February 2015

Understanding Females with Autism Spectrum Disorders:

  

The most recent statistics from the center of disease control state that “ASD is almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).” It is no surprise that practitioners and educators focus much of their intervention strategies in supporting males with ASD. Yet when we consider gender differences in neuro-typical males and females we approach treatment accordingly. Recently researchers and practitioners have begun to acknowledge that these gender differences in individuals with ASD require careful consideration and the importance for individualizing therapy for females.

Females are different not in terms of the core characteristics of autism but in their severity of social differences. Some females may be better at mirroring social cues and personalities than males and females may appear to better adapt in social situations. Needs of females with autism are different especially as they enter puberty. Females with ASD who are already challenged in social situations may benefit from additional support to help cope with these challenges during puberty. ASD in females may become more obvious as they move into their teenage years and the social cues that they have learned to mimic can begin to contribute to their awkwardness in social groups. 

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Elena M. Zaklis BCBA, LBA