Research Suggests Gender Bias in Autism Diagnostic Criteria
Written by Sharon daVanport
A recent study by The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggests that lower intellectual or behavioral challenges in girls is a likely contributor to their lower diagnostic rates than boys displaying autistic-like traits at the same equivalency. It is not clear from the research if the results are indicative of the way girls cope and adapt, or a true gender bias in diagnosis.
The study set out to investigate disparities in gender with respect to diagnosis, and elements that influence the autism spectrum diagnostic criteria in girls as opposed to boys.
Girls with Autism Face Adjustments in Middle School
As Maggie grew older, her parents Rick and Laura suspected more and more that their daughter had autism. They knew that boys usually were diagnosed with autism more frequently than girls were. In fact, boys have 4 to 5 times more of a chance to be identified with autism than girls do.
For girls, current statistics indicate that 1 in 315 have autism. In Maggie’s case, her cousin had been diagnosed with autism as a toddler. The question for her family was whether Maggie had autism, too.
"Caroline? She’s my little girl. Why, what about her? Oh, you want to know about her. Well, she’s six, she’s in first grade at a great public school, and just made honor roll on her very first report card ever."
Much to my delight, she loves to play drums and keyboards and has found a talent for singing. We are even in a band together called The Freddy Fred show. When she’s on stage she’s kind of a ham and wants to introduce all the songs. Missa Fred gives her lots of space and lets her ramble a bit on the mic’. What a friend.
I’ve had to teach Caroline that songs during a show don’t come in the same order every time like on a CD, so now between songs she runs from her microphone (down stage right next to Missa Fred and Miss Tiffany) back to me and says in a simi-whisper,
“Dad, what’s next?” When I tell her, she runs back to the mic and announces the name.