by Franciss Nikole Elli | April 30, 2021
Inday, 10, dozes off into the vast nothingness of space. She drives spaceships, towards the moon, and beyond the stars. Restless, she jumps down the blue planet, drenching herself in the violent breeze. She glides freely, seemingly weightless as the winds cradled her safely. Atop the heaps and heaps of clouds, a hot air balloon catches her and snuggles her in a comfortable journey on her way down.
Autism is a condition that affects the way people behave, socialize, and communicate with others. Among children, autism is more common in boys than in girls by about four times. However, a 2013 study concluded that autism often goes undiagnosed in girls, which is why it is more common in boys.
Rooms of imagination
Parents report strong imaginative play among their female children with autism. These imaginations tend to be more rigid and scripted. Parents can facilitate pretend plays with their children to develop skills for social relationships. Games that are structured and with a defined end are also helpful. While engaging in these activities, it is important to talk about what is going on, encourage play skills in different environments, and use play to help the child respond appropriately to challenging social situations.
Females with autism may develop social skills and coping mechanisms that allow them to blend themselves in society. They can appear to be more chatty and sociable, which strays away from the common behavioral patterns of autism in males. They are also less likely to use social isolation as a coping strategy, thus camouflaging them in plain sight. Furthermore, unlike males who are diagnosed in the spectrum, females have “socially acceptable interests”. However, these interests tend to be more intense.
Inday wakes up from the slumber that is her imagination. Her cousin Ningning, 10 years old arrives for their weekend “play date”. She runs the “typical scripts” as she bursts in a smile, welcoming Ningning, as she shares her immense fascination with rockets and space.
Play and children with autism spectrum disorder. (2017, July 7). Raising Children Network. https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/school-play-work/play-learning/play-asd
Understanding Autism in Women. (2018, December 3). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/autism-in-women#support