In April, we shared news that autism may be more difficult to diagnose in girls. Now, there’s news from a study claiming that girls with autism may have more difficulty than boys in performing day-to-day tasks.
In this issue, we’ll talk about the study and what it means.
The Study at a Glance
Published in the journal Autism Research, the study was the largest to date that examined executive functioning (ability to make a plan, get organized and follow through as needed). It was led by researchers with the Center for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Children’s National Health System), the National Institute of Mental Health and George Washington University.
The researchers collected and analyzed parent-reported data about 79 girls and 158 boys ranging in ages from 7 to 18-year-old.
Overall, autistic girls fared worse than autistic boys in the areas of planning, short-term memory, impulse control and cognitive flexibility – the ability to change from one activity to another.
For reference, the boys tended to have difficulty only with cognitive flexibility.
Results from this study were somewhat surprising, especially in light of the fact that in the study we mentioned earlier, girls with autism were found to have much more developed social and communication skills than autistic boys.
Why is this study important?
This study and others like it contribute a great deal to developing coping strategies for autistic children. Because the ratio of boys to girls with autism is approximately 3 to 1, most of the existing data of what’s known about autism is male-based.
The continuing lack of data about how autism affects females may be a contributing factor in misdiagnosis or delay in treatment.
For example, care for children with autism should consist of equipping all of them – male and female – with strategies and skills that help them to not only function, but to succeed in their everyday living.
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.