“It's Not Just in My Head, and It's Not Just Irrelevant”: Autistic Negotiations of Menopausal Transi
Physical and psychological changes during menopause can be especially tumultuous for autistic people: difficulties with sensory sensitivity and daily functioning may be exacerbated. Through individual interviews, we examined the language used by seven peri- or post-menopausal autistic people to construct their experiences, and to consider the implications for their wellbeing and identities. Our analysis, which utilised thematic decomposition, yielded three discursive themes. The theme “Uncertainty about Changes” addressed how limited awareness and understanding of menopause combined with difficulties recognising internal states. However, with “Growing Self-Awareness and Self-Care”, some participants made conscious efforts to resist negative societal constructions of both autism and menopause. The theme “Navigating Support Options” addressed the interpersonal and systemic barriers participants faced when seeking support. There is a need for accessible information for autistic people experiencing menopause, and greater professional awareness.