"It seems that there are more boys than girls with Aspergers. Is this true? If so, what accounts for the difference?"
Interestingly, different research studies list the ratio of males to females with Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) as being anywhere from 4-10 to 1. That is, some research suggests that for every 4 males, there is 1 female. Other studies suggest that the male population is much higher (8-10) relative to females. Obviously, much research is needed in this area.
As there is no known specific cause of Aspergers as yet, doctors don’t know why there seems to be such a diagnostic difference between boys and girls. A couple things could account for this difference:
- There could be a hereditary or structural difference in boys that account for such a difference. There are other disorders associated mostly with boys, such as hemophilia, that have been found to be related to the genetic basis of the disease.
- There could be a difference in the way society and doctors diagnose Aspergers in boys and girls. The behavioral expectations between boys and girls are such that boys are less likely than girls to be “diagnosed” with shyness and could instead be diagnosed with Aspergers. Because the symptoms of Aspergers aren’t as readily diagnosable as some diseases, mistakes in diagnosis are possible.
As a side note, there have been several recent studies linking Aspergers in adults with gender identity disorder (i.e., a disorder where an individual feels like they are actually a member of the opposite gender they appear to be).
Much more research is currently underway to look for the causes of Aspergers and possible solutions to managing the condition.