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Understanding Autism in Girls

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects individuals in unique ways, and for a long time, it was widely considered a predominantly male phenomenon. However, recent insights and awareness initiatives have shed light on the prevalence of autism in girls.


Recognising the Signs:

Traditionally, autism in girls has often been overlooked or misdiagnosed due to the perception that the condition predominantly affects boys. The signs of autism in girls may manifest differently, and they may mask their behaviours to fit societal expectations, making it challenging to identify the condition.


1.     Social Camouflage

Girls with autism often exhibit strong social camouflaging skills, also known as masking. This ability to mimic social behaviours can result in delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, as their difficulties in social interactions may not be immediately apparent.


2.     Sensory Sensitivities

Sensory sensitivities are common among individuals with autism, and girls may experience these sensitivities differently. Common sensory sensitivities are to sounds and touch - for example, clothing tags, socks or even deodorant.


3.     Interests and Specialisations

Girls with autism may develop intense interests or specialisations, akin to their male counterparts. Girls with autism may have a special interest in animals, music, art, literature and/or have a strong imagination (prone to escape into the worlds of nature, mythology or fiction). Recognising and encouraging these interests can serve as a valuable avenue for skill development and self-expression.


4.     Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation can pose unique challenges for girls with autism. A common characteristic of girls with autism is an ability to hold their emotions in check at school but are prone to meltdowns or explosive behaviour at home. Navigating emotions and understanding social cues may require additional support, emphasising the importance of fostering emotional intelligence in these individuals.


Due to the differences in how autism presents in girls, there is a significant gap in diagnosis rates. Increased awareness and education are crucial to closing this gap and ensuring that girls with autism receive the support and understanding they need. Early intervention is key to providing effective support for girls with autism. Creating a supportive and inclusive environment at home and in educational settings can significantly impact their developmental trajectory.


Understanding and recognising the unique manifestations of autism in girls is essential for fostering a more inclusive and supportive society. By dispelling stereotypes and increasing awareness, we can ensure that girls with autism receive timely and appropriate interventions, allowing them to thrive and contribute their unique perspectives to the diverse tapestry of human experiences.


Contact us at (03) 5996 6006, or to see how DyslexAbility can best support you and your family.



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