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ASD Symptomatology in Females: Data From a Community Clinic

  • Author(s): Heyman, Michelle
  • Advisor(s): Blacher, Jan
  • et al.
Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous disorder with a range of symptoms and challenges. The current sex ratio of ASD is estimated to be four males to every one female. Theories have been proposed to explain this variation in sex ratio across the spectrum, such as the failure of diagnostic measures to correctly identify females and/or females’ ASD behaviors present differently than those of males. The purpose of this study was to further investigate the sex presentation of ASD within a community sample referred to an autism screening center. 195 children, 144 males and 51 females, received and met criteria on the ADOS, and were administered parent-reported instruments. Findings indicated that females with limited to phrase speech who met ASD criteria on ADOS-2 were reported to have more overt social deficits and problem behaviors per caregiver report than males. No others sex differences were found. There were no significant differences in caregiver-reported measures for females who did meet criteria for ASD on the ADOS-2 versus those who not did. Discussion focused on the significance of exploring sex differences in ASD related behaviors in a community sample.

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