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In other words, women are just far better at pretending to be normal.
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.
She also finds the sensory side of things difficult.
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’.
This may explain why Boyle entered the Priory clinic after her BGT breakthrough, unable to cope with her fame and, presumably, the accompanying pressure to appear ‘normal’.
According to a spokesperson for the NAS, a woman with AS may struggle to make female friends, because of the ‘complex way that women build friendships – the subtlety and nuance’ (as compared with more straightforward men).
According to the National Autistic Society (NAS), autism is an incurable developmental disability, in which one’s ability to communicate and relate to the outside world is impaired, meaning empathy (the drive to identify with others’ emotions), socialising and picking up on cues, such as subtlety or irony, are virtually impossible.
It’s no surprise then that men account for 90 per cent of AS diagnoses.George Osborne was accused of having AS because of his ability to retain random facts (at the expense of seeing the bigger picture, was the suggestion) – and he swiftly retorted that the journalist who said this must be confusing him with Gordon Brown, a man of limited social skills.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’.Who knows if any of these men actually have Asperger’s – but in the face of behaviour where certain emotional synapses seem not to have quite ‘connected’, it’s the word on everyone’s lips.