Asperger’s Syndrome, like other autism spectrum disorders, is something that we still have a lot to learn about. One thing that seems to be true is that the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome in girls may look a bit different than how it tends to appear in boys.
It has been said that Asperger’s Syndrome is a “high-functioning” form of autism. It is still part of what has been called “the autism spectrum” or an autism spectrum disorder. There seem to be more boys diagnosed with autism than girls, but I don’t know what the reason for that is. There is potential, however, that the reason has something to do with new observations that indicate that Asperger’s Syndrome can look somewhat different in girls than it does in boys.
According to WebMD, some signs of Asperger’s Syndrome include: an inability to pick up “social cues”, (such as body language, facial expression, or tone of voice), a strong dislike to changes in an established routine, a tendency to avoid eye contact, (or to stare at people), an intense focus on one subject, (that the person has become an expert on). It may also include a heightened sensitivity to loud sounds, lights, textures, tastes, or smells.
Some of these signs may be more obvious in boys than in girls. For example, if a boy, or a male teen, frequently spends hours trying to tell the other kids in his class about every, tiny, intricate, detail about the many varieties of trains, it is likely that the teacher will notice. Parents probably will notice that their son not only knows more about trains than a typical kid his age, but also that he lacks the ability to know when to stop talking about them.
However, girls with Asperger’s Syndrome might have a “focus” on a subject that is considered to be an interest that is common to healthy females. When a girl spends a lot of time talking about dolls, for example, parents and teachers are much less likely to see this as a sign of anything (including autism). This tends to remain true when the girl has reached an age where her peers are no longer as interested in dolls.
Another difference with girls that have Asperger’s Syndrome has to do with social interactions. Girls that do not “fit in” with their peers are often the target of torment by those peers.
Teachers and parents might not notice this when it happens, because girls tend to be really stealthy and quiet when they are bullying another girl. The girl who has Asperger’s Syndrome might not be entirely aware that she is being teased, or bullied, until things escalate to dangerous levels. Therefore, she isn’t likely to report that she is being bullied by other girls at school. It goes unnoticed.
There is a new book that was written by Rudy Simone. She is an author who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and her book is called “Aspergirls”. I think this could be a good resource for parents of teenage girls who think their teen may have Asperger’s Syndrome.
Image by normanack on Flickr