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S., was thought to be at least four times more common in boys than in girls.
Experts also believed that girls with autism were, on average, more seriously affected—with more severe symptoms, such as intellectual disability.
Kenneth, Pelphrey jokes, has classic “middle-child syndrome” and complains that his siblings “get away with murder because they can blame it on their autism.” Pelphrey is now leading a collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Washington to conduct a major study of girls and women with autism, which will follow participants over the course of childhood through early adulthood.
They found that if boys and girls had a similar level of such traits, the girls needed to have either more behavioral problems or significant intellectual disability, or both, to be diagnosed.
These criteria, Pelphrey and other researchers believe, may be missing many girls and adult women because their symptoms look different.
Historically the disorder, now estimated to affect one out of every 68 children in the U.
And a 2013 study showed that, like Frances, girls typically receive their autism diagnoses later than boys do.
Pelphrey is among a growing group of researchers who want to understand what biological sex and gender roles can teach us about autism—and vice versa.