Typical symptoms for Autism mean that girls can go undiagnosed well into adulthood. Education about typical symptoms for girls is important so that they can access support.
Autism is a developmental condition that affects your ability to interact socially, communicate, and has behavioral patterns that are restrictive or repetitive, but symptoms are different for every individual.
According to recent studies, girls with Autism need more severe genetic defects than boys to acquire Autism. So how is Autism in girls different?
How Is It Overlooked In Girls?
Being a woman appears to protect the brain from neurological disorders like Autism; according to recent studies, girls with Autism need more severe genetic defects than boys to be affected by Autism.
However, Autism appears differently in girls, and as a result, it often goes undiagnosed, especially in those who don’t present with typical symptoms like communication difficulties. If it goes undiagnosed as a child, girls with autism master hiding their symptoms in order to fit in.
Atypical Symptoms That Girls Present
Stereotypes about male and female behaviors can lead to a misdiagnosis. Many people believe that girls are inherently quieter and more independent. However, autism signs include communicating less and choosing to spend time alone.
Specific autism symptoms tend to be more pronounced in boys than in girls. Repetitive behaviors and issues of self-control, for example, are more common in boys and are be more evident than difficulty communicating or socializing. Girls may conceal their symptoms or spend time learning and understanding social norms, which is why they are more likely than autistic boys to form friendships. By being able to socialize, their Autism is misdiagnosed.
Autism may also be affected by mental health problems. Anxiety, depression, and personality disorders share certain symptoms with Autism, like stimming behaviors resulting in misdiagnosis.
An obsession with an interest like animals, music, or art is a sign of Autism. While a healthy interest in a topic is encouraged, autistic girls become fixated on a topic to the extent that it can help bring them comfort.
Although some girls manage to fit in, others can show a preference for playing alone. Others may prefer playing with friends, but like when they can be in control to dictate to their friends.
Some girls find it difficult to remain composed and result in inappropriate meltdowns when they lose control. It’s seen as inappropriate for their age and can negatively impact their education as well as interpersonal relationships.
Treatment & Support
You can manage some symptoms of autism with medications; however, autism can often co-exist with other mental illnesses like OCD. To get the right treatment, you should work together with a licensed therapist.
It can be isolating dealing with autism, but there are many support groups to share stories and bond with other women who live with autism. Sharing experiences with others can help you take steps to seek the help you need.
Interacting with autism awareness groups helps inform others about the disease and educate the public. It isn’t a disease to be ashamed of; with the right support, an autistic person will thrive!
Dr Saadiqah Hajat