Repetitive behaviors in autism show sex bias early in life
Girls with autism have slightly less severe restricted and repetitive behaviorsthan do boys on the spectrum, according to one of the largest studies of sex differences in children with the condition1.
The difference is small and is seen only in children aged 5 and younger. Boys and girls older than 5 have repetitive behaviors of comparable severity, and children of all ages show similar social communication skills.
About four times as many boys as girls are diagnosed with autism. As a result, there is little information about how the condition might present in girls.
The new study is based on 2,684 people with autism from nine countries in Europe. It confirms the results of smaller studies — and of one large study of people with autism in the United States2. These studies also found that girls with autism are less likely to have restricted interests than are boys on the spectrum.