Common Challenges At School
A key area, in which the hidden curriculum appears to create difficulties for autistic girls is class rules.21 Autistic girls identify difficulties with authority and rules, stating that rules had to make sense to them and be consistently applied, otherwise this caused confusion, frustration and increased anxiety.22
Ebony Birch Hanger is a Teacher, Neurodevelopmental Therapist, Education Consultant & Music Specialist. In this video about class rules, Ebony shares some insights on why many autistic girls have difficulties with authority and rules. She shares advice on how to support them in a school setting to avoid confusion, frustration and to minimise anxiety
I have found that autistic girls often have a strong sense of fairness, justice and a desire to abide by the rules. This has led to many conflicts with their peers who may not feel the same. This can cause anxiety amongst the class, so it’s important to manage.
I have seen autistic girls who easily get distracted by their surroundings, which can impact on their ability to focus and follow what is expected.
I have never responded well to authority and would often question teachers at school on the rules. I didn't do this to be disrespectful, I just processed this differently and needed to understand 'why' the rules were in place and also see them enforced fairly.
Further recommendations on this topic
- Read the fact sheet for more tips and strategies : Class Rules.pdf
21. Moyse& Porter, 2015 22. Victoria, Birmingham 2015