Girls with autism and finding autism in girls is less likely than young boys. There are different signs of autism in girls than boys, along with different problems in girls that have autism that boys. Raising girls with autism and boys with autism will require somewhat of a different plan.
Over the past decade, the number of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders has increased dramatically. Studies have show that autism is four times more common in boys than it is in girls. While nobody understands the reason for this gender difference, one thing is for sure: girls who have autism do have some unique challenges that they must face.
Girls With Autism Facing The Expected Social Norms
One of the biggest issues that autistic girls are faced with is the idea that they are supposed to be nurturing, intuitive and empathetic. However, girls who have autism do not act this way.
Unfortunately, this is a difference that can be very difficult for autistic girls to face, especially whenever they are teenagers. Of course, there are some girls who are only mildly autistic because of their biological programming, which will help them in this area.
Nevertheless, all autistic children are less aware of the impact that their behavior has on others. This can be witnessed in the fact that typically developing girls with autism are usually hyper-aware of even the smallest social misstep and can be very adept at subtly ostracizing or ridiculing the transgressor. For this reason, girls that have autism are usually at a disadvantage here as well.
Hygiene Hurdles In Girls That Have Autism
Puberty is naturally challenging in and of itself. This is especially true for girls who must undergo more grooming. However, due to sensory sensitivities girls may be less attentive to the need to take more baths, shave body hair, wear deodorant and practice good skin care.
Crushes and Autism In Girls
Adolescent crushes can also be problematic. While typical adolescents don’t want to reveal their feelings, autistic teens tend not to understand that romantic feelings are embarrassing. So, while girls are expected to be subtle with their romantic interests, autistic girls have a hard time understanding this subtlety. Most typical boys react very badly to this because of how embarrassing it can be and how much teasing it can bring with it.
Autism In Teenage Girls Fashion Hurdles
Adolescence is a time when children become quite aware of group behavior and norms. Therefore, fads and fashion take on great importance. This means that wearing the “right” fashions signals their awareness of group norms.
However, autistic girls tend to be behind in this area because their sensory and attention deficits don’t allow them to shift to trend awareness as quickly as their peers do. For instance, while most girls will get their ears pierced whenever they are around 10 or 11-years-old, autistic girls have difficulty getting past the pain to see why this is considered “cool.”
It Only Takes One Friend For Autism Girls
Researchers do agree that there is a big need for more research to be done in regard to the challenges and strengths of autistic girls. However, the one thing that they do agree on is that autistic girls can greatly benefit from peer support and relationships with other autistic girls.
It only takes one friend for them to be able to experience the joys of a real friendship. This has to be a person who shares their interests, however offbeat they might be; thinks that they are funny and wonderful and worth spending time with. Such a friend can make all the difference in what these girls want and expect in their lives.
In Conclusion To Raising Girls With Autism
The small amount of research that actually exists in this regard indicates that autistic girls are especially at risk for depression and anxiety-related disorders later on in life. This is why it is so important to investing in programs that help to build their social skills and awareness. Of course it is also important to foster real friendships and relationships for these girls. Doing so will make a huge difference in how successful they are in their lives.