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How common is autism in girls?

Autistic traits present very differently in girls and women on the spectrum than in boys and men. It is true that statistically, diagnostic rates are higher in males than females. There’s no agreed consensus among experts as to why this is, but there many different theories. Some include:

  1. Girls and women are thought to be more observant of others and self-aware and therefore can mask their difficulties better.
  2. The original diagnostic criteria for autism was largely developed around boys living with the condition. This has endured throughout revisions of the criteria as time has went on and many of autism’s main traits are associated with masculine behaviours and norms.
  3. Autistic traits in girls are under-reported by professionals in education and healthcare.