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Women and girls with autism may face greater challenges with planning, organisation and other daily living skills compared to their male counterparts, a study has found. "Our goal was to look at real world skills, not just the diagnostic behaviours we use clinically to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to understand how people are actually doing in their daily lives," said Allison Ratto, psychologist at the Children's National Health System in the US. Researchers noted that when parents were asked to rate a child's day-to-day functioning, it turned out that girls were struggling more with these independence skills. This was surprising because in general, girls with ASD have better social and communication skills during direct assessments, researchers said. "The natural assumption would be that those communication and social skills would assist them to function more effectively in the world, but we found that this isn't always the case," Ratto said. Researchers collected parent-reported data from several rating scales of executive function and adaptive behaviour, including. The group included 79 females and 158 males meeting clinical criteria for autism spectrum disorders, ranging in ages from 7 to 18 years old.
The groups were matched for intelligence, age and level of autism and Attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. They examined the participants for executive function- including the ability to make a plan, get organised, and follow through on the plan as needed-and adaptive skills- ability to perform basic daily tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk- in women and girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study was published in the journal Autism Research.
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