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J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 May;48(5):1698-1711. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3413-9.

What About the Girls? Sex-Based Differences in Autistic Traits and Adaptive Skills.

Author information

1
Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Center for Neuroscience Research, Children's Research Institute, Children's National Health System, The George Washington University School of Medicine, 15245 Shady Grove Rd., Suite 350, Rockville, MD, 20850, USA. aratto@childrensnational.org.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA. aratto@childrensnational.org.
3
Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Center for Neuroscience Research, Children's Research Institute, Children's National Health System, The George Washington University School of Medicine, 15245 Shady Grove Rd., Suite 350, Rockville, MD, 20850, USA.
4
Center for Autism Research, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2716 South Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine - University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.
6
Autistic Self Advocacy Network, PO Box 66122, Washington, DC, 20035, USA.
7
Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 3110 Prices Fork Rd., Blacksburg, VA, 24060, USA.
8
Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, The George Washington University, 2115 G St NW, Washington, DC, 20052, USA.
9
Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine - University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.
10
Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 827 Linden Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21201, USA.
11
Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health, Magnuson Clinical Center, Room 4C104, MSC 1366, Bethesda, MD, 20814, USA.
12
Pediatric Mental Health Institute, Children's Hospital of Colorado, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 13123 East 16th Avenue, A036/B130, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA.

Abstract

There is growing evidence of a camouflaging effect among females with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), particularly among those without intellectual disability, which may affect performance on gold-standard diagnostic measures. This study utilized an age- and IQ-matched sample of school-aged youth (n = 228) diagnosed with ASD to assess sex differences on the ADOS and ADI-R, parent-reported autistic traits, and adaptive skills. Although females and males were rated similarly on gold-standard diagnostic measures overall, females with higher IQs were less likely to meet criteria on the ADI-R. Females were also found to be significantly more impaired on parent reported autistic traits and adaptive skills. Overall, the findings suggest that some autistic females may be missed by current diagnostic procedures.

KEYWORDS:

Adaptive skills; Autism spectrum disorder; Diagnosis; Sex differences

PMID:
29204929
PMCID:
PMC5925757
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-017-3413-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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