Aspergers, an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by compulsive pursuits, awkward communication skills, and problems with social cues, is more often identified in males than females.
The signs and symptoms of Aspergers (high-functioning autism) in females are often exhibited in a more subtle manner, which leads to missed or incorrect professional diagnoses, a lack of access to special education services and provisions in education, along with an increased potential for interpersonal and psychological difficulties in the adult years. A number of unique differences exist regarding the ways that young ladies versus males with Aspergers behave.
Females that have Aspergers aren't usually aggressive once they get irritated; instead, they tend to be withdrawn and may very easily "fly under the radar" in classrooms and other interpersonal situations. Female kids with this high-functioning autism spectrum disorder can also communicate their feelings in a more calm way than their male counterparts. Aspergers females tend to be safeguarded and nurtured by their neurotypical friends, who assist them to deal with challenging interpersonal situations. Acceptance from friends can occasionally cover up the problems these girls have so they aren't recognized by educators and moms and dads. Consequently, grown-ups are not as likely to suggest psychological and social evaluations for females that have Aspergers.
There are specific personality characteristics and warning signs that moms and dads, educators, and specialists can search for when they believe that the young female may have Aspergers. Females with the disorder often exhibit compulsive traits regarding animals, dolls, and other female-oriented pursuits. While neurotypical females will play with dolls by pretending that they're interacting socially, Aspergers females might collect dolls and never use them to interact socially with other females. Their passion for certain subject matter can result in them lagging behind their friends in terms of maturation and age-appropriate conduct: for instance, a pre-teen with Aspergers might be captivated by stuffed animals or cartoons long after other females their age have outgrown this stuff.
Females that have Aspergers might be incorrectly assumed to possess a character disorder simply because they imitate typical kids but use phrases inappropriately. They are usually bored with individuals their age and possess problems empathizing with their friends' concerns/problems. While their behaviors tend to be more unaggressive than those typical of males with Aspergers, grown-ups who pay close attention to females with social and psychological delays can make sure that correct diagnosis and therapy will take place. The younger a female is when she starts to receive the appropriate speech, occupational, and psychological services for Aspergers kids, the greater likelihood she'll have of living a completely independent and functional adult life. Just like other autism spectrum disorders, Aspergers syndrome in females is most effectively addressed via constant professional support.
Females with Aspergers have the same difficulties with sensory processing and social navigation as males. In addition, girls have telltale intense focus on a particular subject of interest. Symptoms of Aspergers in females include:
o Appears anxious when there are changes in routine
o Intense focus on a particular subject
o Practices rituals that appear to have no function
o Resists change
o Difficulty coordinating movements
o Odd posturing
o Repetitive movements (stims)
o Dislikes textures in foods, clothes or objects
o No response or extreme response to noises
o Resists activities that involve movement (slides, escalators…)
o Seeks out sensory experiences (spinning, rocking…)
o Strong aversion to certain smells
o "Scripts" daily conversations
o Appears excessively shy
o Appears uncomfortable during conversation
o Avoids interacting with others
o Hesitant to make the first move
o Tends to "blend" into the crowd
o Tends to mimic rather than providing natural responses
It's not uncommon for females with Aspergers to go undiagnosed well into adulthood. Like heart disease, Aspergers is 10 times more prevalent in boys, so doctors often don't think to look for it in girls. But some experts have begun to suspect that unlike heart disease, Aspergers manifests differently, less obviously in females, and that factor is also causing them to slip through the diagnostic cracks. This gender gap may have implications for the health and well-being of Aspergers females, and some specialists predict that as we diagnose more females, our profile of the disorder as a whole will change. Unlike males, Aspergers females seem to have less motor impairment, a broader range of obsessive interests, and a stronger desire to connect with others, despite their social impairment.
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook