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J Autism Dev Disord. 2017 Jan;47(1):126-134. doi: 10.1007/s10803-016-2945-8.

Parent-Endorsed Sex Differences in Toddlers with and Without ASD: Utilizing the M-CHAT.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, PB 6050, N-9037, Tromsø, Norway. roald.a.oien@uit.no.
2
Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA. roald.a.oien@uit.no.
3
Department of Psychology, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, PB 6050, N-9037, Tromsø, Norway.
4
Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
5
Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.
6
Center for Autism Research, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
7
Department of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Abstract

Sex differences in typical development can provide context for understanding ASD. Baron-Cohen (Trends Cogn Sci 6(6):248-254, 2002) suggested ASD could be considered an extreme expression of normal male, compared to female, phenotypic profiles. In this paper, sex-specific M-CHAT scores from N = 53,728 18-month-old toddlers, including n = 185 (32 females) with ASD, were examined. Results suggest a nuanced view of the "extreme male brain theory of autism". At an item level, almost every male versus female disadvantage in the broader population was consistent with M-CHAT vulnerabilities in ASD. However, controlling for total M-CHAT failures, this male disadvantage was more equivocal and many classically ASD-associated features were found more common in non-ASD. Within ASD, females showed relative strengths in joint attention, but impairments in imitation.

KEYWORDS:

Autistic traits; Behavior; Gender differences; Identification; Sex differences; m-Chat

PMID:
27757737
PMCID:
PMC5222910
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-016-2945-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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