News – ASD

Recognising ASD in girls

Girls with Autism are often dis-diagnosed because their characteristics are not the same as the male population. This means that often assessments and screening tools used to
identify children with this condition will not identify the female presentation. Intellectually able girls with Autism generally have better social skills than boys. Additionally the female
population are more inclined towards sociability, emotionality and friendship. In every social situation, instead of socialising with little effort, they struggle to conform and to generate
acceptable responses and behaviours. To manage this, they may have learnt strategies such as: rote-learning conversational phrases, imitating social behaviours (for example, from TV,
internet or peers), following social scripts, and ‘masking’ or ‘camouflaging’ their innate ASD behaviours.

Social Imagination:
• More pretend play and a better
imagination
• Girls escape into another world
• Make believe play is often
recreated from ‘real’ events

Social Understanding:
• Follow and copy other girls
• Usually on the periphery of
social interactions
• Females are generally more
social
• Socially immature and passive
• Parents ‘organising’ their
friendships
• Use non-ASD girls as a social
prop
• Prefer 1:1 interactions over
groups
• Mimic behaviour and language
of those around them
• Tend to have one special
friend whom they mother or
are domineering towards

Compensatory strategies often used
by girls
:
• Masking difficulties except when at
home or ‘comfortable’
• Internalising symptoms
• Impacts on mental health, often
resulting in anxiety or eating
disorders if mis-diagnosed

Social Communication:
• Lack of understanding for a
social hierarchy
• Acquiring speech generally the
same as males
• Do not ‘do social chit chat’

Special Interests and Routines:
• May hoard items
• Fashionable interests that are very intense and
unusual in quality
• Perfectionism
• Model student and very well behaved outside
of the family home