Autism in girls is not a topic often discussed. When talking about autism, usually the focus is centered around boys since they’ve been thought to be about three times as likely to develop it compared to girls. While that makes sense on the surface, some researchers believe this may be getting in the way of identifying autism in girls.
Generally, girls are diagnosed with autism about two years later than boys are. This isn’t because it kicks in later, it’s because girls are different from boys. One study has discovered that girls may actually be better at hiding their symptoms of autism than boys are, making it more difficult to recognize.
Study shows why autism in girls may be harder to identify
In a study recently published in the scientific journal Autism, researchers discovered why autism in girls often flies under the radar: social skills. Autism is known for making socializing difficult–but that’s largely based off of research conducted on men and boys. There’s very little research that specifically focuses on autism in girls.
Which is a huge problem, according to Psychologist Carolien Rieffe. She believes that if we continue to use boys with autism as the “clinical picture” for autism in general, then many girls will continue to go unrecognized and untreated. This is what motivated Rieffe to study autism in girls.
The researchers believe that their study shows autism in girls needs a different approach. While girls with autism may have a stronger grasp of social norms and cues, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re forming meaningful relationships or thriving socially.
Girls naturally tend to be more socially aware earlier on, which could explain why they are much better at masking the symptoms of autism than boys. This doesn’t mean that they’re not still struggling, though. They could still have a strong tendency to isolate if not treated.
This is why it’s so critical to conduct more research for autism in girls. It’s still a large grey area in the realm of autism and it’s causing many girls to go without ever receiving treatment or help.
If you believe your daughter is seriously struggling with autism or a mental health issue, it’s essential to reach out to a professional for further guidance.
Solstice East is here for your family
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of troubled girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. Our girls often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, autism in girls, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.
We strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness through meaningful therapy and a nurturing environment.
For more information about how we help with autism in girls at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.