Needs of boys and girls with autism may vary, say researchers

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that one in 50 American children may fall somewhere on the autism disorder spectrum – an increase from the previous estimate of one in 88 births. Awareness about the symptoms of this condition – which can present itself so differently from person to person – has increased in recent years, but there may be a section of this population that has been overlooked, according to researchers.

Geraldine Dawson of the advocacy group Autism Speaks recently spoke to HealthDay News about a potential oversight in studies regarding nutrition for autistic children and other treatment methods. Autism is notably more prevalent among boys than girls, and, as a result, Dawson argues that most research has focused on male symptoms.

“Because of this difference in incidence, researchers may end up with a small number of girls in studies,” Dawson told the news outlet. “Other neuropsychiatric disorders have already made the discovery that symptoms can be different in girls and may require different treatments for girls.”

According to the news outlet, a new study conducted at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta revealed subtle but distinct difference in the relationship between eye contact and movement and overall social disability.

This research has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, so the source notes that the conclusions must be further verified. But, it does indicated a potential breakthrough in how autism is approached and ultimately treated in terms of nutrition, therapy and medication.

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