EPICENTER Research Project

Girls with Autism

  • An experience near analysis on how to see autism

Girls with Autism: An experience near analysis on how to see autism

During the last decades the number of people diagnosed with autism has increased significantly. So fast that someone talks about an autism epidemic. There is no reasonable biomedical explanation for this fact and it’s therefore assumed, that the mere awareness on autism can be part of the explanation - a sort of social contagion. Girls with autism offer special insights to the epidemic of autism because they are not diagnosed in the same scale as boys. Often they are being described as overlooked. This makes girls an interesting target group for investigating social contagion, because if it's a matter of overlooking them, what is (not) contagious?


Through interviews with parents I explore what they have experienced in their search for an autism diagnosis. I ask what signs they saw, what motivated them and who influenced them in order to clarify, what actually was being communicated, noticed and acted upon. My Ph.D. also includes fieldwork from two special institutions in Denmark. Here I focus on 7 girls with autism and their sociality and everyday life as well as the pedagogical praxis that shape their surrounding environment. As a cultural comparison I carried out a minor fieldwork in LA, California. This took place in an institution promoting independency in young adults with autism. The question raised both in Denmark and in the US was whether to see and meet people with autism, with “one's heart” or mind, and what differences it makes on how autism is seen. It is my aim to give some answers to the central challenge of Epicenter about social contagion and how non-communicable diseases spread; by looking into the way autism is being interpreted by the significant others both prior and after the official autism diagnoses.

Contact Researcher

Fie Lund Lindegaard Christensen

PhD student