Photo of writer Sara Gibbs (an autistic woman) in the spectrum next to quote

 

Sara Gibbs is an autistic comedy writer for television and radio, with credits on The Mash Report (BBC 2), The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4), The Now Show (BBC Radio 4) and Dead Ringers

Read more from Your Autism magazine's interview with Sara Gibbs about her autism diagnosis and what it’s like to be an autistic person working in entertainment…

Autism is often missed in women and girls. Why do you think this is?

I think there’s a lack of understanding of how autism can present in girls, who are often socialised differently. Some girls can be very vocal, loud and expressive while simultaneously masking their difficulties, which doesn’t fit the common stereotype. Autistic traits can also be missed when girls are performing well academically, even with a spiky learning profile, as there doesn’t appear to be a ‘problem’.

I also think an element of sexism comes into play – many of my early autistic traits were written off as drama and hysteria.

Has being diagnosed as autistic later than the national average put a new perspective on your older comedy material?

I wrote an entire radio script for my Writing and Producing Comedy Course at the National Film and Television school, which was then shortlisted in a writing competition. At the time, I thought I was writing a piece about growing up in a new-age community but reading it back, it’s basically a piece about an autistic little girl – and I had no idea.

What advice do you have for autistic people who want to start writing comedy?

Writing and comedy are crafts that take time to hone. Give it a real go, you’d be amazed how much you can learn and develop.

What advice would you give to someone who has just received an autism diagnosis?

There’s nothing wrong with you, you’ve just found your people. Get on those Facebook support groups and get chatting – you’ll feel like you’ve just landed on your home planet.

Give yourself time to get used to the idea and make any adjustments you need to make life easier for you now that you know why some things are more difficult. Also don’t be alarmed if you go through some ups and downs, or you suddenly find it more difficult to mask your autistic behaviours now you’re more aware of them. It’s all a process.

 

Read more in Your Autism magazine

If you've enjoyed Sara's story, you can read the full interview in Your Autism, our award winning magazine for National Autistic Society members. Visit our membership page for information on how to sign up.

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