I sighed as I read new research from Cambridge University this month, confirming that men are more likely to test higher on the autism spectrum than women; and those who work in science, engineering, mathematics or technology, higher again.
However true it may be, my worry is that it compounds a stereotype (that those with autism tend to be geeky men doing something unfathomable) and crops out of the picture millions of people like me – women with autism who struggle to balance their current account, are baffled by spreadsheets and who are more interested in fashion than physics.
Until I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism this summer, I had spent my whole life feeling different. Not broken exactly, but somehow ‘other’. Unable to do things that most people find straightforward. Plagued by guilt, fear and a sense of inadequacy.
At school, I was the small girl on the bench in the playground with her head buried in a book, unwilling or unable to be one of the crowd. Though now 46, on many levels this is how I have remained. Interacting with the world as if behind glass.