Autism spectrum disorder was formerly known as a condition that primarily affects boys. Unfortunately, most diagnostic criteria and research on the condition fit autism in males.
Contrary to popular belief, autism signs and symptoms are different in males and females. As a result of this, countless girls miss early diagnosis and only find help later in adulthood simply because they experience different symptoms.
For example, while autism diagnostics dictate that those on the spectrum are not at all social, girls with autism can be exceptionally social. This small factor often leaves autistic girls undiagnosed despite enduring the diagnostic process.
If you think your child is autistic, it’s best to visit the Action Behavior Center for children with autism. Nevertheless, these are the unique autistic traits and signs in girls.
Butterfly Play And Reliance On Others
While the young autistic male will play alone and seem oblivious of other children playing nearby, autistic girls are quite the opposite.
Girls will practice butterfly play, in which the child vaguely plays with various different groups of children without actually participating or bonding with the others. As a result of this, autistic girls are pretty social.
However, girls with autism will also seem relatively reliant on other children, relying on others to speak for them or assist with challenges throughout the school day.
Intense Passions But Limited Interests
One significant trait of autism in children and adults is special interests. These are regular interests, although they are typically intense, if not bordering on obsessive.
Girls with autism will have fewer interests than boys on the spectrum, although both genders will experience a similar level of intensity for their preferred topics of interest.
Girls with autism are known to mask to survive social situations. Masking refers to hiding or compensating for autistic traits by mimicking neurotypical behaviors.
Because girls are so good at masking, they often evade diagnosis until they are ready to take the mask off. However, masking also comes with some adverse effects, and as a parent, you may find it easier to pick up masking behaviors if you are aware of the social defense.
If your daughter seems vibrant and engaged in social interactions yet seems to portray a completely different and less interactive persona moments after the interaction, this might be a sign of masking.
Linguistic oddities are another unique trait that’s seen on the spectrum. Those with autism may pronounce words and phrases differently or find particular words extremely fascinating, saying them over and over, also known as echolalia.
Other signs to look for when screening your child for autism include sensory difficulties, meltdowns, stimming, self-soothing, and self-isolation.
Nevertheless, if you spot any of the relevant signs of autism, it’s essential to keep in mind that autism is not a death sentence; your child can live a fulfilling life with the help of occupational therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s important to understand that neurodiversity does not make your child any less, especially when considering that some brilliant minds in the world, such as Elon Musk, are on the spectrum.
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