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Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women

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Autism in women and girls is still not widely understood, and is often misrepresented or even overlooked. This graphic novel offers an engaging and accessible insight into the lives and minds of autistic women, using real-life case studies. The charming illustrations lead readers on a visual journey of how women on the spectrum experience everyday life, from metaphors and m Autism in women and girls is still not widely understood, and is often misrepresented or even overlooked. This graphic novel offers an engaging and accessible insight into the lives and minds of autistic women, using real-life case studies. The charming illustrations lead readers on a visual journey of how women on the spectrum experience everyday life, from metaphors and masking in social situations, to friendships and relationships and the role of special interests. Fun, sensitive and informative, this is a fantastic resource for anyone who wishes to understand how gender affects autism, and how to create safer supportive and more accessible environments for women on the spectrum.


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Autism in women and girls is still not widely understood, and is often misrepresented or even overlooked. This graphic novel offers an engaging and accessible insight into the lives and minds of autistic women, using real-life case studies. The charming illustrations lead readers on a visual journey of how women on the spectrum experience everyday life, from metaphors and m Autism in women and girls is still not widely understood, and is often misrepresented or even overlooked. This graphic novel offers an engaging and accessible insight into the lives and minds of autistic women, using real-life case studies. The charming illustrations lead readers on a visual journey of how women on the spectrum experience everyday life, from metaphors and masking in social situations, to friendships and relationships and the role of special interests. Fun, sensitive and informative, this is a fantastic resource for anyone who wishes to understand how gender affects autism, and how to create safer supportive and more accessible environments for women on the spectrum.

30 review for Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    Studying any material related to autism should be mandatory for all teachers. Apart from the actual teaching of a specific subject, we must support our students, we must care for them and their problems and do everything within our means to help them. We didn’t choose this profession to kill time, we chose to be teachers out of love for children and the need to offer. At least that would happen in an ideal world. Unfortunately, there’s always a significant number of teachers who consider teachin Studying any material related to autism should be mandatory for all teachers. Apart from the actual teaching of a specific subject, we must support our students, we must care for them and their problems and do everything within our means to help them. We didn’t choose this profession to kill time, we chose to be teachers out of love for children and the need to offer. At least that would happen in an ideal world. Unfortunately, there’s always a significant number of teachers who consider teaching a chore that they must carry out and be done with it. Psychology and research mean very little to them. So, this is not reading material for these ‘’teachers’’. However, it is of special importance to the rest of us. Dr. Sarah Bagiela has developed a concise booklet on the ways autism can be diagnosed and its influence on various aspects of daily life. ''Camouflage''. An excellent choice for the title of the booklet, in my opinion. Dr. Bagiela stresses the differences between women diagnosed with autism and men who face the same situation and presents a number of extremely interesting conclusions. Women hide, camouflage autism by resorting to social mimicry skills. In my opinion, this is one more indicator of the subconscious, powerful influence of social norms on the sexes. Developed around three interviews of women diagnosed with autism, we are introduced to the notions of restricted interests, repetitive behaviours, and sensitivities. The difficulty of social interactions and the importance of interests in the life of these women. And what about men, you may ask. This is not a book on men with autism but on the secrecy and complexity of the world of autistic women. It has nothing to do with equality or inequality as a review mentioned and it's time to stop seeing monsters where there are none. It's getting tiresome. Researchers deal with specific fields. This is exactly a specific field, whether some like it or not (or choose to let their prejudices blind them...) And it is an excellent read. Enriched with beautiful illustrations by Sophie Standing in green, orange and white and with a very interesting bibliography, Camouflage will interest those who seek to start reading on autism and the ones who have extensive knowledge on the subject. It is moving, powerful and very, very real. Many thanks to Jessica Kingsley Publishers and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  2. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    This was a really beautifully done comic about autistic women! The art is just perfect...it's clever and fluid and really nice to look at. This is just a 40-page comic/graphic novel, so its aim is to introduce you to what women with autism look like. It covers some of the differences in male vs female presenting symptoms and why women go undiagnosed so much. As an autistic myself, I was really keen to see how it would sum up life as an autistic woman...and I think it did well! My only caveat is: This was a really beautifully done comic about autistic women! The art is just perfect...it's clever and fluid and really nice to look at. This is just a 40-page comic/graphic novel, so its aim is to introduce you to what women with autism look like. It covers some of the differences in male vs female presenting symptoms and why women go undiagnosed so much. As an autistic myself, I was really keen to see how it would sum up life as an autistic woman...and I think it did well! My only caveat is: it's just an overview. You'd really give this to someone who has NO idea what autism is. You'd give this to the person who says, "Aw no you're just shy, not autistic!" to give them a place to start on understanding it. I loved how it never pitched autism negatively. Thaaaanks. Would hi five. But it emphasised the whole way through that girls with autism generally have less issues than boys because we internalised and mask. (Hence the title of "Camouflage".) I think it should've underlined the cost of this more: serious depression, meltdowns and shutdowns, high suicide rates, etc. I KNOW it was just an overview, but by the end (if I'd known nothing about autism) I would've felt like autistic women felt different but it was no big deal...when in reality I think we need to bring awareness to the dangers of camouflaging. And that women with autism need to be believed and supported and not doubted.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    A huge thank you to Amalia Gaveawhose beautiful review of this book made me add it to my shelf. Thank you for 'passing it on' and caring so passionately about teaching. ‘Camouflage: the hidden lives of autistic women’ is a great introduction into autistic disorder spectrum in women. The book is well-researched, informative and beautifully-illustrated. We get a brief overview of what autism is, the prevalence of low and high-functioning autism in men and women (it is also explained why terms 'low A huge thank you to Amalia Gaveawhose beautiful review of this book made me add it to my shelf. Thank you for 'passing it on' and caring so passionately about teaching. ‘Camouflage: the hidden lives of autistic women’ is a great introduction into autistic disorder spectrum in women. The book is well-researched, informative and beautifully-illustrated. We get a brief overview of what autism is, the prevalence of low and high-functioning autism in men and women (it is also explained why terms 'low and high- functioning autism' may be unhelpful) and the reasons why fewer women are diagnosed with autism. The book illustrates in a very accessible manner what exactly restricted social communication and interaction, repetitive behaviours, sensory sensitivities and eccentric, special interests are. I loved the way differences between autistic men and women are presented through infographics, case studies and stories. I could almost feel the exhaustion brought by the perceived need for social mimicry and camouflage- ‘It’s very draining trying to figure out everything all the time’. The most shocking part for me was the one dealing with vulnerability in intimate relationships and need to assert oneself so as not to become a victim of abuse. I will definitely pass the information contained in this remarkable book dedicated to challenging common misconceptions about autistic women in order to promote better understanding of their experiences. Thank you to NetGalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    I have two sons with autism, one severely autistic, the other only recently diagnosed, who might at some point become possibly fully functional, not sure yet, so I have both 1) read a lot about and have a lot of personal experience autism, as parent and teacher, and 2) I know far more boys than girls are diagnosed with the disorder, so I was interested in this short graphic non-fiction book by clinical psychologist Sophie Bargiela and illustrated by Sophie Standing. Though I like the attractive I have two sons with autism, one severely autistic, the other only recently diagnosed, who might at some point become possibly fully functional, not sure yet, so I have both 1) read a lot about and have a lot of personal experience autism, as parent and teacher, and 2) I know far more boys than girls are diagnosed with the disorder, so I was interested in this short graphic non-fiction book by clinical psychologist Sophie Bargiela and illustrated by Sophie Standing. Though I like the attractive coloring I am not a fan of the digital “infographics style,” but I appreciate the work for making a single point in a succinct (40 page) and more visually-arresting fashion than most non-fiction books: That we misdiagnose girls who are on the spectrum because they sometimes seem to better “camouflage” their symptoms than boys. An appendix lists some texts for further reading, because this short book is clearly just a kind of introduction to the topic. I think that the book is accessible for middle grades and YA so could be useful for teachers and students in helping identify both boys and girls who might possibly get more help with a correct diagnosis. Of course we all know of Temple Grandin, who has written many books about autism without making the gender distinction. And because we have so many more people with autism than ever—and no, it’s not just better diagnostic techniques, anyone who taught thirty years ago and still teaches today can tell you that there are many, many more students with autism and other neurological disorders of various kinds today—it is useful to know all we can about it. There are many works of recent fiction that include girl (and boy) characters on the spectrum; one recent one (that also does not identify gender differences) that I really like is Liana Finck’s Almost Human: A Graphic Memoir, which is much longer, more artistically interesting and accomplished, and ultimately more insightful. Still, I like it that Bargiela’s work is both based on interviews with girls with autism, and makes an attempt to reach out to a general audience, based on her interviewing 3 young and articulate—so thus high-functioning—women: Paula (24), Ellie (19), and Mimi (30) who were mainly seen by families and professionals as anxious, depressed, or simply shy, and who coped by “camouflaging,” “pretending to be normal,” better “passing” for neurotypical than many boys, according to the author. Of course three interviews—not even in-depth case studies—do not a persuasive case make, and I would like to know more about this assertion of gender differences, I’m intrigued, and I’m disappointed that we don’t really get to know these women at all in this short book, but the quotes Bargiela shares are sometimes heart-breaking: “It’s very draining trying to figure out everything all the time.” I still appreciate what this book could do to reach teachers and parents and young people. I can imagine someone reading this and exclaiming: “Oh, this makes so much sense, I probably have [or she has) autism!”

  5. 4 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    5/3/20 This book is so good and educational! The illustrations are great as well :) There are many fields where medical research on women is very scarce. Honestly, I could talk about this all day - for instance cis-men have been used as test objects for research on cis-female organs. It's just things that make you go: Que? Anyway, as a result of this, many women with autism are diagnosed at very late stage in life (if at all), simply because their autism generally isn't expressed in the same way. 5/3/20 This book is so good and educational! The illustrations are great as well :) There are many fields where medical research on women is very scarce. Honestly, I could talk about this all day - for instance cis-men have been used as test objects for research on cis-female organs. It's just things that make you go: Que? Anyway, as a result of this, many women with autism are diagnosed at very late stage in life (if at all), simply because their autism generally isn't expressed in the same way. For instance, on average women are better at masking (learning how to communicate in a socially accepted way - mostly by trial and error and copying), which can be very exhausting and lead to anxiety and depression. That's why it's so important to raise awareness, so that we can prevent people from avoidable harm. I'd definitely recommend this book if you want educate yourself. Thank you for attending my TED talk You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristy K

    With the great graphics and bite-sized chunks of information, Camouflage can almost be seen as a large pamphlet. It's quite short, only around 40 pages, and yet it's packed full of data and firsthand accounts of autistic women. Illustrated and well-researched, Bargiela introduces us to the differences between men and women with autism (and Asperger's). I found it informative, eye-opening, and to the point. She also gives additional reading recommendations at the end which I always find helpful. With the great graphics and bite-sized chunks of information, Camouflage can almost be seen as a large pamphlet. It's quite short, only around 40 pages, and yet it's packed full of data and firsthand accounts of autistic women. Illustrated and well-researched, Bargiela introduces us to the differences between men and women with autism (and Asperger's). I found it informative, eye-opening, and to the point. She also gives additional reading recommendations at the end which I always find helpful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Sophie Standing is not a new name to me. Having done research on trauma in autobiographical graphic novels, I gathered all kinds of articles and books, including her collaboration with Steve Haines for “Trauma is Really Strange,” which is an essay on the nature of trauma in, well, comic format. The “Really Strange” series (Singing Dragon), also includes volumes on pain, forgiveness, and anxiety, which I recommend you check out. Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women goes along the sa Sophie Standing is not a new name to me. Having done research on trauma in autobiographical graphic novels, I gathered all kinds of articles and books, including her collaboration with Steve Haines for “Trauma is Really Strange,” which is an essay on the nature of trauma in, well, comic format. The “Really Strange” series (Singing Dragon), also includes volumes on pain, forgiveness, and anxiety, which I recommend you check out. Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women goes along the same line: informative, eye-opening, and gorgeously illustrated! Since I was already a fan of Sophie’s work, I thought I might look into Sarah Bargiela before reading Camouflage , I was surely impressed to find that her research focuses on the experiences of young women with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Camouflage defines the terms for its reader, pointing out why there are fewer girls and women diagnosed with autism compared to boys and men, which – it pains me to admit – is not something I even considered. If you’re thinking she would be a female version of “Rain Man,” read this book! It’s not even close… The core of this book is based on the stories Sarah Bargiela gathered doing interviews with autistic young women - Paula (24), Ellie (19), and Mimi (30) - trying to deconstruct the labelling of women on the spectrum, often dismissed by people as anxious, depressed, or simply shy, and having them explain how they tried to “fit in” by “camouflaging,” “pretending to be normal.” Whether it’s creative writing, crafts, or playing music, finding friends with common interests has helped these women to better understand themselves and the others to better understand their autism. At the end, there is a “Further reading” list of articles, books, and websites, if you want more information. “So once you’ve read it, pass it on!” 4.5 stars *Thanks to NetGalley & Jessica Kingsley Publishers for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Allie

    I'm a little worried to review this because then I'm basically outing myself. In the past 6 months or so I've started to realize I'm definitely not neurotypical and there's a strong possibility that I'm autistic. There are so many characteristics I have that I thought was just my dumb broken brain that I have been masking (to various degrees of success) throughout my life. Recently I had an experience exactly like the ones described in the book where I asked my psychiatrist about an autism diagn I'm a little worried to review this because then I'm basically outing myself. In the past 6 months or so I've started to realize I'm definitely not neurotypical and there's a strong possibility that I'm autistic. There are so many characteristics I have that I thought was just my dumb broken brain that I have been masking (to various degrees of success) throughout my life. Recently I had an experience exactly like the ones described in the book where I asked my psychiatrist about an autism diagnosis and he dismissed all my concerns as just personality traits. It was so frustrating and it made me so angry! He didn't even seem to understand why I would want to seek a diagnosis. There is a growing amount of research about how autism presents differently in people socialized female and women and girls use different masking and camouflaging skills. An easily digestible summary is this article from NPR called 'Social Camouflage' May Lead To Underdiagnosis Of Autism In Girls.

  9. 5 out of 5

    La Coccinelle

    I thought this would be an interesting look at how autism affects women, but unfortunately, the book simply promotes and reinforces what appears to be a flawed premise, while simultaneously ignoring the severe end of the autism spectrum, making incorrect assumptions, and disparaging people (especially women) who don't have autism. The biggest problem with this book is that it posits that females are underdiagnosed with autism because they don't meet the male-based criteria. Here's the thing: Ther I thought this would be an interesting look at how autism affects women, but unfortunately, the book simply promotes and reinforces what appears to be a flawed premise, while simultaneously ignoring the severe end of the autism spectrum, making incorrect assumptions, and disparaging people (especially women) who don't have autism. The biggest problem with this book is that it posits that females are underdiagnosed with autism because they don't meet the male-based criteria. Here's the thing: There is no medical test for autism. There's no blood test or scan that you can take that will tell you, definitively, if you have the condition. So a diagnosis is based solely on observed or reported behaviour. This book talks about how women don't tick as many of the symptom boxes as men. Logically, it would follow that fewer women would be diagnosed. But this book argues that point to a ridiculous degree. According to this, if you don't meet the established criteria for autism, then the criteria is wrong. Some of the assertions are just plain silly. There's a section where the women talk about running into trouble with abusive partners or narcissistic behaviour, as if that's something that can only happen to women with autism. Domestic violence wouldn't be such a huge problem if only autistic people were vulnerable to it! Another part of the book has one of the women implying that men are better because they'll come right out and be rude, while neurotypical women "never really say what they mean". Well, I'll come right out and say it: that is rude, disrespectful, and inaccurate. (There goes that generalization about neurotypical women...) The little bit of background on the discovery of autism didn't really impress me. I've read about it previously. The casual mentions of Hans Asperger were a little bit disturbing, though; he was a eugenicist who collaborated with the Nazis and ended up sending mentally ill and disabled children to their deaths. None of that is mentioned at all. The erasure of the lower end of the spectrum is perhaps the most disturbing part of the book (but one I'm not surprised by). Much is made of narrow special interests, but the women featured in the book are high-functioning enough to have age-appropriate obsessions. Nowhere is there any mention of the girls and women who are still obsessed with Elmo or PAW Patrol after puberty. Some more extreme symptoms (such as meltdowns) are mentioned, but only in passing. There's absolutely nothing about co-morbid conditions that go along with many autism diagnoses (seizures, bowel disorders, immune dysfunction), likely because that would show that there is a lower end of the spectrum. (The book states that the terms "high functioning" and "low functioning" are considered by some in the autism community to be unhelpful, claiming that it has to do with IQ. I don't think I've seen it referred to in such a way; the functioning levels seem to be more to do with things like how verbal a person is and the ability to perform basic self-care... not an IQ score.) The layout of the book is sort of like an illustrated picture book. It's not a graphic novel. There's no continuous narrative. The pictures aren't really my thing; they're too chunky and simple, more like something you'd see in an infographic. Overall, I wasn't impressed. I expected there to be more from the autistic women themselves, other than a few quotes. I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know, and I just got annoyed by the continued insistence that the criteria for the condition was wrong. I recently read Regression by Twilah Hiari, and it's much better at offering insight into the workings of an autistic woman's mind.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    The presentation and art are a bit odd, but, whoa, is this slim little book chock-full of eye-opening information about underdiagnosis of autism in women.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Etienne

    A visual representation of what living with autisms is for women. Not bad, between information and biographies, they are very personal facts here and more scientific as well. The think I didn't like about this book is the constant, something we saw more and more in modern days, trying to make/show the difference between women and men in everything. We never talk so much about trying to eliminate the barrier between sexes and at the same time we always underline the fact that everything is so dif A visual representation of what living with autisms is for women. Not bad, between information and biographies, they are very personal facts here and more scientific as well. The think I didn't like about this book is the constant, something we saw more and more in modern days, trying to make/show the difference between women and men in everything. We never talk so much about trying to eliminate the barrier between sexes and at the same time we always underline the fact that everything is so different. They're difference that we can't deny and there are also things that are mostly the same. A book explaining autism is great, a book explaining autism of women... not necessary, a chapter exploring the difference between autism women and men would have been enough, because yes there are differences, but there are more similarities. Anyway... editorial review this morning!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane

    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits I love reading in order to discover more about the world around me and also to discover more about myself. I often find myself questioning how I would react if I were to experience fictional situations in novels or genuine ones in memoirs and biographies. Occasionally, I don't get the chance to ponder though. A book will figuratively smack me between the eyes and I'll just know it's talking about me. The last book to do that was Susan Cain's See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits I love reading in order to discover more about the world around me and also to discover more about myself. I often find myself questioning how I would react if I were to experience fictional situations in novels or genuine ones in memoirs and biographies. Occasionally, I don't get the chance to ponder though. A book will figuratively smack me between the eyes and I'll just know it's talking about me. The last book to do that was Susan Cain's Quiet. Now Camouflage has had exactly the same effect. This is me! I chose Camouflage from NetGalley because when I saw it was a graphic novel about autistic women I realised that I couldn't actually think of a single one. I recall several novels with male characters on the autism spectrum, but women? It turns out that, much like heart attacks I think, women generally experience autism in a more low-key way to men and so our symptoms are often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. In this short book women briefly explain how they came to realise that they were autistic, how the condition has been a hindrance or sometimes a benefit, and how they have learned to mask their symptoms especially in social situations. So much of this is very Very familiar! I would have loved for Camouflage to have been a longer and more in depth book. However that isn't its intended purpose so I will need to look for further reading on the subject. Here, instead, we get a stunningly illustrated introduction to female autism. Sophie Standing's drawings raise the book to the standard of a graphic novel, although it is definitely nonfiction, and I loved her almost vintage style. This is a beautiful little book and one that I am particularly grateful to have encountered.

  13. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of CAMOUFLAGE by Sarah Bargiela in exchange for my honest review.*** CAMOUFLAGE is a short, nonfiction, graphic book aimed at distinguishing autism in females vs males. For years medical science researchers using primarily Caucasian men. Doctors were surprised, for instance, that women had different heart attack symptoms than men. As knowledge progressed, scientists began to study different races, geographies, economics and other factors ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of CAMOUFLAGE by Sarah Bargiela in exchange for my honest review.*** CAMOUFLAGE is a short, nonfiction, graphic book aimed at distinguishing autism in females vs males. For years medical science researchers using primarily Caucasian men. Doctors were surprised, for instance, that women had different heart attack symptoms than men. As knowledge progressed, scientists began to study different races, geographies, economics and other factors in diagnosis and treatment. We shouldn’t be surprised that until recently, autism criteria was developed based on male symptomology. Additionally, Aspergers was added as a new diagnosis then encompasses back into Autism Spectrum Disorder in the latest DSM V. CAMOUFLAGE identifies differences in symptom presentation girls and women have. The multicultural illustrations helped show the information in a user friendly manner, simple enough for tweens without talking down to young and older adults. The only reason I held off giving five stars is that the book didn’t distinguish between having some criteria or a lesser degree of a symptom that fits a diagnostic criterium, instead showing dramatic differences between interested and obsessed. CAMOUFLAGE didn’t consider that doctors sometimes see patients and/or parents looking for a diagnosis in order to explain what feels inexplicable. As a child psychologist I had some parents pushing for an ADHD diagnosis without considering we needed to rule out whether lack of structure and candy bars for breakfast might be causing symptoms. The example is true and extreme. I’ve also had teens looking for diagnoses as a way to understand themselves and receive support for issues with different diagnoses (often eating disorders). I’ve also noticed an uptick in some people with Aspergers trying to convince strangers online they must also have the disorder. I would have liked CAMOUFLAGE to add talking to a professional for evaluation and a caveat against self-diagnosis. I do recommend CAMOUFLAGE for doctors, therapists and schools to share with potential autistic folks and to help further the understanding for those new to diagnosis.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Evie Gifford

    Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women had to be one of the top books I was looking forward to reading this month. When I saw a graphic novel from one of my favourite publishers (JKP), about autistic women and camouflaging, I knew I’d have to read it. My expectations were pretty high - perhaps too high. Written by Dr. Sarah Bargiela, a clinical psychologist with an interest in autism and gender, along with illustrator Sophie Standing, Camouflage is...well, I’m not entirely sure who it’s f Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women had to be one of the top books I was looking forward to reading this month. When I saw a graphic novel from one of my favourite publishers (JKP), about autistic women and camouflaging, I knew I’d have to read it. My expectations were pretty high - perhaps too high. Written by Dr. Sarah Bargiela, a clinical psychologist with an interest in autism and gender, along with illustrator Sophie Standing, Camouflage is...well, I’m not entirely sure who it’s for, if I’m being honest. There are a few things worth noting before you get started: It uses person-first (not identify-first) language This...is a massive sticking point for me. Whilst the autistic community isn’t unified with their preferences, research from the National Autistic Society has shown that the term ‘autistic person’ is still widely preferred by autistic people themselves, rather than ‘person with autism’. For many on the spectrum, this language (whilst preferred within the medical community) suggests autism is something separate, rather than intrinsic; it’s something other or curable, instead of just a different way of being. It’s hard to pin down the target audience Is this a general introduction for a complete novice to autism? Is this something I should be handing to friends and family post-diagnosis to help explain my shiny new label? Is this something I should be reading myself whilst trying to figure out if I fit within the category of autistic woman (or while seeing if I even want a label in the first place)? The information presented feels so...mixed. It goes between a quite factual overview of what autism is (and when the diagnosis first came about), right through to personal experiences of women on the spectrum. Rather than feeling like an overview, it seems disjointed in places; instead of flowing naturally between sections, abruptly changing course. It still makes some pretty big generalisations it could just be me being overly-sensitive here, but a few instances really stood out to me, such as when it said ‘subtle social cues like someone looking at a watch (which to autistic folk is pretty much invisible)’ feels like it is a bit too much of a blanket statement, bordering on a stereotype. While I’m sure it’s true for some, it may not be for all. It might be being picking, but language matters. --- I don’t want to make it sound like it’s all bad points - there are some excellent things covered. The section highlighting the differences between traits in autistic men and women (how they can present differently) is well laid out and easy to understand. It’s great to see the emphasis more on adults rather than children, as well as the primary focus on how autistic women can have different traits than their male counterparts. The exploration of the question ‘why are there fewer women and girls diagnosed with (ick) autism compared to men and boys?’ is both an interesting and important point of exploration. One of the best sections towards the latter half of the book aims to give readers a better understanding of what autism ‘looks like’ (though really, does autism have ‘a look’?). Focusing on three women - Paula (24), Ellie (19) and Mimi (30), it’s great to have the authentic voices of autistic women represented here. It’s a shame that all three women are only five to 11 years apart in age (I would have loved to have hard from an older autistic woman), but it’s still one of the best parts of the book. This second half of the book is great for seeing parts of yourself if you’re autistic, as well as seeing some of the common reactions people may have in denying someone is autistic - eg saying it’s anxiety, being quirky, or being shy. It also doesn’t dampen or try to avoid the misconceptions some experts/professionals themselves can have - such as special needs teachers assuming autism is only ‘being good at maths’ stereotype, or that intense interests can’t be extended versions of typical interests (eg, ponies or collectables). The brief section on ‘social scripting’ that some autistic women practice to help mask in social situations was both written and drawn superbly, outlining just how complex (and tasking) social masking really can be. While I wouldn’t say I am a huge fan of Camouflage, I do think it highlights just how much the medium of graphic novels can aid in sharing complex subjects and making them more digestible for readers. I really hope JKP continue to create more graphic novels around similar complex topics.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Enora

    It was a good and necessary introduction to women in the autism spectrum, but it was unfortunately too short to explained the complexity of the subject and to include deep and complex testimonies. They made the book easy to read and richly illustrated, but the subject deserved more pages to be well introduced and well understood. In comparison, when I think of A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by J.R. Zuckerberg, and Mady G, it is a 96-page book which also has to explain a very co It was a good and necessary introduction to women in the autism spectrum, but it was unfortunately too short to explained the complexity of the subject and to include deep and complex testimonies. They made the book easy to read and richly illustrated, but the subject deserved more pages to be well introduced and well understood. In comparison, when I think of A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by J.R. Zuckerberg, and Mady G, it is a 96-page book which also has to explain a very complex and broad subject. That book succeeds in doing so because they took the space that they needed to really cover the subject. "Camouflage", on the contrary, stayed too shallow and without enough explanations or testimonies to become a great book. *Thank you NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam - Spines in a Line

    Very quick read on something I knew very little about - how autism looks different for women vs men. A graphic novel with footnotes!! So cool!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pauliina (The Bookaholic Dreamer)

    I received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review, thank you to the publisher, Netgalley and author! Camouflage isn't just any graphic novel. It is a showcase of results from a qualitative (interview-based) psychological study on women's life with autism. As an aspiring psychological researcher myself, I was very impressed and intrigued by this way to illustrate and communicate results. The graphic novel was well crafted with beutiful illustrations and the participants were really given a st I received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review, thank you to the publisher, Netgalley and author! Camouflage isn't just any graphic novel. It is a showcase of results from a qualitative (interview-based) psychological study on women's life with autism. As an aspiring psychological researcher myself, I was very impressed and intrigued by this way to illustrate and communicate results. The graphic novel was well crafted with beutiful illustrations and the participants were really given a strong voice to communicate their feelings. However, the scientific information such as the background literature etc was presented too formally and it was quite clear that this book was done by an academic. There is nothing wrong in that, but this style that I recognise from my academic side of life felt very out of place in this graphic novel. This gave me a huge revelation; I never realised how separate I keep my academic studies from my book blogger & goodreads life. When I came across something familiar from my academic background, I was startled because I happened to be in my book blogger stage. Yep so I totally went on a tangent there, anyway. The casual bits of the graphic novel were a lot more engaging than the formal points. I feel like the formality could have been stripped down a little to keep the format consistent. Also I found the graphic novel to be a bit too short. I understand that there is only so much thematic material from qualitative studies, and these themes were well explored, but I was craving a bit more. Maybe another study could have been added in to make the graphic novel reach 100 pages of full packed information? Now it felt a bit too much like a research poster. Something that I have seen many times previously, but only ever confined inside the walls of a university. Again, I applaud the author for making this available, but I wish it had felt a bit more fleshed out. As a whole, Camouflage is cute, enjoyable, positive and excellently crafted. I have a strong dislike for those who discount this graphic novel for only dealing with women: did you read it? The graphic novel focuses on women because that is the much less explored part of autism. I enjoyed it and it worked well, giving a voice to these autistic women in explaining how they see their autism and cope with it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    3.5 stars. Cute short comic that combines some stats and some personal stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This is a short but absolutely stunning comic about what it is like to be an autistic woman and how it differs from the more commonly described male experience. Sarah Bargiela, a clinical psychologist, has carried out interviews with women on the spectrum about how they manage everyday life, communication, social pressures and relationships. Her findings have then been gorgeously illustrated by @sophiestanding_ to in order to form an engaging, accessible, and informative resource. Because the bo This is a short but absolutely stunning comic about what it is like to be an autistic woman and how it differs from the more commonly described male experience. Sarah Bargiela, a clinical psychologist, has carried out interviews with women on the spectrum about how they manage everyday life, communication, social pressures and relationships. Her findings have then been gorgeously illustrated by @sophiestanding_ to in order to form an engaging, accessible, and informative resource. Because the book is only 40 pages long, it is only able to give a brief overview, so works better as a quick introduction to the subject, particularly for autistic women to pass to friends and family, or for those in the caring professions, to learn more about how to create safer, more accommodating environments for women on the spectrum. I really do adore how it looks though and am very pleased to add it to my bookshelf.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beck

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The way this was formatted made it really difficult to read and it all seemed to be out of order so I definitely didn't get as much from it as I hoped I would, from what I can see other people didn't have this issue so I don't know why this happened on my tablet, but the general idea is really interesting and I think it's great that people are making things like this. The art and colour scheme were beautiful and th Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The way this was formatted made it really difficult to read and it all seemed to be out of order so I definitely didn't get as much from it as I hoped I would, from what I can see other people didn't have this issue so I don't know why this happened on my tablet, but the general idea is really interesting and I think it's great that people are making things like this. The art and colour scheme were beautiful and the information was interesting (despite being in a seemingly random order). It's quite brief so it can't cover a LOT of information but it gets across a good amount of information in a short amount of time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    rosamund

    Very disappointing: it's extremely short, and uses its limited space badly. Doesn't define what autism is, how it impacts women, doesn't go into any depth about the ways in which being autistic impacts on women's lives. If I was wondering whether I was autistic and read this, or wanted to find out more about autism, I would be completely perplexed. The graphics are poorly thought out and not easy to understand. I know the difference between hypo- and hyper-sensitivity, and yet the graphic was so Very disappointing: it's extremely short, and uses its limited space badly. Doesn't define what autism is, how it impacts women, doesn't go into any depth about the ways in which being autistic impacts on women's lives. If I was wondering whether I was autistic and read this, or wanted to find out more about autism, I would be completely perplexed. The graphics are poorly thought out and not easy to understand. I know the difference between hypo- and hyper-sensitivity, and yet the graphic was so confusing I started to doubt myself. Very badly thought-out, doesn't present information in a useful way, I don't recommend.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    I’m glad there’s a graphic novel on the autistic female’s experience, but this was way too short to be very helpful and didn’t add much to my knowledge. I wish it would have been longer and more in depth.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura (Book Scrounger)

    While the text in Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women is probably comparable to a magazine article or blog post in length (and therefore is a very quick read), the illustrations fill out the information and help to humanize this topic. We get to hear from a few different autistic women about some of the challenges and differences that they face in life. There is also some information about the differences in the ways that autistic men and autistic women present their symptoms, which c While the text in Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women is probably comparable to a magazine article or blog post in length (and therefore is a very quick read), the illustrations fill out the information and help to humanize this topic. We get to hear from a few different autistic women about some of the challenges and differences that they face in life. There is also some information about the differences in the ways that autistic men and autistic women present their symptoms, which can lead to women being underdiagnosed. Despite its short length, I found it fairly informative and a good resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the gender differences in autistic people, and the lived experiences of autistic women. (Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    This is a beautiful and well writen. The format as a graphic non fiction is perfect for anyone that wants to understand Autism, Aspergers and Neurodiversity. It is short, precise and it covers all the aspects a female in the spectrum experiences: It should definitevely be a requiered reading for all teachers in general. The format makes a short light reading and the illustrations help making it overall a very rich and informative experience. As an Aspergian female adult I would definitevely had This is a beautiful and well writen. The format as a graphic non fiction is perfect for anyone that wants to understand Autism, Aspergers and Neurodiversity. It is short, precise and it covers all the aspects a female in the spectrum experiences: It should definitevely be a requiered reading for all teachers in general. The format makes a short light reading and the illustrations help making it overall a very rich and informative experience. As an Aspergian female adult I would definitevely had benefit from this growing up, life would had been less challenging and with a bigger of belonging. I am positive it will help bring the necesary changes and accomodation for the younger generations to flourish in their natural talents as well as in life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    3. 5 stars. I thought there'd be more to this book than there ended up being. Still, this short, graphic work of non-fiction is a decent little primer to the ways women experience autism. The visuals are lovely and informative. I really appreciated that much of the text were direct quotes from autistic women. 3. 5 stars. I thought there'd be more to this book than there ended up being. Still, this short, graphic work of non-fiction is a decent little primer to the ways women experience autism. The visuals are lovely and informative. I really appreciated that much of the text were direct quotes from autistic women.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Megan Cooke

    This is a quick read but it’s filled with a lot of valuable information. Many people don’t realize that there are differences in the way autism presents itself in males and females. This leads to many females being misdiagnosed or not being diagnosed until a much later age. I think it’s great that books like this one are being created to bring more awareness to female autism.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    I didn't exactly learn anything new for myself, but I think it can be a great quick overview for people who don't already have a lot of knowledge about the subject yet. I might lend it to my therapist who didn't cover the gender differences in autism characteristics in his studies, for example. It's a very thin book but very beautifully designed! I didn't exactly learn anything new for myself, but I think it can be a great quick overview for people who don't already have a lot of knowledge about the subject yet. I might lend it to my therapist who didn't cover the gender differences in autism characteristics in his studies, for example. It's a very thin book but very beautifully designed!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    Camouflage is a beautifully illustrated introduction to autism and how it differs in women. While I was hoping for more insight from the women who were interviewed, this is a basic overview and starting point and I’d recommend it to anyone who wanting to better understand an autistic family member or friend!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kazia

    As someone who knows embarrassingly little about autism, this was informative. But it was *extremely* general and focused heavily on reinforcing a nonexistent gender binary, so that was disappointing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mercedes Wood

    This has been in my want to read list for a long time, but I finally was able to read it. I liked and thought it was interesting that it was a short illustrated book. I wasn't really expecting either of those but I think it helped introduce this topic. This has been in my want to read list for a long time, but I finally was able to read it. I liked and thought it was interesting that it was a short illustrated book. I wasn't really expecting either of those but I think it helped introduce this topic.

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