'Bachelor in Paradise' contestant Demi Burnett explains the misconceptions about autism in women

·3-min read
Bachelor Nation's Demi Burnett explained the misconceptions about women with autism in a new TikTok.  (Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)
Bachelor Nation's Demi Burnett took to social media to talk about autism in women. (Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)

Demi Burnett is educating her TikTok followers about the misconceptions about autism in women.

The Bachelor in Paradise alum, who became a part of Bachelor Nation's first same-sex couple when her now-ex fiancee Kristian Haggerty joined her on the reality show, took to the video-sharing app on Wednesday to talk about how her autism presents itself.

“I know that when you think about autism, you probably don’t think about me. But, I am, in fact, autistic,” she said. “Women with autism are very under-diagnosed, very misdiagnosed, like with other mood disorders and personality disorders. It’s a big problem here in the U.S. The majority of the women I know with autism were all diagnosed as adults. Girls with autism fly under the radar and don’t get diagnosed because autism presents differently in girls than it does in boys.”

The television personality pointed to research in the U.K., which she said “explains autism and how it presents itself in me very perfectly.”

“There’s a term for it called ‘pathological demand avoidance,’” Burnett continued. “PDA is an anxiety-driven need for autonomy. I don’t like demands being placed on me and avoid them, not because I’m being defiant, but because I am just trying to stop feeling anxious. People with PDA profiles are a lot more sociable, maintain eye contact better. We can socialize better, but you will notice that the socializing is very surface level. If you try to get deeper with me, probably going to turn into a lizard, be very awkward. I don’t know the rules of what to say when it comes to deeper conversation.”

Burnett first opened up about her diagnosis in a February 2022 Instagram post.

"MAYBE A TRIGGER WARNING I DON'T KNOW BUT HEADS UP," that caption began. "I did a psychological evaluation and I'm autistic."

She also promised to share her journey with her followers.

“I want to make sure anyone who is/was feeling like me can know you really aren’t alone,” she added. “It can get better! And most importantly it isn’t your fault.”

Burnett isn’t the first celebrity to speak about the misconceptions surrounding autism. Earlier this year, comedian Hannah Gadsby wrote about her own autism diagnosis in her book Ten Steps to Nanette.

“I was right to be cautious, because when I finally did start telling the world of my diagnosis, the dismissals came thick and fast,” she wrote. “I was told I was too fat to be autistic. I was told I was too social to be autistic. I was told I was too empathic to be autistic. I was told I was too female to be autistic. I was told I wasn’t autistic enough to be autistic.”

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