When someone says autism, you typically fall into one of two camps. You either picture a kid who’s socially awkward and is “just a bit weird”, or you picture a non-verbal kid who can’t make eye contact at all and seems to not know you’re there. There’s one thing that both camps typically have in common, though. They’re picturing a boy.
While more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism, that does not mean that autism is a “boy’s disorder”. There are tons of factors involved, like the signs of autism in boys being more known than signs in girls. Today we’re covering just a few things about autism in girls.
This post is part of the Autism A-Z series for Autism Acceptance Month. I’m also still running the fundrasier for the ASAN! 10% of all purchases will be donated to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network to help support autistic people and their families. Okay, back to the topic!
Autism in Girls
Signs of Autism Were Made for Boys
The signs of autism that we are told to watch for at early ages were primarily made for boys. That’s not to say that autistic girls can’t or don’t act similarly to autistic boys, but that sometimes they show their autism in different ways.
Many doctors focus on the social struggles for autistic children, but that particular side to autism may be more severe in boys than girls. See, girls typically are much more social than boys, so a boy may be seen easily as autistic while a girl is labeled “shy” because her social struggles are less severe.
Autistic girls tend to have obsessions just like boys, but they’re seen as more socially appropriate, so they can be difficult to diagnose. Their behavior isn’t any less autistic than boys, it’s simply not the stereotypical autistic traits because those traits were written for boys.
With Severe Autism, Girls Tend to Struggle More than Boys
So on the opposite side of the spectrum, when girls are more severely autistic, they tend to be more severe than boys. They are more likely to be nonverbal and act out compared to boys, which is interesting because most of the time society sees girls as quicker to develop and more mild mannered.
It seems as though autistic girls fall harder to one end of the spectrum while boys tend to be all over the map. Again, this makes me wonder how much of this is because the spectrum was designed around autistic boys.
Life with an Autistic Daughter
Here’s the thing, friends. I don’t have an autistic daughter, at least, not that we know of yet. So I can give facts and thoughts and opinions, but I can’t really share what it’s like living life with an autistic daughter. So I decided to share a few blogs that you may want to check out if you have an autistic daughter and want more real life experience from mama’s like you! Kori is one of my sweetest blog-friends, and I wholeheartedly recommend you check out her site!
“Are girls on the spectrum really that much different from their male counterparts? In my personal experience, yes. My daughter is one of the severe end/classic autism girls. She’s non-verbal and will likely be dependent on me or another adult for the rest of her life. It hasn’t always been easy, but I remind myself that it will be worth it.” –Kori, from Kori at Home
“When it was first brought up to me that there was a possibility that my daughter was autistic, I refused to listen. Every single day I worked with autistic children (all boys) and she was nothing like them. She was social. Even after her evaluation came back as PDd-nos, I struggled to believe it. How social she is not only threw me off, but has also been a learning curve for every member of her educational team” –Stephanie, from Parenting Chaos
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