Autism: Male v Female statistics…correct or not?

A very dear friend of mine sent me the link to this article about autistic girls over the weekend and very interesting it is too!  https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/real-life/girls-autism-diagnosis-research/

It set me thinking, with several autistic girls I have to say that it was definitely easier to spot in Osborn (my son) than it was in the girls.  I remember Lorie’s teacher in year 2 telling me once that she had observed Lorie watching how everyone in the class reacted and then copying them a split second later.  She felt it was absolutely brilliant and enabled Lorie to look as though she fitted in a lot better than the actual reality.  It was brilliant, but it didn’t make her life any easier, it was just exhausting trying to be like everyone else and she has always struggled with depression and anxiety.

The same goes for the other girls, the problem is that they are so adept at mimicking what is regarded as being ‘normal’, moreover, they feel that they have to appear to be like the majority in order to be accepted.  This is the crux of the matter and this needs to change…urgently.

The general consensus seems to be that there are more autistic males than females but I would respectfully disagree.  I run an autism support group and in my experience over the years (and in meeting many autistic people outside of the group), is that the split is very definitely pretty much 50/50.

Recently, some new research suggesting that autism could be diagnosed through a urine and blood sample was headline news, I was asked to comment on local radio and was shocked to hear the doctor tell us that they had only tested a sample group of 38 autistic children and a control group of 31 non autistic children.  This is a ridiculously small test sample to be absolutely definitive (although when I mentioned this fact to the doctor live on air she insisted that this was a large study in research terms!), I was even more shocked though to hear that the gender split in the subjects tested was 29 male and 9 female in the autistic group and 23 male and 8 female in the non autistic group!

I was gobsmacked!  How can professionals, learned people with huge numbers of letters after their name be so narrow sighted?  The generally perceived gender bias towards males being more likely to be autistic is because of the ability of girls to mask their autism so effectively.  If the people in charge of the research believe in the myth that far more boys than girls are on the spectrum I don’t feel there’s much hope for future research to be more accurate until our professionals become more enlightened.

I hope it won’t take many more years before autistic girls gain the recognition they need, and therefore, the same support that boys tend to get at an earlier age.  It really can’t happen soon enough.

Film ‘Kingdom of Us’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc8_spETMBY&t=13s

Book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unravelled-inspirational-story-journey-darkness-ebook/dp/B00L1ENC0O/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1520080087&sr=8-1

TED Talk:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xts1F-PoUNA&t=19s

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