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Is Autism Affected by Gender?

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Autism often affects communication, social skills, and behavior. How and to what extent vary greatly from one individual with autism to the next. As it is often said in the field, “When you’ve seen one person with autism, you’ve seen one person with autism.” Data estimates that 1 in 41 people are affected with autism. How many of these are female? Historically, professionals estimated four males had autism it for every one female who had it. So, why there are so many more males diagnosed that females?

Autism Symptoms in Females

  • Females with autism are more often missed because they “fly under the radar.” Symptoms are different compared to males with autism.
  • Females are usually more socially in tune with others and interact more with other people (as compared to males who may prefer doing activities alone).
  • Females may have behaviors that are easy to miss or appear typical. For example, twirling their hair rather than flapping their hands.
  • Females are also better at making eye contact and have a wider range of interests that are gender and age appropriate, whereas a male may have one strong interest such as robots or vacuum cleaners.

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Professionals that diagnose autism may fail to diagnose females because they are more aware of symptoms traditionally seen in males (because research studies have mostly looked at males). Females are more likely to camouflage their weaknesses by copying others their age.

Providing Care

In Louisiana, 20% of children have special healthcare needs. Unfortunately, while the need is great, the resources are not. That will all change with the opening of the Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development this fall.

Soon patients and their families will find multidisciplinary care, specialty services and the resources they need under one roof for conditions including Autism Spectrum Disorders, developmental delays and much more.


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