Many people with Asperger’s syndrome need to learn social skills in order for them to be able to develop relationships and work. This is a task that can be especially difficult for females with the condition, but research suggests there are ways of dealing with this issue and improving their learning outcomes.
The “male vs female autism symptoms” is a topic that has been discussed for a while. There are many different statistics and other differences between males and females on the subject of Asperger’s Syndrome.
Although Asperger’s syndrome is no longer an official diagnostic, it used to be diagnosed more often in girls than in men. As a result, many women with Asperger’s suppress or hide their symptoms, which may make long-term prognosis and treatment more difficult.
What Is Asperger Syndrome and How Does It Affect You?
Asperger syndrome, often known as Asperger’s syndrome, is a neurodevelopmental disease that causes difficulties with nonverbal communication and social interaction. When anxious or afraid, many people have limited interests and repeat patterns of behavior.
Asperger syndrome is a kind of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that differs from other forms of the illness. This is due to the fact that persons with Asperger’s have very normal language and cognitive abilities.
As with autism, the etiology of Asperger syndrome are unknown. Geneticists now think that the illness is inherited, although they have yet to identify the genes that are responsible. As with autism, environmental variables may play a role in the development of Asperger’s syndrome.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Volume 5 of the American Psychiatric Association dropped Asperger syndrome as a discrete diagnostic in 2013 and combined it with autism and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. However, Asperger’s syndrome is still classified as a separate subgroup of autism spectrum disease by the International Classification of Diseases.
Asperger’s & Gender
According to previous studies, whereas an Asperger’s diagnosis for males may begin as early as age 2, a good diagnosis for a female with Asperger’s can take up to 18 years. Gender stereotypes that frequently encourage the assumption that females should be quiet, introverted, timid, and tidy are one explanation for this. Many of the prevalent Asperger syndrome presentations have these traits.
As a result, a phenomena known as “masking” has emerged, in which a person with Asperger’s covers their symptoms while pretending to be a neurotypical person (that is, a person without any form of ASD). Faking eye contact during discussions, copying smiles, gestures, and other emotions, scripting conversations and preparing replies to queries, concealing stimming (self-stimulating comfort activities), and tolerating sensory pain are all examples of this.
Due to their superior intellectual abilities, people with Asperger syndrome are often able to disguise to a greater extent than those with other kinds of ASD. They do so to avoid bullying and other stigmas, as well as because they recognize that their ability to be viewed as a neurotypical person is critical to their success.
Masking is a tough and painful experience for people with Asperger’s syndrome, and it has a substantial impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing. Women who disguised to look neurotypical reported feeling fatigued and unhappy as a result of the ongoing effort, according to the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders; in some instances, this has led to suicide thinking.
Girls & Asperger’s
Boys and girls may both hide, but research has revealed that girls mask more than boys since many girls are trained to be quieter and more reserved than boys and take up less space. It is more obvious when a male has symptoms that are similar to those of Asperger’s.
Many females may not get an Asperger’s diagnosis until they are in their late teens, by which time they have most likely had to hide their neurological issues for many years. Girls with Asperger’s become extremely skilled at establishing coping strategies to overcome the social setbacks of being on the spectrum as they get older, which paradoxically makes it more difficult for parents and teachers to notice anything is wrong.
This has an impact on the diagnostic rates for women with the disease, prompting some experts to wonder, “Where are the girls?” Despite the fact that awareness of autism spectrum disorders has expanded dramatically during the 2000s, there is still a significant gender disparity in terms of women getting diagnosed with milder forms of the illness, such as Asperger syndrome.
Gender Differences in Asperger’s Syndrome Treatment
There are various medicinal and therapeutic methods for treating Asperger syndrome. Depending on a person’s gender, these selections may alter. According to Psychology Today, women with autism are more likely to experience anxiety and sadness, owing to the effort required to disguise their symptoms.
As a result, treating women with Asperger’s may need a more specific approach. Many women with Asperger’s syndrome have been so proficient at disguising their symptoms that they may struggle with social parts of treatment, such as completely opening up to a therapist. This might make it difficult for the therapist to determine how best to assist their client.
Therapy for a woman with Asperger’s syndrome should include all aspects of her life that are impacted by the disease. This might include include a woman’s spouse in her treatment or working with her therapist to develop a plan to assist her communicate her needs to her partner. These are dynamics that males with Asperger’s don’t usually have.
Asperger’s & Gender Dysphoria
Another gender dynamic in the rates of Asperger syndrome diagnosis is that young individuals with gender dysphoria have a higher prevalence of Asperger’s. Gender dysphoria is a distressing condition in which a person believes they are a different gender than the one they were born with.
“Growing evidence suggesting greater frequency of autism spectrum disorder in gender dysphoric youngsters,” according to a research published in the LGBT Health magazine. Another research published in the Nature Communications journal in 2020 found that persons who do not identify with their given sex at birth are six times more likely than cisgender people to be on the autistic spectrum (those who identify with their assigned sex at birth).
In comparison to neurotypical persons, people with autism are more likely to be gender varied, according to recent study.
In terms of therapy, researchers recommended that physicians, doctors, and educators have a better understanding of gender identity and dysphoria, as well as the consequences of minority stress — the difficulties that come with being a member of a stigmatized group — on mental health. Being gender varied while also having Asperger syndrome may add to the stress since individuals may have to disguise on two levels: one to hide their autism and the other to hide their true gender identity.
History, Diagnosis, and DSM-5 Changes for Asperger Syndrome (December 14, 2014) Psychiatry Consultant.
It’s Not the Same in Girls With Autism. (March of this year). Scientific American is a publication dedicated to science.
The Impact of Gender on Autism Symptom Severity Perception and Future Behavioral Development (March of this year). Autism is a genetic disorder.
My Daughter’s Autism Diagnosis at the Age of 23 Demonstrates How Girls Can Easily Mask the Warning Signs (As of January 2019) ABC News is a reputable news organization.
An Investigation of the Female Autism Phenotype: The Experiences of Late-Diagnosed Women With Autism Spectrum Conditions. (2016). The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders is a publication dedicated to the study of autism and developmental disorders.
Self-reported Camouflaging in Autistic and Non-Autistic Adults: Gender Differences. (In February of 2020) Autism.
Where Are the Girls in Asperger Syndrome’s Gender Gap? (February 2008). The Education Resources Information Center is a website that provides information about educational resources.
What Does Therapy Mean for Women With Autism? (In November of 2020) Today’s Psychology.
Assessment of Asperger Syndrome in Children and Adolescents Visiting a Gender Dysphoria Clinic (October 2016). Health Concerns for LGBT People.
Autism, other neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diagnoses, and autistic traits are more common among transgender and gender-diverse people. (Sept. 2020). Nature Communications is a journal that publishes scientific papers.
Evidence of Autism Rates in Studies of Gender Diverse Individuals (Revisiting the Link). (Updated November 2018). The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s journal.
Gender Identity Differences in Autistic Adults: Associations with Perceptual and Socio-Cognitive Profiles is a brief report. (As of December 2018) The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders is a publication dedicated to the study of autism and developmental disorders.
The “autism ratio male-to-female” is a statistic that shows the percentage of males to females who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. This statistic can be used as a way to compare how many more females than males have been diagnosed with an ASD in any given year.
- asperger’s male vs female
- what is the male-to-female ratio in autism spectrum disorder? a systematic review and meta-analysis
- why is autism more common in boys
- differences in autistic men and women
- autism more common in first-born
Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.