The Guardian reports on a new study discovering that girls with autism are more likely to be diagnosed later than boys, due to the fact that they “adept at camouflaging their behavior” in order to fit in with their peers.
According to the study published on the issue, the ratio of boys diagnosed with autism is four times higher than in the case of girls, pointing to the gap between diagnosing girls and boys due to the tendency of girls to hide the traits of their autistic behavior.
The study, involving universities of Southampton, London and Liverpool and autistic and non-autistic participants as well, scrutinized social reciprocal behavior including interactive drawing tasks with researchers and participants taking turns and contributing to the outcome of the task, a drawing, together, while reciprocal behavior was awarded. The results have shown that among females the scores almost matched for both groups, while a significant difference was visible among male participants.
It has been stated that “better awareness of camouflaging could lead to increased support for those who might otherwise miss out” and it is extremely important that the increased awareness brings about accessible assistance so early intervention can be established and maintained.
Camouflaging not only means that girls get to be diagnosed later, but also maintaining it is stressful and requires a lot of effort, which can have even more harmful consequences in the future.
The need for raising awareness and paying more attention to girls and young women has been around for quite some time, nonetheless, scientists and advocates for autism highlight the urge to face the situation and break down the walls around stereotypes between genders dealing with autism.