Girls and autism

Although boys are approximately four times more likely to receive a diagnosis of autism than girls, current research indicates the actual prevalence of girls with autism may be higher than previously thought. In the absence of significant intellectual or behavioural problems, girls with autistic traits are more likely to remain undiagnosed. 1

A review of literature into the diagnosis of girls with autism by Gould and Ashton-Smith (2011) has indicated that an explanation for this disparity may be attributed to the unique female skill of unconsciously ‘masking’ their limitations in social understanding, social communication and social imagination.2

  1. Dworzynsky, K. et al (2012). How Different are Girls and Boys Above and Below the Diagnostic Threshold for Autism Spectrum Disorders? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(8), 788-797.

  2. Gould, J., & Ashton-Smith, J. (2011). Missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis? Girls and Women on the Autism Spectrum. Good Autism Practice, 12(1), 34-41.