Young Girls Demonstrating Severe Temper Tantrums More Likely To Be Diagnosed With Autism

Young girls who have severe temper tantrums or problems with behavior are more likely to be diagnosed with autism. A recent study exploring autism diagnosis in girls versus boys learned that disruptive behavior can be a significant indicator but some might fly under the radar because girls internalize their emotions better than boys.

Study experts, whose work was published in via the National Institutes of Health, looked into 167 boys and 64 girls from the age of two to 12 who participated in comprehensive tests in six clinics. They were assessed for behavioral, developmental or emotional problems, as well as intelligent quotients (IQ) to identify the likelihood of getting an autism diagnosis.

From the participants, 106 boys and 24 girls met the criteria for diagnosing autism based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Considering social behaviors, however, 63 percent of the boys and 38 percent of the girls, were likely to be diagnosed with autism.

The researchers noted that temper tantrums, sensory sensitivities, and behavioral and emotional problems are more predictive indicators in girls with autism compared to boys. Only, girls are more likely to internalize their emotional struggles, hence the diagnosis might be missed.

Study author Kirstin Greaves-Lord said poor responses to social cues among girls is not enough to determine that they can have autism, though. The study, however, is shedding light on how the condition can be best assessed in young girls, especially when previous researches have indicated boys are more prone to develop autism than girls.

Another expert who was not involved in the study, Kevin Pelphrey, said that the finding "suggests that if you're a girl and you want to get a diagnosis, you'd better be disruptive," according to Spectrum News. He contends with Greaves-Lord that considering social cues and sensory sensitivities will help medical professionals assess girls with autism better.

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