The Differences Between Boys and Girls with Autism

by Vickie Louise

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When it comes to Autism there can be differences between boys and girls. This is both in terms of how many people are diagnosed and what signs of Autism to look for.

In this article, we look at the differences between boys and girls with Autism from both of those angles.

Diagnosis

It has been estimated that for every girl diagnosed with Autism there are 4.2 boys diagnosed. That makes it appear as though Autism impacts boys more than it does girls.

However, most girls who are diagnosed don’t get that diagnosis until they are adults. This indicates that Autism is harder to identify in girls than it is in boys, and in fact, this is the case.

Girls are much more likely to go undiagnosed because they’re able to mask their symptoms and are more likely to have socially acceptable types of interests.

Related: Explaining the Autism Spectrum

 

Autism in Girls

As stated before girls are able to mask their symptoms of Autism and blend in with neurotypical people. Girls will find little tricks like looking at the point in between someone’s eyes to make it appear as though they’re looking in your eyes.

They might also practice for interactions ahead of time so they know how they should be acting and when the time comes they’re able to get through the act of appearing “normal.” It also isn’t considered unusual for a girl to have obsessions. What little girl doesn’t go through a horse phase?

Girls also appear to show fewer repetitive activities according to some reports, while others say that there is, in fact, no difference in the number of repetitive activities between boys and girls, girls are just better at masking them or doing them where no one will see them.

 

Autism in Boys

Boys are diagnosed with Autism far more frequently than girls. They’re more likely to display the classic symptoms and thus get recognized so they can be diagnosed and get help.

There are some observed small differences as well. Where a boy might fixate on a spinning wheel or a very small detail a girl might collect shells or stickers. Little girls collecting items isn’t really considered abnormal and it is kind of expected that a girl will have some kind of a collection. But fixating on the spinning wheel of a toy car is considered out of the ordinary.

 

What This All Means

As we study Autism more and more we’re learning that there aren’t any differences in how Autism impacts boys and girls.

Girls are simply better and more likely to mask their symptoms than boys. This means that girls will have less support as they struggle through life without the support that boys are given.

There is evidence that boys and girls do get obsessed about different things, but this is true in neurotypical people as well. It’s just more socially acceptable for girls to be obsessed with things than boys.

As we continue to learn more about Autism more girls are getting diagnosed as being on the spectrum, which is a wonderful thing for them.

Related: Autism Myths

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