Asperger Syndrome: Is It Different For Girls?

Girl With Asperger Syndrome

Asperger syndrome named after Hans Asperger, who first discovered it in 1944; is very similar to autism but in a milder form and is signified by a pattern of repetitive or set behaviors. 

Asperger syndrome is a nerobiological disorder classified under a group of conditions known as “autism spectrum disorders“.

Symptoms – A child afflicted with Asperger might show an unusual interest in a particular thing or subject and disinclined to be socially active. They are capable of leading a day-to-day life but appear to be socially immature and also eccentric to others.

It is also patterned with behaviors like restrictive usage of their hands and expressions while speaking; and inability to interact normally, with peers. The speech pattern and sounds might come out as scripted and repetitive in cases of a child with Aspergers. They also show problems with problem solving skills in mathematics and writing skills, although not in all the cases.

Aspergers and girls : While initially Asperger was thought to be a male disease, it has been determined after a lot of experiments and research that Aspergers syndrome is not limited to boys and is prevalent in girls as well.

The ratio however is quite low, but this might be more because of the fact that detection of the affliction is lesser in girls than in boys. In fact, initially it was thought mainly to be a male disease as the symptoms of Asperger is much more subtle in women than that of their male counterparts.

There are several reasons for this, one being that girls are less aggressive than boys and hence their symptoms are more often than not, overlooked. Also girls are adapt at hiding their unusual interests and have a tendency to blend in with the crowd rather than stand apart.

They are more inclined to have philosophical and literary interests which are often overlooked; than the more mechanical interests of boys which are easily detected. They are also very capable of mimicking the activities of the surrounding and thus become a part of the social gathering. This makes diagnosis very difficult in cases of girls.

Although interests of the girls with Aspergers are more socially acceptable (for example girls get away with being quiet much easier than boys who are active by nature) they can be identified by constant monitoring of their behavioral pattern.

The same technique that girls use to hide their unique interests i.e. to mimic their surroundings can be used to identify their affliction because they tend to over mimic.

Dr. Tony Atwood has noted in his paper (The Pattern of Abilities and Development of Girls with Asperger’s Syndrome, Sept. 1999) about girls with Asperger’s that “they are more motivated to learn and quicker to understand key concepts in comparison to boys with Asperger’s Syndrome of equivalent intellectual ability.” He has also predicted that girls have a better chance of faring with Aspergers than boys if properly diagnosed.

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I am a freelance writer and a student of pshychology. Before deciding to pursue a career in writing I was in the Human Resources field and worked as a Recruiting Lead in a MNC for 5 years. I love reading, writing and going for long walks.