IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 1315: The Diagnosis and Management of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Adult Females in the Presence or Absence of an Intellectual Disability (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
We review the reasons for the greater male predominance in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in the non-intellectual disabled population and compare it to autism diagnosed in intellectually disabled individuals. Accurate and timely diagnosis is important, as it reduces health inequalities. Females often present later for the diagnosis. The differences are in core features, such as in social reciprocal interaction through ‘camouflaging’ and restricted repetitive behaviours, that are less noticeable in females and are potentially explained by the biological differences (female protective effect theory) and/or differences in presentation between the two sexes (female autism phenotype theory). Females more often present with internalising co-occurring conditions than males. We review these theories, highlighting the key differences and the impact of a diagnosis on females. We review methods to potentially improve diagnosis in females along with current and future management strategies.