Boys are more likely to get diagnosed with autism–four times more likely. Scientists, however, and many others in the autism community are still debating whether this gender difference is due to biological causes or that girls have symptoms that they are able to “hide” better. Below, researchers have identified some broad characteristics/symptoms that have typically been seen in girls with autism.
- Having a specific interest can manifest itself differently in girls. For boys, when we find that they are interested in something out of the norm such as a stop sign or bathrooms, we take that as a red flag. But for girls, their interests can come in the form of dolls, books, music groups, or other things that are typically interesting for her peers. “An autistic girl may be more interested in collecting or cataloging information about her passion, she may develop an unusual depth of knowledge for her age, or she may spend an unusual amount of time pursuing one interest, to the exclusion of other activities.”
- Although there isn’t much difference between when autistic boys and girls start speaking, girls may actually be more linguistically developed than their male peers. Girls tend to actually be more verbal by learning to read at a very young age or becoming a fast reader.
- Girls and women are better at using imitation to get through social situations. Although they are not very good at being socially interactive, they are able to learn “a set of socially appropriate scripts by copying other girls.”
- Girls and women on the spectrum oftentimes enjoy socializing and have friends. They especially enjoy one-on-one or small group situations, however social interaction can require alot of recovery time due to sensory overload or other limitations.
- Females with autism can also experience a variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and others that can really confuse the diagnostic process.
To read more research on females and autism, click HERE
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