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A New Study Shows We're Wrong About Girls With Autism

What We Know About Girls With Autism Might Be Completely Wrong

A new study recently published in the journal "Autism Research" suggests we may be getting it wrong when it comes to girls who have autism. The research found that girls with autism may have more trouble with things like organization, real-life planning, and other life skills compared to boys who have autism.

The study, which was completed at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Children's National Health System in Washington DC, concluded that girls with autism will face challenges mastering everyday skills like, holding casual conversations, getting dressed in the morning, and making and sticking to a plan.

The study was done in an effort to get more information on girls who have autism. "The findings are part of a growing body of research focused on how ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorders] may affect females differently than males," said researchers at the Children's National Health System. "The ratio of girls to boys with autism is approximately three to one."

In an interview with Science Daily Lauren Kenworthy, PhD, the study's senior author and the director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders said: "Our understanding of autism is overwhelmingly based on males, similar to the situation faced by the medical community once confronted with heart disease research being predominantly male. We know how to identify signs, symptoms, and treatments for autism in males, but we know very little about unique aspects of it in females."

The study group included 79 girls and 158 boys who had ASD between 7 and 18 years old. The groups were controlled for intelligence, age, and level of autism and ADHD symptoms.

"Enhancing our understanding of how biological differences change the presentation of autism in the long term is crucial to giving every person with ASD the tools they need to succeed in life," added Kenworthy.

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