Did you know that girls with autism are often overlooked? It’s a huge problem. Overlooking girls with autism produces stress for many families left underserved and without the valuable resources needed to raise healthy neurodivergent children. As a result, entire communities suffer. Without an appropriate diagnosis, society and educational systems struggle to support a neurodivergent child’s developmental needs and expression. Helping a child with autism receive the diagnosis they need to qualify for services requires proper screening and a diagnosis by a medical professional.
Getting an accurate autism diagnosis can be a difficult journey for many on the spectrum. Fortunately, screening tools, assessments, and a deeper scientific understanding of autism have improved rates tremendously over the years. With that said, sadly, girls remain less likely to receive an autism diagnosis than boys. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is four times more prevalent among boys than girls. This blog post will explore why.
Why are girls with autism often overlooked?
Girls are often overlooked due to various factors, including the misconception that girls “don’t have autism.” The truth is girls with autism often have different symptoms than boys, which can be more challenging to diagnose. This leads to many girls with autism falling through the cracks and not receiving the support and accommodations they need to succeed within their environment.
How are symptoms of autism different in girls than they are in boys?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complicated neurological and developmental condition that affects communication, social skills, and behavior. Though girls make up a part of all people with ASD, they often experience different symptoms than boys. For example, girls with ASD are more likely to have typical intelligence and language skills, while boys with ASD are more likely to experience delayed speech and impaired motor skills.
Additionally, girls with ASD tend to be more socially aware than boys with ASD and are more likely to initiate eye contact and gestures. However, girls with ASD are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and struggle with sensory processing issues. This can make it difficult for girls to get the help they need because they may not fit the “typical” profile of a person with autism.
While girls and boys with ASD share many of the same challenges, it is vital to be aware of how the disorder can manifest differently in girls. This understanding can help ensure that girls with ASD receive the support they need to thrive.
What challenges do girls with ASD face?
Though girls with autism share many of the same symptoms as boys with autism, they often face additional unique struggles. Many girls on the spectrum experience difficulty understanding the resources available to them. Without the proper support, they may not grasp their situation or even be aware of possible next steps. This is compounded by the fact that girls are less likely to be screened, producing the diagnosis needed to access services. The inability to access essential autism services can leave girls feeling isolated and alone, without anyone to turn to for help.
Additionally, girls with ASD are typically more socially and emotionally aware than boys. They may have more awareness of how they differ from their peers. This can lead to overwhelming feelings of loneliness and isolation. This can further complicate emotional regulation, making communication more difficult. In some cases, this can lead to co-morbid issues like depression.
Girls on the spectrum also tend to suffer from sensory processing issues, making everyday activities like getting dressed or brushing their hair incredibly challenging. This can be complicated because girls with ASD, primarily those undiagnosed, can fail to meet the expectations of their communities. This leads to further frustration for everyone.
Unfortunately, girls with autism are also more inclined to become victims of sexual trauma and abuse. This is partly because girls with the condition often have difficulty reading social cues and may not understand when they are in danger.
Consequently, girls with ASD face several significant challenges that must be addressed to ensure their well-being. Boys and girls have different needs and challenges, and a tailored, one-on-one approach is necessary to improve many of the problem areas listed.
What can we do to serve girls on the spectrum?
1. We need to be aware of the challenges they face.
This will help us to identify girls who may be on the spectrum. Researching how autism uniquely affects girls can help autism parents better understand their child’s needs and how they can explain their situation to providers.
2. We must ensure that girls have access to helpful resources.
Resources from early intervention services to social skills groups must be available to children as soon as they need them.
3. We need to create a support system for girls with autism and their families.
Support groups for girls with autism can offer families an opportunity to connect and hear unique perspectives on how to cope with their neurodivergent loved one’s needs. This can also help you meet other children that might be great play date playmates.
4. Make early diagnosis a priority.
Do everything you can to get your child diagnosed as early as possible. Early intervention is critical to positive long-term outcomes in children with autism.
5. Notify the education system of any screening updates.
Let your child’s school know if they receive a diagnosis. This will ensure they receive the accommodations and support they need to excel in academic areas.
What unique strengths and abilities do girls with autism possess?
Girls with autism often have unique strengths and abilities. While the symptoms of autism can vary greatly, girls with autism often excel in areas such as visual skills, memory, and attention to detail. They may also have a strong interest in a particular subject and be very passionate about it.
In addition, girls with autism may be very independent and proactive, working hard to achieve their goals. While the challenges of autism can be significant, girls with autism often have much to offer the world. Their unique perspectives and abilities can be valuable assets in many different fields. With the proper support, girls with autism can grow up to lead fulfilling and successful lives.
How are girls with autism affected by co-existing mental health conditions?
Unfortunately, girls with autism are more likely to have co-existing mental health conditions, such as generalized anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. These conditions can affect girls with autism in several ways. For example, girls with autism who have anxiety may be afraid to leave their homes or go to school.
Additionally, girls with autism who have depression may withdraw from social activities and become isolated. They may develop eating disorders that cause them to obsess over food and weight in a way that significantly impacts their quality of life. Therefore, it is essential to be educated about possible co-existing conditions in girls with autism to provide the best care.
How can ABA therapy help girls with autism?
ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is a therapy that effectively treats many symptoms associated with autism. Girls with autism specifically can benefit from ABA therapy in several ways.
One of the essential benefits that girls with autism who receive ABA therapy gain are improved communication skills. This can help girls, who are more prone to anxiety and withdrawal, communicate their needs. ABA therapy teaches neurodivergent children how to express themselves and understand others. Additionally, girls with autism who receive ABA therapy are more likely to develop social skills. Girls on the spectrum often have difficulty interacting with others, but ABA therapy can help them to learn how to relate to others, make friends and develop social awareness.
Finally, girls with autism who receive ABA therapy are more likely to develop independent living skills. This is especially important because girls with autism often need assistance with activities of daily living. ABA therapy can help them learn how to do things independently and become self-sufficient. ABA therapy can help girls with autism in many ways, and it is a vital tool for helping girls with autism lead happy and prosperous lives.
How can ABA Centers of America improve the lives of girls with autism?
ABA Centers of America understands that autism affects children from all walks of life. While autism is prevalent and more likely to be diagnosed in boys, girls with autism cannot continue to be overlooked. We support girls with autism to improve developmental outcomes relevant to their life goals.
We understand that every neurodivergent child is unique and will require individualized support. Let us make that possible for you and your family. For more information about us, call (844) 923-4222 for a free consultation or visit abacenters.com. By working together, we can ensure that girls with autism get the help they need and deserve.