A recent study published in the Journal of Autism and developmental disorders on October 9 has found that girls are highly likely to go undetected for Autism because they are calmer and less hyper-active than boys.
Researchers at Monash University, Melbourne carried out tests on 56 children (aged 7-12) diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 44 children without a diagnosis. It was conducted as part of a PhD programme of Tamara May under the supervision of Professor Kim Cornish and Professor Nicole Rinehart from the School of Psychology and Psychiatry.
World wide statistics show that around four times more boys are diagnosed than girls.
Ms May said:
“Boys often have more problem behaviours like hyperactivity and so they come to clinical attention more often than girls.There is no biological cause of autism that’s been established to explain that difference between the sexes”
There were no overall differences between the indicators of autism, the levels of problems with social interaction and communication were still prevalent but the boys studied had a high level of hyperactivity and anti-social behaviour, like climbing on chairs, and hitting other pupils, which could lead to a reason why they are diagnosed sooner and more efficiently than girls.
Ms May said:
“It’s the squeaky wheel that always gets oiled, these are problem behaviours that we pick up and say, ‘There’s something wrong with this child, let’s take them to a psychologist or a doctor to get them assessed. We wonder if girls are getting the support they need”
To check if there are many more girls with autism than we think, May says a new Pozible crowdfunding campaign called ‘Autism Lost Girls‘ will be launched soon through Deakin University, Geelong, where she is now based.
“If we raise enough money through the community, we will look for mothers and fathers who might have undiagnosed autism,” she says. “We want to see how many ‘lost girls’ we find.”