Consistently recognizing autism in girls can be challenging, however. This is not only because girls with autism are as diverse as any other group of individuals with the disorder, but also because most autism screening and diagnostic tools were developed based primarily on observations of behaviors in boys.
As a result, we may still be missing girls whose symptoms do not match the prototypical boy presentation. These challenges in recognition may also help to explain why many parents say clinicians initially dismiss their concerns about autism in their daughters.
Some researchers theorize that girls are better than boys at camouflaging their symptoms, particularly during highly structured interactions such as a clinic visit. For instance, a colleague of mine described girls with autism as "caricatures" in social interactions. These girls may be motivated to interact, but their behaviors seem exaggerated.
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