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The presentation, recognition and diagnosis of autism in women and girls

Bethany Driver (Psychology department, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK)
Verity Chester (Psychiatry department, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Trust, Norwich, UK)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 11 March 2021

Issue publication date: 11 August 2021

1964

Abstract

Purpose

Autistic women and girls have received comparatively less attention within clinical practice and research. Research suggests women tend to be diagnosed later than men, and are more likely to experience misdiagnosis.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper aims to report a narrative literature review that examines research on the presentation, recognition, and diagnosis of autistic women and girls.

Findings

Findings suggest that autistic females present differently to males and highlight low recognition of the female presentation of autism among the general public, in social spheres, educational, clinical and forensic settings. This lack of recognition appears to affect the likelihood of females being referred for diagnosis, the reliability of diagnostic assessments and subsequent access to support.

Originality/value

Recommendations for clinical practice focus on initiatives to increase awareness of the female presentation of autism, improving the diagnostic process for females, increasing female representation within autism training and for future research to support these goals.

Keywords

Citation

Driver, B. and Chester, V. (2021), "The presentation, recognition and diagnosis of autism in women and girls", Advances in Autism, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 194-207. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-12-2019-0050

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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