Saturday, April 7, 2012

Autism Boys vs Girls

How girls and boys differ when it comes to autism

The article I chose about autism focuses on the difference of the disorder between boys and girls. There is general knowledge that autism is more common in boys than girls. Recent studies show that over the past decade there has been a 5 to 1 ratio of boys to girls with the disorder. Previously the ratio was believed to be closer to 2-4 to 1.
One reason for this could be biological. It is possible that female fetuses are protected from the disorder by different in-utero hormone levels. Other possibilities could be social in nature. People with ASD often have fixated interests. Girls with ASD tend to be fixated on topics such as horses, drawing, and princesses. Since most young girls share these interests it is possible for the disorder to be overlooked. Boys are more likely to show the common ASD behaviors such as rocking and spinning so they are more likely diagnosed than girls. It seems that girls with ASD can possibly blend into peer groups more easily than boys. It also seems that bullying amongst boys is more common than with girls—so bullied boys may be more readily diagnosed. Girls with ASD also tend to show traits of shyness and anxiety which can mask the underlying symptoms and result in false diagnosis.
If there is a biological reason why autism is more common amongst boys then perhaps there is the hope that medical research could lead to a cure, prevention or treatment. There is the sad possibility, however that there are just many girls who are never diagnosed or are being treated improperly for more common disorders such as anxiety and depression.

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