Why Is It Difficult To Screen For ASD Diagnosis In Girls?
by Ashley Lengyel
On 22 August, 2023
On the face of it it seems that more boys than girls are diagnosed with ASD. The obvious assumption is that more boys are on the spectrum. This however may not be the truth. Many a times, ASD in girls manifests itself differently from the recognized signs of ASD behavior, so a diagnosis doesn’t happen correctly.
Repetitive behavior like flapping is a sign that doctors look out for and this may not be case with girls. Plus, they could be quieter by nature. Girls on the spectrum may be better at managing their behavior in public places. They could have learned at a young age to smile or make eye contact. Making friends could of more interest to them than with boys. This is known as “masking” and may point to a refined version of ASD that is overlooked by medical professionals. Girls often get diagnosed with ADHD instead, as ASD and ADHD often looks similar on the surface. It is however to be noted that Girls with ASD can hyper-focus on a particular issue and not be as active in school as they should be. Medical professionals need to focus on this aspect during screening & diagnosis.
Without an early diagnosis, girls lose out on holistic professional support that can assist in comprehending their issues, build skills and enable them to thrive in life. Exhaustion from trying hard to fit in or being socially harassed as they overlook social cues can take place. The result could be depression, anxiety, or even low self-esteem. It is therefore essential that a thorough screening followed by diagnosis is important to ensure that the girls are given a fair chance at life.