autism diagnosis until the age of 40 or above. We found that individuals in this traditionally under-represented group had lots of shared experiences. We hope that their generosity in sharing their experiences will help to improve societal understanding - there is a long way to go. The article is currently Open Access so just click here for the full article. The project is summarised below:
Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) diagnoses often occur later for females than for males. So, many females’ needs are not understood until later in life. This means that they cannot be supported in the most helpful ways. There is little research asking autistic females about their experiences. Therefore, we conducted a research project about this. Our research investigated the experiences of 11 females diagnosed with ASC when they were aged 40 years or older. The answers to the interview questions were analysed using a research method called Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. This research method allows researchers to gather detailed information about individuals and their specific life experiences in relation to a certain topic or event. The analysis involves using psychological understandings to interpret what individuals have said and to summarise this in a helpful way for their stories to be heard.
Full article reference:
Leedham, A., Thompson, A., Smith, R., & Freeth, M. (in press). ‘I was exhausted trying to figure it out’: The experiences of females receiving an autism diagnosis in middle to late adulthood. Autism