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 the 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.

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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

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Other Gender Differences

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 even their parents may not be fully 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.

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You may also be interested in the following pages:

Five Minute Guides

Social Anxiety Disorder

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