Research tells us that boys with autism outnumber girls by 4 to 1. But is that because autism is more difficult to identify in girls? That’s the conclusion of a recent study.
We’ll talk about in this issue.
The Study at a Glance
According to the researchers, because girls generally have better social skills than boys, traits of autism may be harder to detect. In fact, the researchers confirm that most of what we as a society know about autism comes from studying autistic boys and men.
For the study, the researchers examined the behavior of a group of nearly 70 teenagers, consisting of boys and girls, both with and without autism. During the test, one of the researchers acted as if she caught her finger in a binder and said, “Ouch, that hurt,” while shaking her hand.
Later, the researchers watched video of the encounter and evaluated how much empathy – or compassion – the participants expressed in their reactions.
Results of the Study
Overall, the girls reacted with more empathy than their male counterparts. This was true for the girls who have autism and the ones who do not.
“We did see a qualitative difference between girls and boys,” one of the researchers said. “The girls more often responded to the emotion of the person carrying out the test with questions like, ‘Are you OK?’ The boys, however, looked for a solution to the problem with statements like, ‘If you do it this way, you won’t trap your finger.”
Why Emotion is Key in Autism Research Like This
According to the researchers, the ability to understand why a person feels the way they do is sometimes missing in autistic boys and girls.
Because girls by and large have a rather good understanding of many of societal social rules, the signs of autism may be more likely to be masked.
Unsure Why Your Child Was Diagnosed With Autism? Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm
If your child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or you suspect your child has an autism spectrum disorder, contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm.
The first consultation is always free and our number is 800-323-9900.