Eating disorders include bulimia, anorexia, binge eating and others. This is a sensitive topic and, although I have familial experience, I am aware of the dangers of discussing a topic without enough knowledge.

The reason I have included this is because research shows that girls and women have often fallen through the autistic diagnosis net, because they have instead been diagnosed with an eating disorder. That’s not to say they don’t also have one, and that’s not to say the majority of girls and women with eating disorders are also autistic. I mention it because autism has not historically been considered a diagnosis for females and we have far too often had other explanations given to us instead, whilst ignoring traits that would have guided them to an autism diagnosis in males.

For instance, an undiagnosed autistic teenage girl may have a very restrictive diet, due to hypersensitivity or ARFID. Another may be under-eating because of poor interoception. But because of their ages, because of their gender and because of peer and social pressure, their GPs may well, wrongly, decide that their reasons for these restrictions are related to anorexia or, in one of my relative’s cases, body dysmorphia. They may have either or both of these disorders as well, they may not, but because of the medical profession’s focus, those young women may well remain unidentified as autistic, and if the assessment of their disordered eating is also inaccurate, this may mean she receives no effective help in that area either.

Here are some online resources if you, or those you care about, feel you might need them: Beat Eating Disorders