Parent-reported differences between school-aged girls and boys on the autism spectrum

Rebecca Sutherland, Antoinette Hodge, Susan Bruck, Debra Costley, Helen Klieve

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


More boys than girls are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder; however, there are conflicting findings about whether they differ in their presentation. This study involved a survey of parents of school-aged children on the autism spectrum (171 parents of girls and 163 parents of boys) that was distributed via social media. The surveys provided insights regarding the characteristics of boys and girls (as perceived by parents) as well as some demographic information. There were very few differences reported regarding communication and social strengths and difficulties of boys and girls with autism. No differences were reported in the number of boys and girls on the autism spectrum with special interests or repetitive behaviours; however, significant differences were found in the types of special interests with boys and girls showing generally interests along traditional gender lines. Qualitative analysis of open comments indicated that some parents of girls on the autism spectrum described their daughter as trying to hide or mask her difficulties more but no parents of boys on the spectrum described this phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785–794
Number of pages10
JournalAutism: the international journal of research and practice
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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