According to the results of studies conducted in recent years, girls are more misdiagnosed than boys in terms of autism spectrum disorder. Although the reason for this is not known exactly, it is known that autism symptoms manifest themselves in very different ways between the genders.
Autism symptoms are observed differently in girls than boys. The fact that girls with autism spectrum disorder have relatively better social skills causes autism to be noticed later in girls. Therefore, data on autism in girls are very scarce. The data on autism is based on research on boys in general. When the clinical picture of boys with autism is accepted as standard, it can even be predicted that autism will not be detected in girls.
There are some studies on this subject. In order to find a solution to this situation, studies have been conducted on how autism symptoms progress in girls as well. In their study, the researchers analyzed the behavior of young girls and boys, including those with autism and those with normal development. According to the results of the study, the researchers stated that girls with autism have a great advantage in terms of understanding many of the social rules. However, they also emphasized the importance of paying attention to their special needs in the treatment of girls with autism. They pointed out that the treatment of girls with autism may require a different approach and strategy than boys with autism.
It has been concluded that autism is more common in boys than girls, since the diagnostic model, which is accepted and used today, was developed based on data from boys with autism. Since this diagnostic model is based on male behaviors, it creates many difficulties and problems when diagnosing autism in girls.
Autism Signs in Girls
Studies have shown that autism is 4 times more common in boys than girls. However, it is not known whether this is due to the fact that autism is less common in girls or whether it is diagnosed. Girls with autism also need timely and accurate diagnoses in order to receive the right treatment and intervention.
In fact, autism symptoms are not observed very differently in girls than in boys. Girls diagnosed with autism also show certain autism-specific symptoms, otherwise, it is not possible for them to be diagnosed with autism.
Although they have certain autism symptoms, girls with autism are better at hiding symptoms. Because adapting to their peers and their environment is more important for them than for boys with autism. They can very well mimic the right social behavior that will enable them to mask the symptoms of autism. By following behavioral cues, they can pretend to be the right behavior to adapt socially.
As we mentioned earlier, girls are more likely to be misdiagnosed. In addition, many autism symptoms are confused with ADHD symptoms. In case of misdiagnosis, autism symptoms are masked and correct intervention starts very late. In addition, experts are aware that it is rare to observe autism in girls, and even when they diagnose autism symptoms, there is a tendency that it should be something else. Fortunately, this situation has begun to change today.
Girls with autism are more successful in social interactions, have better adaptability, have a lower rate of obsessions, and have more problems with language development than boys with autism. Girls with autism who are misdiagnosed or still undiagnosed are very likely to develop depression, low self-esteem, or other mental health issues.
In some cases, autism may not be the disorder itself but an underlying condition or symptom of another disorder. Rett syndrome is one of these conditions. Therefore, in order to diagnose autism in girls correctly, some evaluations should be applied in addition to the generally accepted tests, including genetic counseling and analysis.
Although girls with autism have difficulties in behaviors involving social interaction, they are successful in imitation in this regard. They tend to adapt to the situation. Although they have difficulty maintaining eye contact, they can avoid this difficulty by daydreaming or mental operations.
In addition, they may have difficulties in establishing intimate relationships, have lower verbal cognitive abilities, have difficulty adapting, have difficulty understanding sarcasm and jokes, cannot understand language games and fiction in literature, have communication problems, the conversation becomes a command for them, and they need more time than other people to interact with others.
Sensory processing problems involve many different aspects. These vary from person to person but may be related to lighting, sound, or touch. Individuals with autism, who are exposed to excessive sensory processing, exhibit self-harming behaviors and meet their self-regulation needs.
Aggressive behavior can also be observed in girls with autism. They may exhibit such behaviors when they realize that they cannot explain something or when they try to self-regulate themselves. The reason for these behaviors may also be of physiological origin.
Individuals with autism are more visual thinkers, especially girls. They think in pictures rather than words. This allows some individuals on the autism spectrum to solve complex problems more easily and to conceptualize patterns more easily. They often have special interests and obsessions. Girls with autism are very clear and specific about what they like and what they like. They have limited interest in events and activities.
If you have a girl on the autism spectrum in your life and you care for her, it is very important to keep in mind that there a many different interventions and treatment methods available. These vary depending on the needs and challenges of a girl on the autism spectrum. Even while choosing a school for her, these variations could be important. Because some schools have tailored special-needs plans to put her in more comfortable situations.
Autism Signs in Boys
Although it is easier to diagnose autism in boys with autism, they can be diagnosed with autism even when they show developmental changes while they are still toddlers and children. Although this is a common condition, it is uncommon for parents to recognize the symptoms of this disorder at an early age. Because babies with autism also perform crawling, sitting, and walking behaviors at exactly the right time for development.
Generally, signs are not noticed in gestures and facial expressions, social language use, and role-playing games. But boys with autism learn to speak late. In addition to this delay, which parents can easily notice, some behavioral differences can be observed. These differences are usually related to their communication with their peers.
While a 12-month-old boy who has completed his development normally, reacts when his name is called, boys with autism do not. While an 18-month-old boy who completes his development normally uses gestures and facial expressions, boys with autism do not even bother to communicate. They can only rarely repeat what they hear.
A typically developing 2-year-old boy can draw, associate himself with painting and explain this to his parents. However, such a situation is not observed in boys with autism. Playing with their peers or sharing with their parents is not in their interests.
Normally developing children have a certain level of interest in everything that happens around them. When they reach a certain age, they walk towards the people around them, make eye contact, and interact with them. This is definitely not observed in boys with autism. They avoid eye contact, which is one of the main symptoms of autism.
Boys with autism are also not enthusiastic about learning. They are quite insensitive to learning something new if it doesn’t pique their interest. They don’t even bother to notice other people, they pretend they don’t exist. In addition to not having the social skills necessary to make friends, they also do not enjoy making friends. They also often have trouble expressing their emotions.
Repetitive and stereotypical movements are more common in boys with autism. These behaviors, which are expressed as self-stimulating behaviors, are more exhibited by boys with autism. They are very sensitive to touch and do not like the act of hugging.
As boys with autism grow up, they begin to experience some psychological problems. Anxiety and depression are more likely. As these boys are exposed to more social environments, such problems increase. These issues should be handled with caution.
As with any child on the autism spectrum, boys with autism often have a strict routine. Any change in these routines can cause them great anxiety. Unusual situations bother them a lot. In addition, being in an environment where they have never been before can also cause tantrums. Examples of these routines also could be obsessions. For example, they can watch a video from start to finish millions of times and be persistent.
Boys with autism may have weird sleep patterns, react differently to situations, and laugh or cry unexpectedly. They have different impulses of pain and fear. While they are not afraid of dangerous things, they can be very afraid of quite harmless and simple things.
If you have observed any of these symptoms in your boy, you should consult a professional before wasting any more time. If your child has a problem, delay or difficulty speaking, learning, or walking, you should definitely take him to a doctor. The earlier you start an intervention, the easier life will be for you and your child with autism.
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