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Thousands more women getting tested for autism after ‘being missed for decades’

Tens of thousands more women tested themselves for autism last year with numbers seeking tests now far outstripping men, new data shows.

Statistics seen by The Independent show around 150,000 women took an online test verified by health professionals to see if they have autism last year, up from about 49,000 in 2020.

Health professionals said the increase was a consequence of women not being diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disorder as children and teens due to autism wrongly being viewed as a male disorder.

Experts told The Independent autistic women and girls are routinely overlooked and neglected by health services due to them being more likely to conceal or internalise symptoms.

Data from Clinical Partners, one of the UK’s leading mental health care providers which works closely with the NHS, shows women made up 56 per cent of those using their autism tests last year. This is substantially higher than the 46 per cent of women testing themselves for autism in 2020.

Hannah Hayward, neurodevelopmental specialist at Clinical Partners, who provided the exclusive data, explained: “Diagnosis is crucial – without which, women and men can be susceptible to symptoms of mental health conditions including anxiety and depression and it is common for them to be misdiagnosed with or develop other conditions such as anxiety, anorexia, depression or Borderline Personality Disorder,” 

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Source: The Independent, 23 March 2022



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