Of course girls get Autism & Aspergers, it’s just that we don’t hear about it all that much, well, not on the same magnitude as boys.
So, the statistics indicate that boys rather than girls, are more likely to be on the autism spectrum. The National Autistic Society states that although there is no way of knowing the exact ratio between the two sexes, studies combine together indicate a ratio of 2:1 in boys and 16:1 in girls!
Wow, that’s a huge difference in numbers, however, could this be due to how the traits of autism are displayed differently between the two sexes or maybe its societies stereotyped way of thinking making this much harder to spot in females.
It all boils down to us in a variety of ways, have you ever heard the health visitor refer to your son as the “Typical boy” or daughter as “Shy” as many girls are labelled to be? But I thought that everyone was meant to be different regardless of their sex!
Now, I’m no expert, not by a long shot, but I do remember some girls in secondary school who were so detached from their peers that they were ridiculed as being loaners or geeks. Some of these girls went through primary and secondary school never having friends and the ones that did try to socialise normally just ended up bullied by those she thought were her friends. I’m in no way indicating they were on the spectrum (who am I to make that judgement) but I know that teachers didn’t bother to find out why these children were so sad or withdrawn from those around them. As long as they produced the work expected of them it was all that mattered!
As girls we express emotion in an all together different way then boys (well this is what we are made to believe). Boys are seen to display more challenging behaviour and as a result they are more likely pulled up as having an issue or underlying condition that needs addressing (that or the teachers just can’t handle it so ship them of to the child mental health team). I believe this to be why my own son received a late diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome as despite him having reasonably challenging behaviour within the home from quite early on, this wasn’t displayed at school, just suppressed making him explosive on his return at 3.30 pm Monday to Friday. Nonetheless, once this behaviour could no longer be contained, what with his senses becoming more heightened making him more likely to tip over the edge, the school were all for statementing and special school!
Girls will always be seen as better communicators than boys and many feel that girls on the spectrum are better able to disguise symptoms whether deliberately or not. I guess this fact would make a condition such as Aspergers far harder to spot as this wont normally involve any delayed language skills.
As well as that of the above, girls are also seen to be “Just shy” or “Over sensitive” We are thought to over dramatise and cry at the drop of a hat. Us girls are seen to be more likely to have low self-esteem or a poor self image, especially during our teen years, hence the reason girls are far less likely to be referred for any type of investigations, especially if they are bright and advanced within certain areas of they’re learning.
Another theory is that girls inherit an X chromosome from their fathers which protects them from the development of autism, though if this was the case I’m sure the science of today could do a much better job of proving it!
When reading an article on the NAS site, some excellent points were made such as, girls on the spectrum tend to have similar interest to those girls not on the spectrum, example being animals or horses, soaps or celebrities. These interests are therefore not seen as usual. However once in their own safe space interest tend to be much more obsessional than that of a “Typical girl”
So, the question is “Are boys more likely to have autism and aspergers than that of girls or is it simply because the criteria used to diagnose autism and aspergers is one built purely on the characteristics of male behaviour?”
Here’s a few videos by two different girls with a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, these videos and more can be found on my channel under my subscriptions.
23/30 in the Wego Health #HAWMC (today’s challenge was a free choice topic).