DVD Review: Aspergers, Autism & Girls
Presented By: Dr. Tony Attwood
Reviewed By: By Lee A. Wilkinson, PhD, NCSP
Published/Produced By: Future Horizons
Although there has been a dramatic increase in the recognition of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) over the past decade, a significant gender gap has emerged in the diagnosis of milder forms, such as high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome. Statistics indicate that while boys are being referred and identified in greater numbers, this is not the case for girls. This DVD is a conference video that provides a comprehensive presentation of the characteristics and explanation as to why females with autism spectrum disorders are an underidentified and underserved group in our schools and community. In his presentation, Dr. Attwood describes some of unique challenges experienced by women and girls on the spectrum. Among the topics covered are gender differences in the pattern of development and abilities in Asperger syndrome, identification and educational planning, social relationships, friendship and bullying, puberty, and transitioning from school to adulthood. PowerPoint slides are used to illustrate important points and to present insightful comments from females with Asperger syndrome. The consequences of a missed or late diagnosis are emphasized, including social isolation, peer rejection, and a greater risk for mental health and behavioral distress such as anxiety and depression during adolescence and adulthood.
The content of the presentation largely parallels the book “Asperger’s and Girls,” featuring Dr. Attwood and several other well-known experts. In fact, this title is prominently displayed at the beginning of the session. Although this DVD has little to offer in the way of new information or research for the well-informed practitioner, it does serve to “sensitize” us to the need to understand gender differences in the expression of ASD across the lifespan. Those who are unfamiliar with this subject or have not had an opportunity to read the texts recommended by Dr. Attwood will find his presentation engaging and highly informative. “Aspergers, Autism and Girls” is recommended as a practical resource for autism professionals, educators, parents, students, and girls and women on the spectrum.
This Month’s Featured Book Reviewer: Lee A. Wilkinson, EdD, PhD, NCSP
Special Thanks to Lee Wilkinson for reviewing this CD for PediaStaff.
Lee A. Wilkinson, EdD, PhD, NCSP is an author, applied researcher, and practitioner. He is a nationally certified school psychologist, registered psychologist, and certified cognitive-behavioral therapist. Dr. Wilkinson is currently a school psychologist in the Florida public school system where he provides diagnostic and consultation services for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. He is the author of the award winning book “A Best Practice Guide to Assessment and Intervention for Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Schools” published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Dr. Wilkinson can be reached at http://bestpracticeautism.blogspot.com.
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