Girls with autism display less repetitive and restricted behavior than boys do, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The study also found that brain differences between boys and girls with autism help explain this discrepancy.
The study, published online Sept. 3 in Molecular Autism, gives the best evidence to date that boys and girls exhibit the developmental disorder differently.
“We wanted to know which specific clinical manifestations of autism show significant gender differences, and whether patterns in the brain’s gray matter could explain behavioral differences,” said the study’s senior author, Vinod Menon, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Knowledge of the difference could help clinicians better recognize and treat autism in both sexes, he added. “Understanding this is really quite crucial clinically.”