Initiative for Girls and Women with Autism Spectrum Disorder

We are pleased to introduce the Initiative for Girls and Women with Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Yale Child Study Center, supported by a gift from the Imagine 247 Foundation. The Initiative is designed to address the unique needs of girls and women with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). ASDs are characterized by impairment in communication and socialization, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors. Over the last ten years, ASD interventionists and researchers have begun to appreciate that the development of socialization and communication processes for girls and women is quite different from that of boys and men. Unfortunately, the research and intervention implications of these differences have not been systematically addressed for children and adults with ASDs. The Initiative for Girls and Women with ASDs is designed to address these communication and socialization differences through recreational and communal activities. These activities will allow the participants to pursue their particular interests and leisure activities in a safe and supportive environment.

The purposes of the Initiative are:

  1. To understand the unique needs of girls/teens and young women with ASDs
  2. To provide recreational and communal activities for girls/teens and young women
  3. To assess whether participation in the program is providing personal satisfaction for each individual as well as an increased sense of personal competency and self-worth.

Initiative Wins Community Service Grant from Autism Speaks!

Autism Speaks has granted the Initiative funding to support a program for women seeking employment...



One Sept 21st, Members of the Leadership Group for the Initiative had dinner in New Haven to talk through issues of concern to young adult women on the spectrum. We are planning on a screening of the film "Chocolate" a 2008 martial arts film about a young woman with autism who becomes a martial arts master. The movie comes highly recommended by our member, Lucy.  She's our leader with regard to the avant-garde!

Some of our young adults spend time in New Haven today  (August 10) shopping, eating and visiting the Yale Art Gallery. We figured out some things we like and some other stuff maybe we don't want to do in the future!  Our group will be meeting one a month on Fridays, in the afternoon. Dates to follow!   Check your email for upcoming notices! 

A group of young women visited Hidden Acres, a therapeutic horseback riding facility in Naugatuck, CT on Wednesday July 9 at 11 am ( We met with the Program Director, Jeanna Pellino, for a tour and to find out about taking care of and riding horses. Our first lesson was Saturday, July 18.  We had a great time riding and getting to know our horses. They're pretty sweet!  The next lesson on August 2nd was great because we got to ride!  

On May 23rd we had a Movie Night at the Child Study Center, including some snacks and a board game before we sat down to watch "Frozen", the latest and greatest Disney film. It seemed as though everyone had seen the movie multiple times before this showing but judging from the enthusiasm and the singing, nobody was bored!   We're grateful to Cassie, from our Leadership Group, who joined the activity and provided some additional support for participants. 

Some of our teens met for Pizza and browsing at Barnes & Noble on Sunday, April 27th. We met at Est, Est, Est on Chapel street in New Haven.We had fun chatting about movies and books we like. Everybody seems to love Frozen, the Disney movie, and even though we've all seen it, we agreed we'd want to go again!  After pizza, we headed over to Barnes & Noble to check out the books - everything from science to the American Girl series to the Warrior Cats.  Frozen yogurt with sweet toppings were next, at Pavita's suggestion, and we were tired and full by the time we were getting picked up.   We missed some of our friends from the last meeting!


We're extremely excited about the upcoming conference: 

"Sex differences and the female protective effect: Implications for research in prevention and treatment of ASD", which will be held in New York City on October 29, 2014.

This first conference - and we hope this will be a recurring event - will be small and attended mostly by scientists, with the aim of spearheading the research on gender differences in ASDs and the implications for intervention. 

The conference is being sponsored by the Autism Science Foundation and Autism Speaks. Check back for information regarding the meeting in mid-November!