Autism: Is there a difference between boys and girls?

Autism: Is there a difference between boys and girls?

Posted on 26/03/18  |  Posted in Main News

Teaching Force are always looking to develop and gain further understanding of our clients and their needs.

As Teaching Force’s SEN Consultant, with his previous role as a Primary Teacher, Edward Mawson has gained a lot of knowledge about Autism. However, as research becomes better and more accessible and with National Autism Week coming up, Ed decided to take a look at the great research that is out there and to share it.

He says 'As most people are aware, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a range of conditions that affect a person’s behaviour, communication, and social interaction. While many people may have their own pre-conceptions about how a person with Autism might act or look, the truth is that ASD can manifest in a wide variety of behaviours. During the course of our research, we discovered that there are often differences between the diagnosis, behaviours, and attitudes towards ASD in girls and boys. 

In my seven years’ experience as a Primary school teacher I rarely came across girls with Autism. I do recall one girl with a diagnosis of Autism, but I do remember several boys who were diagnosed with ASD.

The articles I have found has led me to consider whether there were girls I taught who were on the ASD spectrum who had simply not been diagnosed. At the Primary school age, girls with ASD are often more social than boys on the spectrum. Young girls with Autism may become part of a symbiotic friendship pairing with a more dominant girl, who they then rely on for social interaction and acceptance. This can contribute to the condition going undiagnosed until later in the girl’s life, the stress of which can in turn lead to mental health problems.' 

There are some very interesting articles on the subject which are listed below along with the source and are worth a look:


Boys with autism tend to have very repetitive and limited areas of play. Girls with autism are less repetitive and have broader areas of play

Differences in Diagnosing Autism in Girls & Boys - Very Well Health

According to a National Autistic Society survey from 2012, 50% of boys with an ASD were diagnosed by the age of 11 compared to just 20% of girls.

Autism Spectrum Disorder - Is it different for Girls? teachwire


It is fairly common for girls with autism to appear socially competent as youngsters because they are "taken under the wings" of other girls who enjoy mentoring their peers. These mentors often fade out of the picture as they enter adolescence and find other interests or groups of friends

Differences in Diagnosing Autism in Girls & Boys - Very Well Health


For girls who are still undiagnosed, the stress often manifests itself in self-harming or an eating disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder - Is it different for Girls? teachwire

In 2015, the ratio of men to women supported by The National Autistic Society’s adult services was approximately 3:1

Gender and autism, The National Autistic Society

'The research I have undertaken has taught me even more about ASD, and I am sure that there is still plenty to learn. I am already thinking about how I can further support the fantastic people who work for me in SEN schools to provide the consistency and continuity that anyone, whether male or female, requires to engage in the education that we all deserve.'

For further information on recruiting or working in this area contact Ed on 0115 9111616 or email


News Archive

News Categories