Researchers have found differences in autism behaviors in boys and girls. Many of the repetitive behaviors that are common in autism are not seen as often in girls as with boys. There are also differences that show up in parts of the brain between girls and boys who do exhibit those behaviors.
“Our findings suggest a potential factor that may contribute to the relatively low proportion of females with autism,” said Kaustubh Supekar, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
According to Supekar, the most noticeable characteristics of autism are repetitive and restrictive behaviors. These are often the behaviors that lead to evaluation.
“Our findings raise the possibility that girls with less prominent repetitive and restrictive behaviors may miss being tested for autism or get misclassified as social communication disorder,” Supekar said.
“On the other hand, boys with more pronounced repetitive and restrictive behaviors may show more false positives for autism spectrum disorders, given that repetitive and restricted behaviors are not specific to children with autism and are also observed in other neurodevelopmental disorders,” Supekar added.