"I think it's really important that kids can see that autism isn't what makes them them. It's not a label which sticks itself onto you. It's just another part."
Chloe Hayden got the message across very clearly during Autism Awareness Week this week. She is an 18-year-old advocate for children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It can be difficult to recognise in girls, which has been the focus of some campaign groups this year.
A group formed to support girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder says that girls living with autism are often misdiagnosed, misunderstood or missed completely. Early intervention funding is available, but when the diagnosis is picked up late, this opportunity is lost. By encouraging parents, frontline professionals and specialists to be more aware of the particular issues around the recognition and diagnosis of ASD in girls, it would be hoped that more girls may be able to avoid some of the struggles that they experience.
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