Autism, already a mysterious disorder, is even more puzzling when it comes to girls. Nordahl (2020) stated that studies suggest girls can be more severally affected than boys. Also, studies do not have an equal number of girls as boys. Therefore, boys are four times more likely than girls to receive a diagnosis.
Gupta (2020) gives us an additional perspective, that boys have a tendency to ‘externalize’ autism symptoms. With an accompanying misdiagnosis of intellectual ability, subtle language and social manifestations, autistic girls seem to have the ability to ‘appear normal’.
Even once they are ‘labeled’, teachers may misunderstand or even question their diagnosis. This greater capacity to compensate for their difficulties, often leads to misdiagnosis and missed interventions. For example, girls don’t receive services but are instead treated for moodiness, anxiety, depression, and/or personality disorder.
< My Thoughts > “…teachers may misunderstand…”
When teaching Special Education in middle school, a ‘very put together’ young girl was transferred to our school from another district. Her Individualized Education Program (IEP) paperwork was delayed.
Hmmm, where do I start with her? I wondered if there was some mistake. No, the office said, she belongs with you. She had so many ways to convince the world that she was ‘neurotypical’, that it was truly amazing.
Mandy (2013) states that he is hopeful, however, that the DSM-V will now provide a new and improved picture of ‘females’, especially those with Asperger's, previously missed by professionals. That meeting this new diagnosis criteria will result in reducing the ‘gender-based inequities’ the DSM-IV couldn’t.
Gupta, A. (2020). Researchers Find Sex Differences in Autism: Retrieved online from – https://news.yale.edu/2021/04/16/yale-researchers-find-clues-sex-differences-autism
Mandy, W. (2013). Senior Lecturer, University College London. DSM-5 may better serve girls with autism; SPECTRUM: OPINION / VIEWPOINT; May (2013) Issue.
Nordahl, C., (2020). Girls with Autism; Retrieved online from – girls w/autism https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/gender-differences-autistic-brain