The Gender Split In Autism: Why Is It Underdiagnosed Among Girls

By alexa ancheta, Parent Herald January 28, 03:51 pm
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Experts warned more girls could be suffering from autism but they have remained undiagnosed. Professor Francesca Happé of London's King College said it was believed that there were more boys than girls with autism spectrum. Recent studies, however, show that diagnostic criteria may have contributed to the misinformation.

Happé said girls have often been excluded in autism research as it has traditionally focused on boys. This was blamed on the assumption that autism in girls is very rare.

"For example, clinicians look for unusual special interests, like a fascination with electricity pylons," Happé said, "and may miss a girl with a very narrow and obsessive interest in horses or a boy band."

Some girls copy their peers in order to camouflage autism signs, according to TES. There is a tremendous pressure to conform to society's demands that girls are forced to go under the autism radar. This could be dangerous to their mental health, considering they are not getting the right treatment or intervention.

Autism has always been associated with men, as per Daily Mail. Proof of this is the popularity of real-life and fictional characters with autism including Sherlock Holmes or even Dustin Hoffman who once played the part in a movie. Autism is known in history as a disorder among men, who exhibit social impairment and quirky talents.

Statistics showed more men than women have been diagnosed with autism. Hans Asperger, an Austrian psychiatrist known for his studied on Asperger's Syndrome, initially thought the disorder did not affect girls. However, he changed his theory later based on gathered clinical evidence, The National Autistic Society reported.

Various studies show while it is true that autism is not as widespread among girls, those who were diagnosed with autism spectrum have more serious impairments compared to boys. The misdiagnosis of autism among women has encouraged doctors to alter the diagnostic questions so that girls who are under the spectrum would get a timely diagnosis.

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