Feminizing the spectrum: raising awareness of females with autism spectrum disorder
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The following is a field practicum report discussing my experiences at Autism Services of Saskatoon in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. My focus during this field practicum was on females diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. I was able to gain an understanding of the reasons behind the imbalanced ratio of males and females being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and understand the lived experiences of females with ASD. I discovered that males and females display symptoms of autism in differing ways, thus leading to misunderstandings, misdiagnosis, and missed diagnosis for females. Also within this field practicum, I was able to educate others about the realities of females diagnosed with ASD and begin a discussion regarding their experiences and how this diagnosis impacts their lives, their families, and the roles these females play in society. This report uses the feminist perspective as the basis for understanding why females with ASD are being misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and under diagnosed. Through this practicum opportunity, I was able to gain an understanding of the services offered by the Autism Intervention Program (AIP program) and the Mental Health and Wellness division of Autism Services of Saskatoon, as well as the roles I could play in the organization as a graduate level social work intern.