A topic that is getting a lot of coverage in the news this past year is the discovery that autism research may have gender-skewed results leading to high functioning girls on the spectrum going undiagnosed. The main reason for this discrepancy is that girls and women haven’t been represented sufficiently in scientific study, and so the diagnostic benchmarks have been set by boys, and then assumed to be the same for girls. This assumption has been dramatically questioned in the past year through research that began to look at the brain development of boys and girls on the spectrum separately. Below are the three main ways that girls with autism have slipped through the cracks, and gone undiagnosed.
Until recently, boys and girls on the spectrum have been painted with the same brush both in terms of diagnosis, and more importantly in terms of treatment. But as a mother of both a boy and a girl with autism, I can tell you that they have always been very different.