Testing Girls for Autism
“It’s no secret that many more boys are being diagnosed with autism than are girls. However, it’s just as important for young girls to be assessed for autism if they show classic traits of ASD.” – Gregory Ruel.
Over the Thanksgiving break, The Huffington Post released an article examining how girls with autism were being shortchanged. The piece cites figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that include boys being five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. In addition, just 1 in 252 girls is diagnosed with autism as opposed to 1 in 54 boys.
The disparity in the statistics leads some young mothers to set aside worries that their child may be autistic. For instance, one mother of a now 9 year old girl who blogs on her experiences states, “There might’ve been things she was demonstrating that I didn’t see because she was a girl; Maybe, I sort of comforted myself with thinking, ’Well, she’s not autistic, because she’s a girl.” Many more parents likely went through the same line of reasoning when trying to assess if their young daughter exhibited signs of autism.
The article goes on to explain tests conducted to determine whether a child is autistic. One test common for both girls and boys is the ability to identify whether children in photos display happiness or sadness, anger or fear. While additional tests will help determine whether or not a child is showing signs of autism, what’s most important is early action. While autism may be diagnosed in boys at a much higher rate, it’s nonetheless important that parents of young girls with autism also see a specialist is they suspect their child may be autistic.
Gregory Ruel (Portland, Maine)
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