Tania A. Marshall is the author of two best-selling books, popular speaker and has an extremely busy private practice. She works with individuals across the lifespan with all types of individuals including professional singers, actors/actresses, dancers, performing artists, gifted and talented individuals, twice-exceptional (2e), autism or Asperger Syndrome, highly sensitive people, individuals with savants skills and high-profile individuals. She works with individuals across the lifespan. After I Am AspienGirl® was released in June 2014, Tania and her team were inundated with emails, stories, messages and letters, many from females themselves or from their family members, their loved ones and professionals. They received messages from a number of countries wanting to know more about female autism, offering their translation skills to assist in getting the information made available in other languages, wanting to know where to go to start the process of an assessment. Messages came in from parents and professionals saying they were using the book as an effective way to promote awareness and educate others. On August 22, 2015, Tania released a sequel entitled I Am AspienWoman, and within its first week, it became a #1 Amazon Australia bestseller in both the Autism and Disabilities categories and reached #5 on Amazon USA.
Your book I Am AspienGirl helped people understand female autism. How does your new book I Am AspienWoman take us into a deeper understanding?
I Am AspienWoman is the sequel to I Am AspienGirl and based on a blog I wrote two years ago entitled Aspienwomen: Moving towards an adult female profile of Autism/Asperger Syndrome. This blog has been viewed approximately 247,778 times in two years and has been translated into a variety of languages, reblogged and cited in a variety of publications. Autistic women have challenges that, for most part, remain unrecognized and invisible in society. There is one published assessment tool available for girls (Kopp & Gilberg, 2011) containing specific ASSQ-GIRL items and no published assessment tools for adult females. There are currently no research-based interventions for females on the spectrum. There are few professionals worldwide trained with an understanding and experience in working with females on the autism spectrum. Those of us working in this area know there is currently a deluge of females across the lifespan with undiagnosed autism struggling with mental health issues and/or co-existing disorders or conditions. It will remain this way for some time into the future. There are not enough books, research, or information on this topic. This is what I call the female autism crisis. There is a desperate need all over the world for more trained professionals, more research based on females and comparing females with autism to their neurotypical peers, more information regarding the internal experiences of a large group of females on the spectrum, more information about the female subtypes, and a huge need for assessment tools, resources, intervention and support designed specifically for females.
Current assessment tools do not appear to be suitable or designed to identify particular features of autism spectrum disorder/condition in females. It is important to remember that this book is about many adult females who have been misdiagnosed or undiagnosed and as such have not received appropriate or helpful interventions. Poor self-esteem is a common theme, often from early childhood, and the experience of bullying, the later expectations of failing, disapproval by others and/or fear of ridicule.
It is my hope that with earlier diagnoses and interventions, many of the struggles seen in adults today may be avoided, and that appropriate interventions are created to assist females to be their own superheroes.
Can you give us an overview?
I Am AspienWoman takes us into the world of many undiagnosed or misdiagnosed women and their struggles and gifts. This book is much larger and covers more issues that relate to women across their lifespan. This book gives a voice to autistic women who struggled with being heard, being under-diagnosed and misunderstood by professionals, their families and the world at large.
Who is the ideal reader?
The ideal reader is those affected by and who love and care for this special group of women. Many psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, education staff, nurses, university counselling services, autism organizations and book stores have purchased copies, which I am most pleased about!
Please share one of your favorite passages in the book.
There are so many favorite passages. I think the one on page 190 as a quote by a client really epitomizes the female autism crisis and the current diagnostic challenges that professionals are having when she asks:
Can people really be intelligent, shy, socially anxious, mute and depressed bipolar anorexics with borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder?
I also really like the tips that the mentors give to other Aspienwomen, from being less rigid to never quitting socially.
What impact do you believe your books have made for girls and women on the autism spectrum?
I receive very touching and emotional emails on a daily basis daily from girls, women, families and professionals from all over the world. We try to add them to the testimonials page so that others can read how important is for this information has been for them. Many express gratitude at having the information available as there are no autism centers near them, and if there are, they are male-centric.
If there is one message that you would like to leave with the reader, what would it be?
I think the message would be that it’s never too late to receive a diagnosis and to get support. Study the mentor section and really listen to what these special woman have to say. You can be a positive AspienWoman or you can be a grumpy one. Be positive!
Where can we purchase I Am AspienWoman?
For more on Tania Marshall and I Am AspienWoman: