How Autism is Different Between Boys and Girls
February 13, 2023
By ABA Psychological Services
How Autism is Different Between Boys and Girls
Boys and girls with autism are similar in many ways. They may have trouble communicating, interacting with others, and using language. They may also have repetitive behaviors and interests. It is essential to recognize and understand differences to provide appropriate support and treatment for individuals with autism, regardless of their gender. With the proper support, boys and girls with autism can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.
In this article, we'll explain how autism can affect males differently than females and what differences you might expect when it comes to symptoms like language development or social skills. We'll also highlight further similarities between girls and boys with autism.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) also known as Autism, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social interactions, behavior, and communication. It is a complex condition that can manifest differently in boys and girls. Although both genders can experience similar symptoms, there are some critical differences in how autism presents in boys and girls. This article will explore the differences and similarities between autism in boys and girls.
Similarities Between Boys and Girls with Autism
First, let's look at the similarities. Both boys and girls with autism can have difficulty with social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors. They may have difficulty understanding sarcasm, humor, nonverbal cues and struggle to initiate or maintain conversations with others. Both boys and girls may also engage in behaviors that are repeated, such as >hand flapping, rocking, or lining up objects. Additionally, both genders may experience sensory sensitivities, such as avoiding certain textures, sounds, or lights.
Differences Between Boys and Girls with Autism
Now let's examine some differences.
1. One key difference is that autism is diagnosed more frequently in boys than in girls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism is four times more likely to be diagnosed in males than in females. This disparity may be partly due to gender biases in the diagnostic process, with girls often slipping under the radar. Research is ongoing regarding the discrepancy, with studies looking at everything from amino acids, testosterone, genetics, and other factors. It is crucial for parents and caregivers to get information and the latest research from a reputable and trusted source.
2. Another difference is that the symptoms of autism can look different in boys and girls. For example, boys with autism are often more likely to engage in repetitive behaviors and have difficulty with social interaction. At the same time, girls with autism may be more likely to have trouble with communication and to engage in less noticeable repetitive behaviors. Girls with autism may also be better at masking their symptoms and imitating typical behaviors, which can make it harder for to receive a diagnosis.
3. Regarding communication, boys with autism may have difficulty with expressive language, while girls with autism may struggle with both expressive and receptive language. Boys with autism may also be more likely to have echolalia, which is the repetition of phrases or sentences they have heard.
4. Girls with autism may use imaginative play to communicate and express their thoughts and emotions. In terms of social interaction, boys with autism may struggle with initiating or maintaining eye contact, while girls with autism may have difficulty with social reciprocity and may struggle to understand social cues and relationships.
5. Boys with autism may also be more likely to engage in solitary play, while girls with autism may be more likely to form relationships with dolls or other inanimate objects.
It is important to note that these differences are not absolute and can vary significantly from individual to individual.There is no single way that autism presents in either boys or girls, and each person with autism is unique.
Helping Your Child Reach Their Highest Potential
When your child is diagnosed with autism, you may think you'll know what to expect from hearing another person’s story or the media. You may hear that your child will be hyperactive, show no empathy, and will struggle in social situations. These may show, and they may not. We still have a way to go before we understand precisely how autism affects different sexes and why it may present differently between them. The key is having accurate information and understanding as you make your diagnosis.
If your child has been diagnosed with autism, ABA Psychological Services can help connect you with local resources, schedule 1:1 therapy, and introduce you to clinic-based services, including in-home therapy sessions. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more.
Back to blog