Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in girls

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ktllc, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I have read a few articles stating that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) presents itself differently in girls than in boys. Which could explain why boys are 4x more likely to be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) than girls.
    But I can't really find anything telling me how different it is, specially in young children.
    I'm obviously curious about this topic since Sweet Pea seems to be following a similar path as V. A lot of similarities but also some differences.
    I know that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) would manifest differently in different individual anyways, but maybe more so because she is a girl?
    There is no doubt that she still has an expressive speech delay, but in the comfort of her own home (when not tantruming) she can tell me a lot of stuff. She even has short phrases like "yes, I do" "what's that for".
    on the other hand, in a social situations she is mute. No words will come out of her mouth. Eye contact is good and she will smile.
    I read that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) little girls tend to have better social skills than Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) little boys because in our society little girls are simply expected to be more social than boys in general. So early on, there is social teaching (politeness, manners, listening skills,etc...). Nonetheless, their skills are behind compare to typically developing peers. It is just not as obvious as it is with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) boys.
    I would be interested in knowing how it differs and how it is comparable according to your personal experience.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Definitely, most of the girls I have met are more social. They may also be more bossy, but now I wonder if it's the same for boys, and in particular my difficult child ... if his argumentativeness is another shade of bossy. I think the lack of bathing and hygiene is the same, and the lack of awareness of social surroundings. And the high anxiety. Oh, also, when girls don't make eye contact, in our culture, they are seen as shy. Boys are seen as rude or shifty. It can be very cultural, which means that many things will fly under the radar.
  3. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Talking about eye contact, V used (maybe still does but not as much) to put his head on angle and look from the side when he was not sure about a new situation/person. Sweet Pea does the same thing. Everyone think it is so cute coming from a little girl.
    I can see them both being bossy, even more Sweet Pea. But only in the comfort of their home. It probably stem from them only being able to see their point of view (which I realize is typical from any 2 year old in Sweet Pea's case).
    as far as hygiene I would think it depends on their sensory profile. V would be a total slob if it was not for me making sure he stays somewhat clean. He is completely hyposensitive.
    Sweet Pea, who tends to be hypersensitive, wants to wipe her nose and wash her hands all the time! She would freak if I told her no, which I don't obviously. on the other hand, washing hair... can't do it without the screaming and crying.
    I read that eating disorders in girls could actually be an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) issue, a female obsession that would equal trains and computers for the male counter parts...
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The girls appear more social... but still have problems going with the flow, picking up on body language, figuring out the "rules" (which change all the time). It is still a social deficit, but not quite as much "in your face" as the boys.
  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Google Tony Atwood, he's the guy that seems to best understand autism and gender differences.
  6. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    Tiredmommy thank you for the link!
  7. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Thanks TiredMommy. I have read his book "Asperger's"... for some reason I can't remember him discussing gender differences in this specific book, but at the time it was not something I cared for ... I know there are very few specialists in the field of Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
    I've just watched a youtube video (typed girl and autism) and it showed the case of a little 8 year old... Early intervention people did not see her issues as being an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), it took both a specialist of girls and the child getting older for her to get diagnosis and the mother to be taken seriously
  8. Pigpen's best friend is a girl Aspie. The kids were in 1st and 2nd grade when they met. Girlie pinged my spectrum radar right away. Mom was NOT ready to hear it which I understand. When Girlie was finally evaluated, her diagnosis came in as ADHD. Last year, middle school made her differences undeniable, a new work up was done and autism was put on the table. Yay! Finally! Why was that so hard?

    I would not label Girlie bossy. She's reserved with peers. She is stubborn- even when it's socially appropriate to join in, she's not going to unless that is what she wants. She obsesses on topics as much as Pigpen does, but is better about backing off. The older she gets, there seems to be a more pronounced difference between her and NT girls though. It's just harder to write stuff off as being spunky and eccentric.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    Another thing is that it doesn't always ping radars when girls are picky about clothes and food. After all, they're girls, of course they're picky! It's after a while when you really see the level and intensity of pickiness (and how it doesn't wear off and influence of peers doesn't kick in) that it registers that something is really different here.

    Also with girl Aspies you expect a little strangeness to go with that intelligence they have. After all, their peers are often a little dumb in comparison (or seem so, especially to them!). These girls would rather talk to grown-ups (like their male counterparts), and their very verbosity makes you wonder how anything could possibly be wrong (unless you happen to have a very good Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) radar). One of my daughter's principals used to work with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids and my daughter didn't even ping her Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) radar. It took an expert to test her and find that not only was she an Aspie, she was actually functioning *below* her apparent functioning level, she just has an above average IQ (no surprise to me there) and is able to present as higher functioning than she actually is - at least in small doses.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Tony Attwood has a book called Aspergers and Girls. I highly recommend it, as it provides some really good insight.

    Speaking from my personal experience, girls seem to have a few more social archetypes that fit with the behaviour presented by Aspie-girls, so the behaviour etc. don't seem as noticeable.
    A few examples:

    My hair must always be perfect. That doesn't mean tidy or nicely styled, but cut and worn in a way that doesn't set off any sensory alarm bells for me. So as a child and as a teen, I spent an inordinate amount of time fussing with my hair. Perfectly acceptable, and even expected from a girl.

    Same thing with clothes. Everything has to sit right, seams mustn't pinch, and certain textures "go with" certain other textures. Fussing with clothes is a girl thing, so it is often missed.

    I walk on my tiptoes, but I have been wearing heels since I was about 10 yrs old so no one notices. All they see is a girl who loves shoes. Again, not out of the ordinary for a girl.

    I can be pedantic as all get-out when I start to talk about an obsession topic. But because of my small stature and little-girl voice, I come across more as bookish and studious than obsessive.

    One of the things I've noticed over and over again through the years is that, because I look well put-together people don't associate my appearance with social blunders (which I make all. the. time.) Since the appearance and the blunders don't match, people focus more on the appearance and forgive all sorts of social transgressions which would raise major flags if I were a boy. I also usually had one or two mother-hen type friends who would guide me through the social mess and keep me from making a total cake of myself.