What Is the Female Autism Phenotype?

Why do so many autistic girls and women fall through the diagnostic cracks?

Many autistic females are going undiagnosed until their 30s, 40s, 50s, or even later. Autistic females have some of the highest rates of suicide due to the mass failure of healthcare professionals to recognize the different ways that autism presents in girls, women, and those assigned female at birth (afab). More awareness about the female autism phenotype — or how autism presents in girls and women — is needed to protect the mental and physical health of individuals on the autism spectrum. | Photo by Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

But why are so many autistic girls and women never diagnosed or not diagnosed until late in life?

Many autistic girls and women hide their social difficulties and other autistic characteristics beginning at a very young age. In fact, the number one thing that their friends and acquaintances say upon hearing of their autism diagnosis is, “But you don’t look autistic!” According to experts, autism is not something that is obvious or can be seen. It presents in vastly different ways from person to person. | Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Key ways that autism presents differently in females (aka the female autism phenotype):

North Dakota-born science writer in British Columbia. Research communications specialist. Founder of The Other Autism: https://other-autism.com/

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