Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Haley Reading Group: “The Lost Girls”


[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2016)]

By Rae’Jean Spears
“Women with autism are fundamentally different from men with autism. Autism’s core deficits may be the same for both, but when the symptoms intersect with gender, the lived experience of a woman with autism can be dramatically different from that of a man with the same condition.” 
This quote by Aporva Mandavilli, from her article “The Lost Girls,” discusses how medical professionals came to recognize that men and women who have autism are affected in different ways.

As Mandavilli’s above quote reveals, autism becomes different for individuals once gender is added to the equation. This was noteworthy as it provided the aim of the entire piece: the difference of autism between men and women is a major issue that has only recently started gaining the attention of medical professionals for research.

After reading Mandavilli’s article, what about Maya’s case with autism stood out to you? Or, what got your attention concerning gender differences and autism? Please provide a page number citation.

64 comments:

Jazsmine Towner said...

Maya's case stood out to me in multiple ways. The very first sentence was interesting to me "It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications,and 9 diagnoses before someone realized that what Maya has is autism" (Mandavilli 165). The face that medical professonials completely ignorned all the signs of autism that Maya displayed because she was female really intrigued me. Also, because of the misdiagnoses and the feeings of isolation, Maya took so many pills in attempt to kill herself that she was in a coma. I think her story shines light on the struggles of young girls every day to fit in, socialize, and feel normal and that must have been especially hard for Maya being that she has autism. I think the most important part of Maya's story is that she strived and graduated from College and learned to live a seemingly normal life.
-Jazsmine Towner

Deborrah B. said...

The main thing that caught my attention was that scientists are just now starting to consider social differences between males and females to see how it affects females with autism (177). I know that more males are diagnosed with autism than females and because of that there is more research on males with autism, however, I still find it surprising that no one considered gender as being something significant that could change the symptoms displayed by those with autism. Considering that there are many conditions that affect men and women differently, you would think that someone would suggest it.
Deborrah B.

Sierra Taylor said...

I'm not surprised that autism is more common in boys than girls. What surprised me was the fact that the treatment does not vary and bring attention to the challenges girls face. The paragraph that explains this was on page 166 when the text says, "Even after a girl gets the right diagnosis, she may be offered behavioral therapy and specialized lesson plans, but they're essentially the same services offered to a boy in the same situation...There are no guidebooks for these girls or their families about how to deal with puberty and menstruation, how to navigate the dizzying array of rules in female friendships, how to talk about romance and sexuality or even just stay safe from sexual predators." I wished my parents had talked to me more about those things, and the treatment for girls certainly should incorporate those aspects.

Erica K. said...

The first sentence starting the story on page 165 caught my eye, as it should, but it didn't just catch my eye, it made me rather annoyed. This sentence alone, "it took 10 years, 14 psychiatrics, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses" before they even could pinpoint the exact problem. It shows how ill prepared and trained our health system actually is and that it still needs much improvements. Also the fact that, they only included boys in their study makes no sense to me because there is more than one gender and they should have known their results would of not been very accurate for a whole population.

Jaleelah Muhammad said...

I think the entire complexity of Maya's case and eventual diagnosis is what stood out to me. Some of her behaviors and the diagnosis that the various psychiatrists came up with are something that I would have assumed. Her anorexia, depression, anxiety, etc. are things that "typical" girls and women experience in their average lives, so I never would have assumed she was autistic either. However it is a shame that it took "10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses" (165) before someone could properly diagnosis her. I understand that autism is still a developing spectrum that is being studied, but it's naive to think that anything dealing with the mind or behavior is singular or has a singular cause. It's even more naive to assume that women and men are the same, in any aspect of life.

Paris Smith said...

I am in my second year of pharmacy school and I also work in a retail community pharmacy. So, one of the things that I found interesting and disturbing was on page 165, where it said "It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications,and 9 diagnoses before someone realized that what Maya has is autism." It makes me so angry that certain illness like autism take so long to diagnose and treat but physicians are more than eager to diagnose children with ADHD, most of whom should not be on medications. We are always so eager to control a problem, like if a 6 year old child is overactive and hyper, we put in on Adderall or Ritalin to control them, even though they are doing what comes naturally. I think that physicians should be more aware of different disease states that are in this country and know the clinical signs and symptoms to help better treat their patients.

JaLeah M . said...

The beginning sentence that reads, it took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnosis before someone finally realized that what Maya had was autism (165).This sentence not so much surprised me but it did catch my attention because it immediately reminded me of a video that was shown to me during a child psychology lecture. The video was titled "The medicated child" and it was one in the form of a documentary where children would visit psychiatrist to treat/diagnose conditions such as autism or behavioral disorders and constantly the psychiatrists would immediately turn to medications over other methods such as therapies. Children in the video would be on multiple medications (similar as Maya) and it was suspected that the increase in medications caused other symptoms which lead to new medications being needed and it was like a never ending cycle. I've learned a bit about autism but I never knew there were major differences in gender aspect. Reading that studies aren't really done on women with autism shows flaws in the public health system and these flaws more than likely contribute to the misdiagnosis in female patients.

Aja J said...

What caught my attention about Maya’s case happened on page 165 where the articles says that “it took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses before someone realized that what Maya has is autism.” As a future health care provider, I have definitely seem others who just do what they can to get by or are quick to come to a certain conclusion without even doing a full assessment. Its unfortunate that this happens, but I think it is important to remember that not everyone is like that. Diagnosing someone on the autism spectrum, which is always evolving, it very difficult. It is certainly unfortunate that Maya had to go through this and that not very many people took the time to really look at all of her symptoms.

Kenisha Townsend said...

Maya's case with autism was very interesting for a few reasons. One that stood out to me was her struggle with anorexia (171). She was in love with numbers, due to having autism, that she became obsessed with lowering the number of calories she consumed and her weight on the scale. This was a bit unusual considering many people with anorexia develop this illness from wanting to be skinny like famous people or simply believing they would be better if they were skinnier. I have never heard of, until now, someone being anorexic due to being obsessed with numbers. Eventually, Maya came to the conclusion she wanted to weigh nothing. Once her counselor told her she would always have the weight of her bones, she realized her whole mission was completely pointless and unattainable. This simple fact caused her stop starving herself despite how others struggled to help her.

Asher said...

Having a father who has a PhD in Special Education and Learning, I've learned from a young age to know when someone has autism. But, one thing I was surprised about while reading, was how long it took for Maya to be diagnosed with being on the autism spectrum. Then, when I read this quote from page 166: "Because autism is at least three times as common in boys as in girls, scientists routinely include only boys in their research." I think that's so wrong and unfair. I feel like as girls, we tend to more judged in society and even at a young age, we are aware of what society expects of us. I can't imagine being autistic and a girl, unable to keep up with social relationships. I was unaware about the depression issue, so I'm glad this story was selected for the reading. I was glad to read that research for girls with autism has increased in the past couple of years and I think it should continue to grow, not only for girls, but for boys too.

Donovan Washington said...

From reading the article by Apoorva Mandavilli it is easy to feel sympathetic for all of the hardships Maya struggled with while growing up with autism as a female. One quote that stood out to me was when the text states, "The bullying got violent and more vicious as she got older. She recalls one set of girls telling her that the world would be a better place if she weren't in it, (...)" (Mandavilli 170). This appealed to my own sympathy for those who have to deal with bullying of any type and this quote described the type of adversity Maya had to deal with on a daily basis as a woman with autism.

Aleeya Barrolle said...

After reading Mandavilli’s article, what got my attention concerning gender differences and autism was the misdiagnosing in young women. A quote that represented this said, "What we do is grim: on average, girls who have mild symptoms of autism are diagnosed two years later than boys" (166).

J'kolbe Kelly said...

What stood out to me about Maya's case was how functional she has become as an adult. "You can see by meeting with me that im quite chatty and that people wouldnt guess that I have Aspergers"... "She excelled at school. She was lead violinist at her school, performing at the Barbican Centre in London, and can play Piano and Viola."(pg 169) These are big accomplishments for someone without Aspergers and this leads me to wonder if becoming this functional is something only girl with this form of Autism is Capable of.

Kaelyn Blunt said...

This thing that was the most interesting to me was that one of the reason that there are differences in diagnosis is because for girls, different things could be the cause which causes the person diagnosing them to think it is one thing. By this I mean that since young girls tend to struggle to fit in and have anxiety over how they look and how to blend in (pg. 166), they are seen as having a simple anxiety disorder. And that many doctors think this as they are continuously misdiagnosed. For men, the symptoms do not translate as anything else typical for boys their age. It, to me, seems as though girls are being dismissed as overdramatic or excessive. It is upsetting to read about this.

Nia Piggott said...

After reading " Lost Girls" what caught my attention was the lack of medical information / accurate diagnoses of girls who are autistic. I found it very interesting how common it is for young girls to be misdiagnosed practically ignored. "because Autism is at least three times as common in boys as in girls, scientist routinely included only boys, scientist routinely included only boys in their research." ( page 166) With the lack of research on girls with autism means there is a lack of resources or support for them. Reading this text introduced me to an issue that I was unaware of before and made me have sympathy for their adversities.

Mike Dade said...

I read the first sentence and was immediately surprised and somewhat upset; "It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses before someone realized that what Maya has is autism." (Madavilli 165) Although we don't know everything about autism, it's ridiculous that it took that much before a true diagnostic could be made. What's upsetting is knowing that these same doctors that are being paid tons of money, have some bias and don't assess their patients the same way due to their sexes. It's outrageous enough that women already aren't treated fairly in the workplace and society, but to know that they don't receive the same emphasis and concern when it comes to their health is even more troubling.

Kyla Tinsley said...

As someone who avoids the doctor at all cost, I know that when it comes to diagnosing people, doctors assume their patients do not truly know about their pain when they do, and thus they are misdiagnosed or not treated with the best medicine, and this occurs frequently with women. This knowledge was reaffirmed at the very beginning of this reading, which caught my eye: "It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses before someone finally realized that what Maya had was autism (165)." While it does take awhile to find out the exact cause of one's pain, it should not take 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses for someone to figure out Maya has autism. The amount of time, money, and stress that this caused Maya is something no one should go through, especially when they're just trying to live their life.
-Kyla T.

Jasmin Smoot said...

I always hear about autism, but was never able to identify the symptoms. Maya had been dealing with anoriexia to the point where she wanted to weigh nothing. On page 171, the author talks about how her counselor at Cambridge told her that it would be impossible to weigh nothing, only convincing her to stop starving herself with facts. It was shocking to know that emotional appeals, even from her parents, almost meant nothing to her.

Jordan R. said...

Seeing that I do not know anyone with Asperger's or have an immediate personal experience with the condition. Though from an outward perspective, the journey with that condition seems challenging to begin with. Something that I had no prior knowledge of was emotional difficulties someone like Maya had trouble of expressing. On page 170 Maya's struggle is depicted, "When she was about 12, Maya began secretly cutting herself. Like many girls with autism at this age, Maya was keenly aware of all the ways in which she was being excluded by her peers. She became intensely depressed, laughing her long and dysfunctional relationship with the psychiatric establishment." This troubles me seeing that MANY autistic females feel trapped by their peers and lack of emotional expression.

A. Robinson said...

From reading this article, I was immediately surprised by Maya's case because of all she went through to even get diagnosed with autism. On page 165 the writer says, "It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses before someone finally realized that what Maya has is autism." That sentence alone is so alarming and shows that there was something about her case that was unusual

- Alexis Robinson

Peyton D. said...

The interesting part about Maya's case to me is that she had all of the hallmark traits of autism but they were just overlooked. For example, on page 170-171 Maya and her mother describe debilitating separation anxiety and playing alone at school. She would also violate social norms in public such as her cousin's wedding. Small things, such as a dinner that is 10 minutes late, could ruin her entire week. She had countless other examples. It's a shame there her diagnosis was so late in life after going through so many psych drugs and grief.

Olivia S. said...

The most impactful passage in the reading for me was her struggle with anorexia (page 171). In a previous post there are contradictory statements to what I am about to claim. However, I have dealt first hand with an eating disorder and therefore feel as though I can accurately relay my view. Her autism caused obsession with numbers. This is a common concern among people with eating disorders. I have been a bulimic for 7 years. I was placed in an inpatient facility where I learned of many other stories similar to mine. Anorexics were in the same treatment program. Every person I met struggling with an eating disorder is overwhelmed by the thought of the number on the scale, the inches around their waists, and even the circumference of their own neck. In these facilities, no measurements are allowed.
This was a post that was not extremely related to the literature. However, this is an important message that should be clarified.

Jasmine Williams said...

I was really shocked by how hard it was for Maya to be diagnosed with autism. "It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses" (165). The years of dead-end diagnoses were probably mentally and emotionally tiring for Maya and her family. The reading also states that "because autism is at least three times as common in boys as in girls, scientists routinely include only boys in their research" (166). I see this as a huge problem with the medical field. Stereotypes and generalizations about the difference between boys are girls are causing a discrepancy in the diagnosing; and ultimately leads to a lesser quality of care for female patients.

Jasmine Williams

De'Abrion Joyner said...

I enjoyed reading this because it hit kind of close to home. I think what stood out to me the most about the reading is the discovery of all these differences between men and women having autism. On page 167 the author talks about how they thought women were protected by having two X chromosomes but later that idea was thrown out and women were said to have for some unknown reason to science more tolerance against mutations. It seems like by now with the advances we have in science we should know more about autism than what they seem to know. and in Maya's case it was detrimental to her lifestyle, having gone through so many misdiagnosis's.

De'Abrion Joyner

gabby said...

The early pages of the chapter most stuck out me. On page 166, the book expresses that autism is more common in boys and is easier to diagnose in boys. It reads, "It's not uncommon for young women like Maya to be repeatedly misdiagnosed. Because autism is at least three times as common in boys as in girls, scientists routinely include only boys in their research". I found this to be very shocking that researchers tend to focus on boys while conducting research and that the traits associated with autism in girls is seen as "socially acceptable" for female behavior. I think that these researchers have a lack of understanding and sympathy to females who carrier this disorder. I think these researches need to be more open and thoughtful when considering and diagnosing female patients.

Brandy Collier said...

One thing that caught my attention was that autism is more common in boys than in girls. I was not aware that there was a gender aspect to having autism. I never really thought about one gender having a more common occurrence of autism than the other. The genetic aspect that was talked about in the article reminded me of some things I learned in my genetics class about the X and Y chromosomes. On page 167, Mandavilli states, "women can tolerate more mutations than men can and so need a bigger genetic hit to develop autism". In genetics class we learned that women have two X chromosomes while men have one X and one Y chromosome which would make it easier for men to develop certain traits if a parent was affected.

-Brandy Collier

Zaria Whitlock said...

While reading this short essay many times I imagined how I would feel if someone in my family was going through this and although I have had members of my family deal with medical hardships I do not remember any this severe. The quote that I found interesting was the last of the entire essay on page 181 Maya proclaimed, "'The more I understand myself, the more I can explain to other people what I find difficult, and the more they can help me,'she says. 'Life isn't easy for me, but I understand myself so much better now." (Leach pg. 181). This quote from the young woman who had dealt with some many medical mishaps throughout her life gave me relief that although her life isn't easy at least she now understands more of what she needs and the things others can do to make her life a little easier.
Zaria W.

Crystal Rice said...

The one thing about Maya's case that caught my attention was when Mandavilli said, "It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses before someone finally realized that what Maya has is autism," (165). This caught my attention because it is crazy to me that it can take that long to correctly diagnose someone with something. Because autism is 3 times as common in boys than in girls, the evidence to describe and explain it in girls is slim to none that can actually help girls with it. I think that's very sad because both genders and sexes should have enough, if not more, research done on them so the diagnoses of such can be better to understand and recognize.

Crystal R.

Jeremiah Terrell said...

What stood out to me was that it took 10 years for anyone to realize Maya had autism(page 165). I can't imagine how alone and misunderstood she felt during those years. I have sympathy for anyone with autism, but to know girls usually have a harder time dealing with it makes me feel bad.

Jeremiah Terrell said...

What stood out to me was that it took 10 years for anyone to realize Maya had autism(page 165). I can't imagine how alone and misunderstood she felt during those years. I have sympathy for anyone with autism, but to know girls usually have a harder time dealing with it makes me feel bad.

Andre Valentine said...

What really stood out to me was how Maya's love for numbers was a part of her developing anorexia. On page 171 she talked about how obsessed she was with decreasing her calorie intake. It's really sad that many girls with autism suffer from anorexia. I think people need to pay more attention to how they talk to people and how they treat people. Autism isn't a choice and people shouldn't treat autistic people like outcast but embrace them as they would anyone else.


-Andre Valentine

Zuriah Harkins said...

What stood out to me most about Maya's case was how long it had taken for her to get the correct diagnosis. It goes to show the lack of experience and knowledge that we have about autism and young girls. We can't assume that the symptoms in boys and girls will be the same. The symptoms that Maya had are even different from the symptoms of Lula and Leigh, the other two girls that were mentioned. On page 169, Mandavelli stated, "She makes eye contact,pokes fun at herself, and takes turn in conversation-- things people with autism are generally known to have trouble doing." For the most part, Maya seemed like a typical girl until it was time to engage in more intimate conversations. Overall, I think we need to not only expand our knowledge on the difference in symptoms between boys and girls, but also how the symptoms may vary from female to female as well, depending on their place on the spectrum.

-Zuriah H.

Brandon Nichols said...

The social differences between girls and boys caught my attention. Boys tend to be better socially later on than girls because of extra activities like video games, which helps them sneak by. There are things for boys that can help them cope with loneliness, while girls usually don't have that option. Pg. 173

Brandon N

Joshua Jones said...

On page 168, where they say that "...it has been very hard to show that in any kind of scientific way," that the girls clinically have autism. Moreover, girls show different signs in comparison to boys, yet it is still hard to separate the two. I viewed this as an effect of the general consensus that girls are lesser than boys in the world. It is interesting that even in the world of metal disorder, there is a large difference in how boys are seen versus girls.

-Josh J.

Anonymous said...

What stood out to me was the conversation Maya had with psychiatrist No. 14. At least what is shown through that brief exchange makes it seem like the doctor was just not trying at all. It read like a buzzfeed survey, and the result seemed the same as well. I can't tell if the entire session was accurately represented, but it speaks to the idea that we feminize so many mental "quirks (ailments)" to the point we can't even diagnose women properly.

-Que'rra Mason

Anonymous said...

The part that stood out to me was in fact the very first line, "It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses before someone finally realized that what Maya has is autism." To me, this is ridiculous. She was misdiagnosed so many times and wasn't actually getting the help she needed, maybe even getting medications that were detrimental to her health in the long run. This makes me feel like these people didn't really care about helping her but rather about being able to say they "helped" someone.
-Marcus Underwood

Victoria Wright said...

The fact that it took so long and so many different diagnoses for the psychiatrists to realize that Maya's sole diagnosis was autism(page 165). The ages between 11 and 21 are the years of your life that you remember the most, that you get to be young and free in, and I feel like these years were taken away from Maya in a way because it took so long for her to get a correct diagnosis. Though she has accomplished some amazing things, the correct diagnosis and treatment would have provided a stronger backbone for Maya.

Maya Searcy said...

The part that stood out to me was the differences in dealing with autism depending on the gender. I never thought about how autism would affect getting a period and how different boy and girl interactions are. I think that was an interesting point because usually people think of communication as just communication and they don't think about the specific rules girls follow while communicating.

Brianna Reed said...

Although autism is more common in boys I was very shocked to learn that it is normal for research studies on autism to only contain males (pg 166). I can't imagine what it would be like to live through life with constant misdiagnoses or receiving and having to take medication or go though treatments and deal with negative side effects of a condition I don't even really have simply because of medical error and lack of research. I would say that Maya was incredibly strong to have dealt with not only struggling to find her diagnosis but also dealing with major depression, social anxiety, and anorexia. Lula's story also really stood out at the end of the chapter. Each girl mentioned had characteristics of autism that varied greatly. In general I had no idea that there were so many obstacles related to caring for and supporting individuals with autism. I think that there definitely needs to be greater investment in researching autism in girls.

Marcus Barnes said...

One thing that stood out to me was the fact that autism is more common in boys versus girls. I definitely didn't know that and it was kind of surprising. "Because autism is at least three times as common in boys as in girls, scientists routinely include only boys in their research (p.166)." Also, the fact that scientists will sometimes only include boy in research throws me for a loop. You should still take into account the females who have autism as well. It's find to do research them both separately if you're comparing them individually versus them as a whole, but you should never just focus on one gender because both are important and should be held to being important and priority.

Marcus B.

Sandra Yokley said...

I learned in my IS course, Disability in America, that autism was more common in boys vs girls, though this was reiterated in the text. They also discuss how, because of this, research is often times constricted to only boys (page 166) which is scary, specifically for girls with autism. The word "only" is the troubling word in all of this, but not necessarily surprising as research, for a long time, and still today, centers on men and males. The variance in the manifestations of autism should prompt researchers to study females and girls.

-Sandra Yokley

Aliyah Johnson said...

One thing that stood out to me was the fact that girls are not commonly tested during autism research. The text says "The fact that diagnostic tests are based on boys with autism almost certainly contributes to errors and delays (166)." This quote proves how the test are not even consistent with the population of people who have autism. This is extremely interesting to me. I hope to learn more about this in the future.
-Aliyah Johnson

Kathryn Hatches said...

I think what stood out to me most was the line that read, "because autism is at least three times as common in boys as in girls, scientists routinely include only boys in their research (Page 166). This is a huge issue because leaving a whole group of people out of research not only is damaging, but it leaves out the opportunity to find better ways of dealing with autism. This is just another example of misogyny within medical research.
_Kathryn Hatches

Sydney Oats said...

"It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications,and 9 diagnoses before someone realized that what Maya has is autism" (Mandavilli, 165). This goes to show another form of gender bias. Because autism is more likely in boys, the doctors chose to overlook Maya's case for 10 years. That was 10 years of struggle to try to be someone who she wasn't, because she never knew during that time why she was the way she was.

Anonymous said...

What stood out to me the most about Maya's case was her long battle with anorexia. She ultimately had the desire to 'weigh nothing.' After a talk with her psychiatrist who explained that even if she had no fat or muscle, the weight of her bones would make that feat impossible. The use of logic and getting patients to see holes or inconsistencies in their reasoning, a common tactic for cognitive-behavioral therapists, worked! It wasn't the pleading of her parents or her own sickness that spurred the change. This was interesting to me because the appeal to logic, in my opinion, is always better than the appeal to emotion. (171-173)
Shelby W.

Anonymous said...

After reading Mandavilli’s article, what stood out to me about Maya’s autism is how much time it took doctors to figure out she had Austin. On page 165 it states, “...it took 10 years, 14 psychiatrics, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses...” being someone who wants to enter the medical field one day, it’s upsetting to know how long it took nd how many test were performed to give her an accurate diagnoses. Just being a person in general it’s frustrating to know how long the family had to wait in order for their child to be diagnosed.
Tatyana C.

Kytela Medearis said...

What surprised me the most was a quote that I read on page 165,"It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications,and 9 diagnoses before someone realized that what Maya has is autism." It baffles me that it can take that much longer for women to be diagnosed with a disease. I also have heard that for women, heart attacks are very different than for men. This in turns causes a lot of cases where a woman is misdiagnosed multiple times before the doctors realize that she is having a heart attack. It makes me wonder why these sorts of gender influenced illness'/medical conditions have not been researched in more depth sooner. More people need to be aware of the symptoms for both males AND females if there is any difference. This way, if people notice it happening, there is a better chance of understanding/saving.
-Kytela Medearis

Anonymous said...

What surprised me the most was a quote that I read on page 165,"It took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications,and 9 diagnoses before someone realized that what Maya has is autism." It baffles me that it can take that much longer for women to be diagnosed with a disease. I also have heard that for women, heart attacks are very different than for men. This in turns causes a lot of cases where a woman is misdiagnosed multiple times before the doctors realize that she is having a heart attack. It makes me wonder why these sorts of gender influenced illness'/medical conditions have not been researched in more depth sooner. More people need to be aware of the symptoms for both males AND females if there is any difference. This way, if people notice it happening, there is a better chance of understanding/saving.
-Kytela Medearis

Anonymous said...

What caught my attention the most was on page 169, "she could read fluently by age five and began reading four to five books a week. She was lead violinist at her school..." this quote continues to list all her accomplishments. It just fascinates me how intelligent she was, yet doctors didn't seem to care about her or her diagnosis. There are also many stereotypes about people with autism and their inability to lead normal lives. She is the complete opposite of the stereotype.
Sydney J.

Tiera Williams said...

Mandavilli's article was an interesting piece. Something I found interesting about Maya's story is how many diagnoses she received before autism and how all of them were not necessarily accurate. On page 166 the text states, "Maya does have some of the conditions she's been diagnosed with over the years - she's been depressed since the age of 11, has crippling social anxiety, and in her teens, wrestled with anorexia. But these were just the expressions of autism that was there for anyone to see had they looked closer. 'It's all secondary to the Asperger's' says Maya, now 24. 'I get depressed and anxious because life is difficult; it's not the other way around.' I found this interesting because throughout the text it is discussed how women are often misdiagnosed or diagnosed late when it comes to autism. This was just a great example of the one of many scenarios in which this takes place.

Tiera W.

Alexis A said...

My brother is mildly autistic, so I found this reading very interesting. "When she was about 12, Maya began secretly cutting herself", pg 170. This line was among one of the most shocking in this article because I could never imagine how I would feel if I found brother harming himself. Children that young should never feel enough pain and neglect that they feel the need to hurt themselves, regardless of having a health condition or not. The misconceptions and judgement from peers can me very overwhelming to anyone, so that being added to the possibility of insecurities can be very harmful to a person with autism.
Alexis A.

Fiona Hill said...

What I found most interesting was how long it took them to figure out Maya had autism. In the book, it said it took them 10 years to figure it out (165). Having taken many classes on disorders, I know that autism is more common in boys than in girls but
I didn't think that meant they would completely overlook the symptoms and attribute it to something else just because its a girl and not a boy.

Bianca w said...

The fact that it took ten years and 14 different psychiatrists to correctly diagnose her(165) stood out to me. Why don't doctors ask more accurate questions when diagnosing someone. Also she took medicine that made her gain 40 pounds and sleep for 17 hours a day (165). What f this medicine has a long term effect on her body? Her body could've reacted way worse than this. It's sad that she had to go through all of that and it's sad that the medical field doesn't study girls who have autism rather than just boys.

Cheniya A. said...

What caught my attention about Maya's case was how, "it took 10 years, 14 psychiatrics, 17 medications, and 9 diagnoses" (Mandavilli 165). This is entirely too long to have gone without a diagnosis just because she is a girl - because they only included boys in their study. There are many known diseases that affect men and women differently and this mental illness is no different. It also shocked me because a lot of her diagnoses were expressions of her undiagnosed autism. This sheds light on how we are not as advanced as we think we are - and one of the reasons is just as plain and simple as not discerning that diseases affect people in different ways - something that is commonly known anyway!

John Kriha said...

What stood out to me the most in Mandavilli’s article were two quotes, page 165 “it took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications and 9 diagnoses before someone finally realized that Maya has autism.” and page 166 “autism is three times more common is boys than girls”. These two quotes stood out to me because misdiagnosis was a major issue for Maya. There are many others like Maya out there suffering from autism who aren’t getting proper treatment and aren’t being accounted for.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting how the article said that Maya is depressed and anxious because life is difficult, but not the other way around. It was sad to me how the article mentioned that girls experience autism differently just because of the lack of knowledge on how to deal with certain things (i.e. puberty, menstruation, friendships, romance, sexuality, etc.) No one has truly considered how difficult it must be for someone to go through that when they have no clue on how to navigate those situations. Hopefully researchers and more advocates for women with autism will help shift this and find more research on the intersectionality between gender and autism.

Carlie Bibbs

Breanna B. said...

It was really alarming to read about how much time, psychiatrists, medications, and diagnoses Maya went through before being diagnosed with autism. The "gendering" effect on autism, especially when looking at women with autism, is crazy. When Maya was struggling with anorexia--obsessively trying to weigh nothing. Her Cambridge counselor has to appeal to her eating disorder with the simple fact that is is impossible to weigh nothing (Pg. 171). Her parents emotional pleas made no impact on Maya. It took a cold, hard fact to get Maya to move beyond the anorexia.

Jazmyn Maggitt said...

Maya’s quote at the end is what stood out to me. “The more I understand myself, the more I can explain to other people what I find difficult, and the more they can help me” (181). This stood out to me because it shows how little time people have put into women would have autism. Men with autism don’t have to go through life figuring out what’s the issue and how people can help them. They were diagnosed and probably sat down and learned what to expect. Maya was diagnosed so so much later and they still can’t even really tell her what to expect because no research has been done. Instead Maya gets live out her life in a trial and error situation because we haven’t taken the time and resources to make her life easier.

Robert Craig Jr said...

"Because autism is at least three times as common in boys as in girls, scientists routinely include only boys in their research" (166). This quote alarmed me because I know that many mental illnesses and learning disorders appear differently in girls than in boys, such as ADHD. Not including girls in our research of these disorders will definitely lead to us having incomplete knowledge of them.

Shardai J-H. said...

What stood out to me was that "it took 10 years, 14 psychiatrists, 17 medications,and 9 diagnoses before someone realized that what Maya has is autism"(165). I find this upsetting and a flaw in the medical community. The social stigmas surrounding women and what is seen as "common female diagnosis" shouldn't have clouded their professional judgements. All the time and energy wasted on the hospital's and family's part took an even bigger toll on Maya after being misdiagnosed which can be detrimental to her overall health. As a future medical professional, I hope cases such as these lead to better practices.

Xavier Morrison-Wallace said...

The thing that caught my attention the most was the gender differences in diagnosing autism(166). I understand that in every psychological diagnosis there are different statistics between age and gender, but the delayed diagnosis effect is what threw me off guard. I see the genetic reasoning(167), but I feel that the delayed diagnosis could be reduced if the statistics are the last factor taken into consideration when diagnosing patients.

Kelsey W said...

What stood out to me about Maya's case is that she wasn't diagnosed until she was in her 20's (p.180). Usually children on the spectrum are diagnosed early into their school years, although it makes sense, since Maya was a girl and females are often perceived differently, with or without a diagnosis. Their quietness isn't something to worry about because typically girls are not as rowdy as boys and this is only one of the hallmarks. This chapter was really interesting to me, being a psych major and going on to get my PhD in school psych this is very good information that I am sure will come up again. I knew that boys were more apt to be diagnosed with ASD, but I had never thought about the reasoning and implications of that research before.

Anonymous said...

The most interesting part of Maya’s case with autism to me was the fact that she was diagnosed at 21. “It’s a long list of diagnosis Maya collected before she was 21, from borderline personality disorder to agoraphobia to obsessive-compulsive disorder…”(165). This part stood out to me the most because most of the time nowadays people are diagnosed in their adolescent years. So, the fact that it took so long and so many doctors baffles me. Lyric B.

Tashawna N. said...

In this article, one thing that caught my attention about gender differences and autism came from page 166; it mentioned that only boys would be included in the research because autism is more likely 3:1 for boys rather than girls. I think that it is extremely rude and unscientific to leave out one gender in research simply because it is less likely to occur. There would be a lot to learn from what could be learned from how autism affects women just as what can be learned from the men.

~Tashawna N.