ASD Girls

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Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Girls

Girls are different!

Far fewer girls are diagnosed with autistic conditions than boys. This may be largely due to greater susceptibilty in males, as is found in nearly all organic conditions. However, there is some evidence to suggest that girls may present with different difficulties to boys and are therefore not identified by current diagnostic criteria. The table below identifies how the triad of impairments is often presented in girls with higher functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome.

The triad of Impairments in Girls

Social Interaction
failed attempts to make friends
Often plays with younger children
May seek older girls to look after them
very reliant on mother
Can be helpful, wanting to help new class mates or those with learning difficulties
difficulty controlling emotions
being bullied
Social Communication
often feel ill
demand avoidance
better concentration than boys
can mimic social behaviours by observation to disguise difficulties
Lack of social chit-chat
deviant gaze
different voice
Social imagination
perceived as odd
intense imaginative play - may act out parts
obsessive behaviours - collecting soft toys
intense girl interests e.g. animals, celebrities, horses, soap operas
Often talks about same personal experience - unable to move on
may be overly or significantly not concerned about appearance

Girls are generally much less disruptive and challenging than boys and tend to keep their anxieties and difficulties to themselves. Because of this they are often overlooked by professionals and their parents are generally not aware of the significance of their difficulties. Girls can be more susceptible to mental health issues such depression, obsessive behaviours, eating disorders and self-harm.