Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects around 1 in 70 people in Australia, with a significant portion remaining undiagnosed, particularly among girls. Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by challenges in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviours. However, autism often presents differently in girls compared to boys, leading to delays or missed diagnoses

Want to know more about Girls and Autism?

Educational, Family and Personal Perspectives 

Drawing on the latest research findings, chapters consider why girls have historically been overlooked by traditional diagnostic approaches, identifying behaviours that may be particular to girls, and exploring the ‘camouflaging’ that can make the diagnosis of autistic girls more difficult.

Why is Autism Different for Girls?

Recent research, including studies, indicates that traditional diagnostic tools may be skewed towards male behaviour patterns, causing many autistic girls to go undiagnosed. Girls with autism often exhibit subtler symptoms, which can be misinterpreted or overlooked. 

Key Differences in Symptoms for Girls: 

  • Social Camouflage: Girls may be better at mimicking social behaviours, masking their difficulties. 
  • Interests: Girls’ special interests might align more closely with socially accepted activities, making them less noticeable. 
  • Communication: Girls might be more verbal and have better eye contact, masking their challenges. 
  • Emotional Expression: Girls often show a higher degree of emotional expressiveness, which can obscure underlying difficulties. 

These differences underscore the need for more nuanced diagnostic tools and awareness to ensure that girls receive the support they need. 

Want to know more about The ASD Girls’ Wellbeing Toolkit?

An Evidence-Based Intervention Promoting Mental, Physical & Emotional Health

There has been a recent increase in awareness of the need for timely and appropriate diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in girls and young women. Without such a diagnosis and the relevant support systems being put in place, young women are at high risk of developing mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders.

Why Early Diagnosis of Autism in Girls is Crucial

Early intervention is crucial as it significantly enhances developmental outcomes, making therapeutic and educational efforts more effective when started early. Understanding a child’s unique needs ensures they receive the right support in school and social settings, fostering better emotional and social development. Since girls often present autism differently than boys, there’s a potential for misdiagnosis. An early diagnosis helps avoid misinterpretation and ensures accurate support. It equips families with the knowledge and resources to reduce stress and uncertainty. Additionally, early support contributes to better long-term outcomes in education, employment, and independence.

Receiving an autism diagnosis marks the beginning of a journey towards tailored support and intervention. Families may work with a team of professionals, including therapists, educators, and medical providers, to develop an individualised plan for the child

Securing appropriate services and interventions can be challenging, especially in underserved areas. Families often face societal misconceptions and stigma about autism. Navigating the availability and affordability of resources and therapies is another significant hurdle. Ensuring the child receives adequate support tailored to their educational needs is crucial. Additionally, managing the emotional and psychological stress on both the child and their family can be demanding.

Addressing the challenges faced on the autism diagnosis journey requires a multifaceted approach. Families can benefit from support systems, including programs such as those provided by the NDIS, Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) and Early Childhood Intervention Services and Supports

A notable collaboration is with the Autism Cooperative Research Centre (Autism CRC), which has developed the National Guideline for supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia. This guideline offers clear and consistent recommendations and practice points for practitioners, ensuring support is effective, safe, and desirable. 

Want to know more about The Autism Resource Manual for Families?

Practical Strategies for Parents and Family Support Professionals

The resource covers a wide range of situations and offers an array of supports, with key topics ranging from anxiety, behaviour, and communication, to socialising, family life, and moving towards independence.

By ensuring access to providers who adhere to best practices in early childhood support, families can navigate the complexities of autism more effectively. This holistic approach ensures better long-term outcomes for autistic children, fostering their development and integration into society.

Get Involved 

Recognising the unique presentation of autism in girls is crucial for timely and accurate diagnosis. The Brainary is committed to providing the necessary resources and support to educators, therapists, and families to help every child thrive. Our variety of resources to support autistic individuals, in their learning and development range from sensory tools and communication aids to specialised educational materials. We have tools and materials designed to cater to diverse needs, providing practical assistance and fostering an inclusive environment

Get in touch by calling us on 03 5229 2260 or send us an email at