When I first started my undergraduate work in speech and hearing science I learned the prevalence of autism in boys is astoundingly higher than girls. 1 in 42 boys are diagnosed with autism verses 1 in 189 girls. As I started treating home health clients my caseload resemble the statistics I had learned about. Why? As a mother of 2 boys myself, isn't having boys hard enough?!
During my research to find an acceptable answer, I have looked to personal stories and respectable voices in the autism community. I found a very good article in Spectrum News, titled "The Lost Girls". It definitely shed some light on why less girls are diagnosed. I've highlighted a few facts that I found interesting.
1. On average, girls who have mild symptoms of autism are diagnosed two years later than boys. There’s some debate about why this might be so. From the start, girls’ restricted interests seem more socially acceptable — dolls or books, perhaps, rather than train schedules — and may go unnoticed. But the fact that diagnostic tests are based on observations of boys with autism almost certainly contributes to errors and delays.
2. As they enter their teens, girls struggle to keep up with the elaborate rules of social relationships. Cribbing style notes on what to say and how to say it, many try to blend in, but at great cost to their inner selves. Starting in adolescence, they have high rates of depression and anxiety — 34 and 36 percent, respectively. A few studies have also found an intriguing overlap between autism and eating disorders such as anorexia, although the studies are too small to estimate how many women have both.
If you get a chance, read the article...very enlightening and could make all the difference to a family or friend!