Thursday, December 29, 2016

Healthy Habits: The Autism Spectrum - Are We Missing the Females

Dr. Janet Lintala, Author of "The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child" is available for interviews.
Dr. Lintala's Full Article can be found here (excerpts are below) -
Why are we missing the females?
It starts at the doctor's office. Autism parents report that doctors are more dismissive when they ask if their daughters could be autistic. Instead of screening them for autism spectrum conditions, doctors may offer other diagnoses such as ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive disorder, or even eating disorders.The females just don't seem to match the description of autism. It may be because girls have commonly been excluded from autism studies, and some researchers feel there may be a bias in the diagnostic criteria.
How are girls different? The brains of autistic girls are different from those of autistic boys:
  • Better imagination
  • Better linguistic abilities
  • Less overall social impairment, more on the level of typically developing boys of the same age
  • Better social imitation skills
  • Increased desire to be more social with others and connect
  • Fewer repetitive behaviors such as lining up, stacking and sorting
  • Areas of over focus are more socially acceptable, for example, their interests are often in nature or animals, literature, fashion, make-up. (It's the intensity of the focus that is different)
  • Can be hypersensitive and emotional in childhood
  • Superior fine motor skills
  • Quieter and less disruptive in school, fly under the radar
  • Common myths
I've been an autism mom over 20 years, and I've heard both of these myths throughout that time:
Autism myth #1:   Autism is far less common in girls
 Boys are typically thought to outnumber girls on the spectrum by 4 or 5 to 1, and even 8 to 1 on the higher functioning end of the spectrum. If gender-based diagnostic criteria are developed, the actual ratio may be closer to 2 to 1.
Autism myth #2:   Autism is more severe in girls.
Or is it just because our diagnostic criteria find the peacock girls, the ones who present more like boys?
Why should we screen differently?
Even subtle difficulties on the autism spectrum can have a significant impact on life, success, and happiness. Girls and adult females should be able to blossom and have a better life on the autism spectrum. Gender-based screening and diagnosis for autism spectrum conditions is an idea whose time has come.
Dr. Janet Lintala is the Author "The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child" and the Founder of Autism Health, Pllc. ( Janet is also the mother of three boys with a variety of issues such as Asperger syndrome, Tourette disorder, OCD, anxiety and ADHD.  Janet has a B.S. in Genetics, and graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic, Salutatorian, summa cum laude, from The National University of Health Sciences. She completed two Mentorships at the RIMLAND Center under Dr. Elizabeth Mumper, M.D., the former Medical Director of The Autism Research Institute.
Link to Janet's book:

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