Journal of Clinical & Medical Images
Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects individuals of both sexes. However, females with ASC frequently remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to a range of factors, including gender bias in the medical profession, societal expectations, and a lack of knowledge about the unique challenges they face. For instance, the gendered subset of the population often struggles with social interaction and communication, relying more on analytical thinking, which can lead to difficulty in generating acceptable responses and behaviors. At the same time, females are more adept at masking their innate behaviors associated with the condition and hyper-focus on intense, immediate friendships. Compared to males, females with may also present with fewer repetitive and ritualistic behaviors and internalize emotions such as anxiety and depression, thus leading to a higher risk of suicide. Diagnosis inequality with males may be due to overshadowing by co-existing conditions, gender bias, and a lack of understanding of female-associated interests. Strategies for supporting females with the condition include providing concrete and visual information, offering incremental steps to structure transitions, understanding their aversion to change, offering guided choice options, and using social stories and factual evidence to help work through fears. Increasing awareness of the unique challenges faced by females with autism is crucial in improving support and understanding for them. Further research and training for clinicians and supportive resource materials for families and the wider community are necessary to reduce the impact of ASC on females and improve their quality of life.
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Hutson, Piper and Hutson, James, "Autism in Females: Understanding the Overlooked Diagnoses, Unique Challenges, and Recommendations" (2023). Faculty Scholarship. 492.