Common Challenges At School

Ways To Assist

There are many challenges faced by autistic girls attending school, and this section provides advice for teachers, parents and students, that is based on research, practitioner insight and the lived experience of autistic girls and women.

Did you know

Research shows that autistic girls are often harder to identify. Apart from the typical language, communication, cognitive, sensory processing, motor control and social challenges, navigating the ‘hidden curriculum’ is an often overlooked or unknown challenge faced by autistic girls.

The Hidden Curriculum

The hidden curriculum is about the aspects of the school day that sit outside the boundaries of traditional lessons, but aspects that are critical to the positive experience of the classroom environment. Autistic girls may not learn intuitively so must be taught rules and school culture. However, their coping mechanisms of masking and internalising difficulties and anxieties make them vulnerable to not having their needs met in school, even with a formal diagnosis. 9

Knowledge of this hidden curriculum is vital. When teachers understand the need to address this, they can then effectively teach the known curriculum in a way that autistic girls can understand. 10

9. (Moyse, & Porter 2015) 10. (Charman et al. 2011; Szatmari 2011)