Autism, gender and gender dysphoria in issue 19 of The SEND Practitioner

Edward Farrow

This issue explores the comparatively undiscovered country of females with autism via in-depth interviews with Professor Baron-Cohen and Dr Hendrickx. It also examines gender dysphoria through Dr Lawson’s deeply personal and moving account.

‘Autism is more diverse than originally thought, with new ideas being put forward every day. In fact, it’s a case of ‘the more we know, the less we know’, particularly in how gender affects individuals with autism.’

Dr Judith Gould

Judith Gould’s quote hints at the gender disparities in our understanding of autism; disparities that mean that ‘we don’t have such a detailed idea of what it looks like in females’ (Professor Baron-Cohen). While we’ve made strides since Hans Asperger first asserted that autism did not affect females (in 1943), we’re still a country mile from a true grasp of autism across genders. Indeed, when neurodiversity and the autism spectrum are such key terms of reference in our modern discourse, it is telling that our understanding of autism across genders is not as diverse, broad and consistent as it could be.

This issue of The SEND Practitioner addresses this deficit by asking two very different experts your questions about females with autism. In this way, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and Dr Sarah Hendrickx offer contrasting perspectives. While the former is a world-class academic, researcher, and author of ‘The extreme male brain theory of autism’; the latter is a respected consultant, trainer and coach in autism spectrum conditions who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in her late 40s. You’ll also find a profoundly important and personal piece on gender and gender dysphoria by Dr Wenn Lawson.

To conclude this issue, Maddie Ralph’s top-notch interviews with Ruth Deutsch (co-creator of CAP) and two CAP graduates, demonstrate the impact that this course has had on dynamic assessment skills. While our news section gives you the lowdown on Dyslexia Action, our recent NASENCO webinar, the London CAP course and Autism Show (this June), and our head of marketing’s marathon exploits.

Read issue 19 of The SEND Practitioner.

Peruse The SEND Practitioner archive.

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