Girls Under the Umbrella of ASD: Update

The DSM-5 published and released in May 2013, may finally assist clinicians in diagnosing girls and women with ASD. According to William Mandy, this idea of a distinct female presentation is often voiced by women with autism, parents and clinicians and has finally started to receive empirical support. Reflecting this, the DSM-5 includes a brief subsection on 'Gender-related diagnostic issues' that says: In clinic samples females tend to be more likely to show accompanying intellectual disability, which suggests that girls without accompanying intellectual disability or language delays may go unrecognized, perhaps because of subtler manifestation of social and communication difficulties. In this sense, the architects of the DSM-5 have laid down a challenge to researchers: Provide an account of the female phenotype, so that clinicians can learn to better identify, and help females on the autism spectrum. We must begin to examine the female characteristics for ASD in order to provide early intervention and improve long term outcomes.
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