Overlooking Autism

Dr. Debra Soh has the details

There is a well-documented link between gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder, and a new study published in the academic journal Pediatrics offers evidence for it. 

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by difficulties in social communication and emotion processing, as well as restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. The latest paper incorporated an extremely large sample, consisting of over 919,000 adolescents between the ages of 9 and 18. It found that youth diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder were more likely to receive a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and that this is particularly true among girls.

Why is there such an overlap between the two conditions and especially among female adolescents? 

First, autism is associated with masculinization of the brain, so it makes sense why girls with autism would lean toward being more male-typical.

Second, one of autism’s hallmark characteristics is a lack of conformity to social norms. As a result, those with autism tend to be more comfortable expressing gender nonconformity in their activities and outward appearance. This, in combination with other well-known symptoms, including rigidity and black-and-white thinking, can lead some to believe that if they have gender-atypical interests, they actually are the opposite sex or not their birth sex.

Source: Washington Examiner