Autism in Girls
By Amy Sanner
As a parent of a teenage girl with Autism, I have been fascinated by an article published in Scientific America on March 1, 2016. Over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve read this article several times and have recommended it to others to read on occasion.
The article, Autism--It’s Different In Girls, reflects on current diagnostic criteria, which researchers propose causes girls with Autism to be overlooked and underdiagnosed. Girls are more likely to be diagnosed with other overlapping disorders, which sometimes “blurs” an autism diagnosis. Research also suggests that autism actually “looks” different in girls, particularly when looking at their social skills. The article does not suggest that girls should be diagnosed at the same rate as boys. However, it does suggest that with all things considered, more girls will likely be diagnosed in the future.
In recent years, online presence of women with autism across various social media platforms (including YouTube) has increased. Young women and adults with autism are expressing themselves and describing what their world with autism, is like. I highly recommend taking a look, having a listen. Many of them were diagnosed “later” than would be typical for most children with autism. Their perspectives are different than what tends to be expressed, given that ¾ of people diagnosed with autism are male.
Locally, if you have a daughter with autism, you may look into a fantastic local program called, “Girls Night Out”. at KU Medical Center. GNO runs two different groups (middle school and high school) for girls with autism to work on social skills and self-care skills in a fun, group setting.