The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women
Written by Dr. Sarah Bargiela
Illustrated by Sophie Standing
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2019)
What is autism? How does it differ in women compared to men? And why is autism in women so often missed?
In Camouflage, London-based clinical psychologist Dr. Sarah Bargiela inquires into autism in women, which is thought to be an under-represented condition. By creating this informative and visually arresting graphic nonfiction, Dr. Bargiela hopes to illuminate the experiences of women on the spectrum.
The first few pages of the book discuss the history and definition of autism. The book mentioned two doctors – Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger – who were among the first to write about autism. Forty years after their research, studies of women with autism came about, during the 1980s.
In order to raise awareness about female autism, Dr. Bargiela shared the stories of three autistic women that she interviewed. It took me back to college days, when we did focus group discussion, the only difference being that our report was not in graphic form.
Camouflage may be a short and quick read but it contains enough valuable information to help understand female autism a little better. Dr. Bargiela encourages readers to pass on the knowledge to others.
“Sharing the knowledge that autism even exists in females is important for challenging common biases and beliefs. This way, autistic girls and women can be safe, recognised and celebrated for their differences.”
#WomenReadWomen2019 (United Kingdom)