Are there gender-based variations in the presentation of Autism amongst female and male children?

J Autism Dev Disord. 2022 Jul 13. doi: 10.1007/s10803-022-05552-9. Online ahead of print.


The Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Conditions (Q-ASC; Attwood, Garnett & Rynkiewicz, 2011) is one of the few screening instruments that includes items designed to assess female-specific ASD-Level 1 traits. This study examined the ability of a modified version of the Q-ASC (Q-ASC-M; Ormond et al., 2018) to differentiate children with and without ASD-Level 1. Participants included 111 parents of autistic children and 212 parents of neurotypical children (5-12 years). Results suggested that the gendered behaviour, sensory sensitivity, compliant behaviours, imagination, and imitation subscales differentiated autistic females from neurotypical females. Compared to autistic males, autistic females had higher scores on gendered behaviour, sensory sensitivity, social masking, and imitation. Results are discussed in relation to early detection of autistic female children.

Keywords: ASD-Level 1; Autism; Camouflaging; Gender differences; Gendered behaviour; Imagination; Imitation; Social masking.