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Unapologetically Sensitive

We explore how sensitivity weaves itself into our lives; the richness that it adds, and the strengths we have BECAUSE of our sensitivity--and some of the challenges it poses as well. You may learn to live a bolder, brighter life.

Jul 25, 2023

Female Autism: Challenging Stereotypes, and the Need for Education

Another Highly Sensitive Therapist and I discuss the challenges (and gifts) of being diagnosed autistic. We discuss how autism in sensitive females (Assigned Female at Birth AFAB) presents differently, as well as how autism in females tends to be very different than autism in males. We address common things that are said that may feel supportive, but aren’t, and we talk about common misperceptions as well. We talk about the lack of research and challenges between the Autism community and the HSP community.


Stephanie Gardner Wright, LMSW



  • Autistic women tend to internalize their struggles, so they don’t “look” autistic
  • 80% of those diagnosed with autism, also have ADHD
  • 95% of women who seek an autism assessment are diagnosed with autism
  • Undiagnosed autism can be misdiagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, OCD, ADHD (it’s possible to have comorbidities)
  • Seek to understand the experience of the person who tells you they’re autistic
  • Ask how you can support them
  • Saying things like, “Everyone is a little autistic,” or “You don’t look/seem/act autistic,” or “I wouldn’t have known you are autistic” is harmful and invalidating
  • Questioning the validity of someone’s diagnosis is invalidating (and not really your business)
  • We need more research around how autism and sensitives may coincide
  • Recognizing signs of autism and seeking a proper diagnosis can improve understanding and acceptance.
  • Undiagnosed individuals often feel isolated, misunderstood, and unsupported, impacting mental health and well-being.
  • Lack of research on autism in women and the correlation between ADHD and autism contribute to undiagnosed cases.
  • Increased awareness and understanding are needed to better support neurodivergent individuals.
  • Proper diagnoses are crucial for providing appropriate support and self-care.
  • Recognizing the possibility of misdiagnosis promotes awareness about autism and challenges stereotypes.
  • Late autism diagnosis can provide deeper insights and self-awareness, empowering individuals in personal and professional life.


Stephanie Gardner-Wright, LMSW, is a licensed psychotherapist and mental health coach who specializes in supporting highly sensitive and neurodivergent folks. She hosts the podcast Sensitivity Sessions, supporting sensitive souls to find ease and purpose in an overstimulating world. After working with her, her clients have been able to reduce their anxiety, set better boundaries, manage their depression, and heal deep-seated traumas. Stephanie brings to her clients more than a decade of experience helping hundreds of individuals through her private practice and in both agency and community mental health settings. 


Patricia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Coach.  She knows what it’s like to feel like an outcast, misfit, and truthteller.  Learning about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), helped Patricia rewrite her history with a deeper understanding, appreciation, and a sense of self-compassion.  She created the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive to help other HSPs know that they aren’t alone, and that being an HSP has amazing gifts, and some challenges.  Patricia works online globally working individually with people, and she teaches Online Courses for HSPs that focus on understanding what it means to be an HSP, self-care, self-compassion, boundaries, perfectionism, mindfulness, communication, and creating a lifestyle that honors us


Stephanie’s Links 




Samantha Craft’s autism checklist--   

Samantha Craft’s website and link to autism checklist--  

Unmasking Autism by Devon Price

Patricia’s Links 

HSP Online Course--

Online HSP Course Materials (no group included)

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Music-- Gravel Dance by Andy Robinson