Difference between male and female autism?

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qwan
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03 May 2012, 12:24 pm

So I've read that many females fail to get diagnosed due to the criteria leaning towards the more male symptoms and that females display symptoms of autism/aspergers differently.

Can any one mention any of these actually differences or point me in the direction of some extensive research on the matter?

So far I've only found the speculation that females are taught to be more verbal and sociable and to orientate their thoughts on the collective rather than themselves, meaning they may learn to mask some symptoms and appear more neurotypical as a result.
How ever, I haven't found anything that suggests how females display their autism, and how one diagnoses it with gender differences in mind (although I'm under the assumption the main issue is that this generally doesn't happen anyway).

I'm assuming it's little more than a theory at this point in time, but I'd be interested to hear of any personal accounts or opinions on this matter as well as some studies any have heard of or anything that might help me understand this really.



lostgirl1986
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03 May 2012, 12:37 pm

I've also read for females they tend to have a broader range of interests and their interests tend to be more fantasy oriented or more common I guess you could say (animals, cooking, nature, etc.). That's just a generalization though.

Also, I heard that female children tend to draw other females into their groups of friends, usually the motherly type. I'm not saying that all females had tons of friends but they usually find someone to connect with more easily than males. It seems for males that if you're different, you just get beat up and made fun of. Again, that's just a generalization, I'm sure everybody has different experiences.



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03 May 2012, 12:58 pm

Do you know Simon Baron-Cohen? (He's the guy who wrote the AQ test, and loads of other popular books about autism). He has written a book called "The Essential Difference" which addresses the difference between male and female brains and how it all links in with autism. I've only skimmed through the book so I can't really give you any more detail than that, but I from what I've read it was very interesting. (E.g., female brains tend to be stronger at empathising and male brains stronger at systemizing, which is why male autistics have a higher rate of fact-based special interests and females a higher rate of social-based special interests.)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Essential-D ... 0713996714



Matt62
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03 May 2012, 1:21 pm

Ihave only noticed that females tend to get the more severe forms of these disorders. That certainly was the case in Donna William's first book. I do not know how any one could call that "High Functioning" autism at all. Also, the one proven genetic ASD that effects females is EXTREMELY severe.
It may because females are expected to be more socially oriented. I am just guessing here though..

Sincerely,
Matthew



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03 May 2012, 1:23 pm

Their isn't that much of a differance in my opinon.



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03 May 2012, 1:27 pm

There definitely is also a social aspect to it. At least down here in the south, a girl who is quiet and withdrawn will be assumed to be demure and sweet, where a boy will be assumed weak (or, by god the worst, in need of toughening up...) or weird by both their peers and adults.



qwan
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03 May 2012, 1:29 pm

Guineapigged wrote:
Do you know Simon Baron-Cohen? (He's the guy who wrote the AQ test, and loads of other popular books about autism). He has written a book called "The Essential Difference" which addresses the difference between male and female brains and how it all links in with autism. I've only skimmed through the book so I can't really give you any more detail than that, but I from what I've read it was very interesting. (E.g., female brains tend to be stronger at empathising and male brains stronger at systemizing, which is why male autistics have a higher rate of fact-based special interests and females a higher rate of social-based special interests.)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Essential-D ... 0713996714

I might have to buy that; it certainly sounds interesting. I do know of that name I believe, but not from the AQ test.
Thanks.



qwan
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03 May 2012, 1:31 pm

Rebel_Nowe wrote:
There definitely is also a social aspect to it. At least down here in the south, a girl who is quiet and withdrawn will be assumed to be demure and sweet, where a boy will be assumed weak (or, by god the worst, in need of toughening up...) or weird by both their peers and adults.


I agree with Joker in that my personal experience doesn't show a great difference but I can't say when talking to aspies I was picking them apart by gender as I am generally gender blind besides the fact I tend to get on with guys more than girls (as they usually hate me).

I do think a lot of it is social. I suppose that would both effect the symptoms through learnt behaviour and the assessors perception of the behaviour.



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03 May 2012, 1:36 pm

Like I said, part of it is a southern culture thing. I grew up in a very southern area with a very southern family. My wife assures me that such gender roles (and plenty of other things I took even more for granted) aren't as bad once you put distance between yourself and the mason dixon line headed north. >_>



qwan
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03 May 2012, 1:47 pm

Rebel_Nowe wrote:
Like I said, part of it is a southern culture thing. I grew up in a very southern area with a very southern family. My wife assures me that such gender roles (and plenty of other things I took even more for granted) aren't as bad once you put distance between yourself and the mason dixon line headed north. >_>

Isn't it an almost universal thing?
Women are generally repressed everywhere, and as a result are expected and taught to behave submissively.
I suppose some of the traits of autism could be perceived as submissive behaviour in girls whereas it's avoidant behaviour in guys. Avoidant or submissive behaviour in guys isn't liked so is more likely to be seen as a disorder, but people like girls like that so if anything it's a sign they're all well.

Still, this doesn't really suggest that autism has many real gender differences. If anything, the symptoms are culturally shaped somewhat and the perception is probably even more distorted. Besides that, it doesn't really sound like it's a difference of criteria for diagnosis between genders.

The suggestion of differing interests was interesting though.
My main interest is psychology and human interaction, it's my 'special interest' if you like. Perhaps that can be explained by my being biologically female. Although I might not even be that far up on the spectrum to be worthy of note on this matter.



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03 May 2012, 1:48 pm

While many NT women tend to put their appearance before their comfort and are slaves to "fashion", I always prefer more practical, comfortable clothing. I don't like to look like a slob or anything it's just that all I really want to wear are jeans and t-shits or tank tops and instead of a million pairs of shoes I only have sneakers and a pair of winter boots. I am not looking forward to summer because I will have to start wearing shorts and I HATE them. :evil: I also hate the way most so-called beauty products feel on my skin and it's a pain to put it on and ridiculously expensive so I seldom wear any makeup. I didn't always use to know how to relate and socialize with others so during my teens and twenties I normally would role-play with dolls and stuffed animals alone in my room. Before I was diagnosed my mother found this extremely abnormal and hated it when I would go out and buy more dolls instead of "teenage things". To me, most teenage things were evil and disgusting like cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and spray paint for vandalizing property. No, I am not a nun. :lol: It wasn't until shortly after my diagnosis and my mother found information on the internet that I learned these were all just a few traits for female aspies and until then I was a bit skeptical about my really having AS since the info we were first given by doctors was mainly about males. Go figure. :roll:



qwan
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03 May 2012, 1:55 pm

lostonearth35 wrote:
While many NT women tend to put their appearance before their comfort and are slaves to "fashion", I always prefer more practical, comfortable clothing. I don't like to look like a slob or anything it's just that all I really want to wear are jeans and t-shits or tank tops and instead of a million pairs of shoes I only have sneakers and a pair of winter boots. I am not looking forward to summer because I will have to start wearing shorts and I HATE them. :evil: I also hate the way most so-called beauty products feel on my skin and it's a pain to put it on and ridiculously expensive so I seldom wear any makeup. I didn't always use to know how to relate and socialize with others so during my teens and twenties I normally would role-play with dolls and stuffed animals alone in my room. Before I was diagnosed my mother found this extremely abnormal and hated it when I would go out and buy more dolls instead of "teenage things". To me, most teenage things were evil and disgusting like cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and spray paint for vandalizing property. No, I am not a nun. :lol: It wasn't until shortly after my diagnosis and my mother found information on the internet that I learned these were all just a few traits for female aspies and until then I was a bit skeptical about my really having AS since the info we were first given by doctors was mainly about males. Go figure. :roll:

I love anime and have for years found that if I wasn't sure how to act in a social situation I'd pick an anime character and role play them so I'd just act how I presume they'd act in that situation.
I don't know if that's an aspie trait or not, but it helped me figure out which characters traits were good in some situations. I'm not sure if most kids do this or not, but it's one way of learning haha
I never liked make up as a kid but I sometimes put this powdery stuff that makes your face generally look the same colour as I have dark under my eyes like L from Death Note because I have insomnia or something. trolol, it covers that up and you don't feel it. Also it's not like it makes a huge difference. I don't use any special creams though. =/ I don't see the point, they seem too confusing anyway.

Sorry I'm ranting about crap now... >.>

How about wearing combat trousers in the summer? They're loose and light, usually fairly airy due to being a bit baggier, so it's coverage, comfort, practical and cool enough.
I'd either wear those or mens shorts as they come longer and looser and if you can pull it off it can look kinda cute.



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03 May 2012, 1:57 pm

Guineapigged wrote:
Do you know Simon Baron-Cohen? (He's the guy who wrote the AQ test, and loads of other popular books about autism). He has written a book called "The Essential Difference" which addresses the difference between male and female brains and how it all links in with autism. I've only skimmed through the book so I can't really give you any more detail than that, but I from what I've read it was very interesting. (E.g., female brains tend to be stronger at empathising and male brains stronger at systemizing, which is why male autistics have a higher rate of fact-based special interests and females a higher rate of social-based special interests.)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Essential-D ... 0713996714



The condensed version, maybe.
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/opini ... wanted=all



VisInsita
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03 May 2012, 2:17 pm

So does that mean I have a male brain, albeit me being a female, since I’d say my interests are very similar to my male autism counterparts? Oh man, a female inserted with an extreme male brain (by Simon Baron-Cohen)…!

I personally don’t see how my “facts” about physics, tornadoes :oops: , music or so on differ from somebody else’s facts about horses, cooking or so on… The only difference is the cultural prestige automatically given to an area of life associated with males.

I think “the truth about the male and female brain” is...


just a cheap title to sell books.



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03 May 2012, 2:21 pm

qwan wrote:
lostonearth35 wrote:
While many NT women tend to put their appearance before their comfort and are slaves to "fashion", I always prefer more practical, comfortable clothing. I don't like to look like a slob or anything it's just that all I really want to wear are jeans and t-shits or tank tops and instead of a million pairs of shoes I only have sneakers and a pair of winter boots. I am not looking forward to summer because I will have to start wearing shorts and I HATE them. :evil: I also hate the way most so-called beauty products feel on my skin and it's a pain to put it on and ridiculously expensive so I seldom wear any makeup. I didn't always use to know how to relate and socialize with others so during my teens and twenties I normally would role-play with dolls and stuffed animals alone in my room. Before I was diagnosed my mother found this extremely abnormal and hated it when I would go out and buy more dolls instead of "teenage things". To me, most teenage things were evil and disgusting like cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and spray paint for vandalizing property. No, I am not a nun. :lol: It wasn't until shortly after my diagnosis and my mother found information on the internet that I learned these were all just a few traits for female aspies and until then I was a bit skeptical about my really having AS since the info we were first given by doctors was mainly about males. Go figure. :roll:

I love anime and have for years found that if I wasn't sure how to act in a social situation I'd pick an anime character and role play them so I'd just act how I presume they'd act in that situation.
I don't know if that's an aspie trait or not, but it helped me figure out which characters traits were good in some situations. I'm not sure if most kids do this or not, but it's one way of learning haha
I never liked make up as a kid but I sometimes put this powdery stuff that makes your face generally look the same colour as I have dark under my eyes like L from Death Note because I have insomnia or something. trolol, it covers that up and you don't feel it. Also it's not like it makes a huge difference. I don't use any special creams though. =/ I don't see the point, they seem too confusing anyway.


Yep, you've both read my mind. I have like two pairs of shoes and three pairs of jeans and about fifteen t-shirts my family bought me so they could tell if my clothes were getting washed or not. :lol: It doesn't matter either way, though, because the dog hair never comes off. The only "beauty" product I own is some lotion from the dollar store because my hands get really dried out from me washing them obsessively.

Anyway, I have a big stuffed dog in my room that's about ten years old now that I sort of roleplay with (conversations, advice, etc.). Sadly, there have been large spans of times where it has been my own real friend. But that never mattered because he was always there no matter what. I hate to think about what's going to have to happen soon, since he's incredibly dirty and he's way too big to put through the washing machine. :cry:

I'm interested to see where this topic goes. I might have to do some research on it since I'm just sitting around in a university library anyway.


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03 May 2012, 2:44 pm

VisInsita wrote:
So does that mean I have a male brain, albeit me being a female, since I’d say my interests are very similar to my male autism counterparts? Oh man, a female inserted with an extreme male brain (by Simon Baron-Cohen)…!

I personally don’t see how my “facts” about physics, tornadoes :oops: , music or so on differ from somebody else’s facts about horses, cooking or so on… The only difference is the cultural prestige automatically given to an area of life associated with males.

I think “the truth about the male and female brain” is...


just a cheap title to sell books.


As a guy who has profound special interests in psychology (and its related fields) and the arts and who gets along better with women, I wouldn't stress about it. =P It's more than a marketing tool, but not much more than a statistical analysis.