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Women and girls on the autism spectrum

posted 14 Jul 2012, 07:10 by Jan Szafranski   [ updated 14 Jul 2012, 07:10 ]
In recent years, questions have been raised about the ratio of males to females diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Overall the most recent studies suggest that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is about one in 100, but what of the male/female ratio?

There is no hard evidence of numbers. Various studies, together with anecdotal evidence, have come up with male/female ratios ranging from 2:1 to 16:1. Whatever the true ratio, clinical referrals to a specialist diagnostic centre such as The National Autistic Society’s Lorna Wing Centre have seen a steady increase in the number of girls and women referred. Because of the male gender bias, girls are less likely to be identified with ASD, even when their symptoms are equally severe. Many girls are never referred for diagnosis and are missed from the statistics. At The Lorna Wing Centre, emphasis is placed on the different manifestations of behaviour in autism spectrum conditions as seen in girls and women compared with boys and men.
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