About 90 per cent of Asperger’s diagnoses are in men, but this is largely because women ‘use specific coping and adjustment strategies to camouflage their confusion in social situations’, according to clinical psychologist and Asperger’s expert Tony Attwood, who believes that the actual male-to-female Asperger’s ratio is more like 4:1.In other words, women are just far better at pretending to be normal.To cope, she makes lists, ‘like others might make a shopping list’, reminding herself to hold her partner’s hand ‘for five minutes every day’ and to hug him ‘three times a day’.She also urges him to say when he needs something he is not getting from her. On the bright side, AS women adjust quite easily to motherhood – as babies and small children thrive on a strict routine, and so do Aspies!It’s no surprise then that men account for 90 per cent of AS diagnoses.
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During the last US presidential election, both candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, had the term thrown at them when they made awkward gaffes.
And tech bigwigs Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates – who seem more at ease interacting with computers than humans – have also been labelled ‘Aspies’.
While a boy with Asperger’s will present as ‘agitated, clumsy and immature’, says Attwood, an AS girl will be far better at covering her condition through imitation.
‘An avid observer of human behaviour’, she will learn what to do or say, how to copy others and so go unnoticed; unlike the AS boy, she will ‘apologise and appease’. Her social awkwardness has been evident since she shot to fame in Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, but she has tried to fit into the ‘normal’ world – smiling for photo shoots, making TV appearances.