American Asperger's Association Support Group

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article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Jul 27, 2013 1:29 pm by csweepigirl

» Introductions
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» June 4th 2011
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» Free Home Speech Practice Home offer
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» Support group meeting and hbot volunteers
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Dec 20, 2010 9:35 am by Dr. Ron

» Favor....Locals..read..please...
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Oct 11, 2010 7:46 am by bondgary009

» Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is hosting the first of its best practices webinars
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» We need to start this website back up again!
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» Group Home Manager is Yelling I Need Help
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» Facebook
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» Support Group Meetings 2011 *EDITED*
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Jun 23, 2010 3:57 am by KelleyNNelson

» community happenings!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Jun 22, 2010 6:01 am by asg_tlm@hotmail.com

» Asperger's (how it is diagnosed and treated)
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Jun 12, 2010 4:27 pm by csweepigirl

» What do you do when people look at you by the pills you take vs. the person you are?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Jun 12, 2010 4:01 pm by csweepigirl

» Items under your nose that are gluten free, and cheap too!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2010 5:59 am by KelleyNNelson

» Adam
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Jun 08, 2010 1:19 am by man of a million names

» Looking for friends
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» Maas-Rowe Carillon Questions
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» Video Emails from Dr. Ron
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue May 11, 2010 1:40 am by Dr. Ron

» Ah, it's good to be back.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat May 01, 2010 5:03 am by man of a million names

» 1st Annual Aspergers Volleyball Tournament
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Apr 19, 2010 2:03 am by Dr. Ron

» free event: Therapeutic Recreation Adapted Sailing and Kayak Clinic
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Apr 01, 2010 3:20 am by csweepigirl

» Help! I Seem to be Getting More Autistic!" ARTICLE
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 29, 2010 10:22 am by csweepigirl

» Was this teacher out of line?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 03, 2010 10:31 pm by lovethefish

» OMG THE PLACE IS REMODELED!!!!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 03, 2010 2:38 am by KelleyNNelson

» Got Plates?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 02, 2010 1:19 am by KelleyNNelson

» Local IEP Advocate!! THANKS VAL!!!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Feb 28, 2010 1:16 pm by csweepigirl

» Pinellas ESE advisory board meetings
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 27, 2010 12:31 am by lovethefish

» Dentists who use sedation.. thanks Dr. Ron
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 27, 2010 12:28 am by lovethefish

» Hey GAB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Feb 24, 2010 5:25 am by csweepigirl

» Autism in the news: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A hormone thought to encourage bonding between mothers and their babies may foster social behavior in some adults with autism, French researchers said on Monday.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 18, 2010 7:01 am by csweepigirl

» **********echo*******************
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Jan 31, 2010 11:16 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Any ideas on how to make a gluten regression easier for both child and family?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 06, 2010 9:47 am by csweepigirl

» Hi! Long time no see.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Dec 21, 2009 3:04 am by KelleyNNelson

» Hellooooo? Need some freakin' help here.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 15, 2009 8:50 am by man of a million names

» Cats or dogs? Summer or winter?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Nov 23, 2009 6:47 am by man of a million names

» Mozark and the whale *aspergers movie* on showtime on demand.. SUCKED by the way
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Nov 23, 2009 6:42 am by man of a million names

» Adult Aspergers Syndrome
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Nov 22, 2009 4:07 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Asperger’s Syndrome: A Developmental Puzzle by Michael McCroskery
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Nov 22, 2009 12:22 pm by csweepigirl

» Really Cool Super Awesome Thing! Kim And Kelly You Have To Read This!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Nov 20, 2009 4:24 am by man of a million names

» 2 Articles of Interest Re: Aspergers
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Nov 19, 2009 6:15 am by csweepigirl

» Accidently stubled across some info about meletonin oops!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Nov 10, 2009 2:41 pm by csweepigirl

» Lack of Services for ASD
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Nov 09, 2009 8:04 pm by Dr. Ron

» New and having a hard time
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Nov 04, 2009 3:40 am by lovethefish

» Sorry I haven't been around as much (update)
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Nov 03, 2009 10:53 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Having a hard time again
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Oct 20, 2009 8:35 am by man of a million names

» Important paradox/riddle! Anyone care to help with it?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Oct 19, 2009 10:46 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Follow through or not.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Oct 15, 2009 4:01 am by csweepigirl

» New Pediatrics Autism Study Putting Prevalence at 1 in 91
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Oct 14, 2009 11:45 am by csweepigirl

» Different Directions
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Oct 09, 2009 12:41 am by csweepigirl

» AS is a very difficult diagnosis to make.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Oct 08, 2009 1:47 pm by csweepigirl

» How is everyone?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 21, 2009 9:48 pm by Jerry Graham

» CD to benefit the AAA ~!!!!! Check this out!!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 21, 2009 11:14 am by bassfiddlesteve

» I met Joe Diffie's son!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 20, 2009 8:01 am by csweepigirl

» Anyone feel like helping me smack the crap out of my former boss?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 20, 2009 7:56 am by csweepigirl

» Lazy or Aspergers?? or both?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 20, 2009 5:20 am by man of a million names

» The right thing?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 15, 2009 7:27 am by man of a million names

» Mark Fowler and his wonderful work.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 13, 2009 5:51 am by man of a million names

» A.A.A. RESEARCH STUDY. Do you see any differences between females with Aspergers vs. males with Aspergers
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 10, 2009 1:49 pm by csweepigirl

» What happened?? because I don't know, do you?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 10, 2009 6:24 am by man of a million names

» Haha, Funny URL.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 09, 2009 9:15 am by man of a million names

» Dude! Kim, I forgot to tell you... and maybe anyone else at the last meeting...
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Sep 05, 2009 4:59 am by man of a million names

» My son is making strange noises!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2009 11:41 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Terrible sound on video
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2009 9:30 am by man of a million names

» Aspian or Aspergian?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2009 7:22 am by man of a million names

» If you, or you know someone who needs a BIG/HUGE carseat..
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2009 12:33 am by csweepigirl

» Just a quick hello
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 02, 2009 7:37 am by man of a million names

» We started the FLDRS process...and here's what we found out so far
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 02, 2009 7:19 am by man of a million names

» Support Groups
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSun Aug 30, 2009 1:31 pm by KelleyNNelson

» (Aspergers) Boy Meets Girl Movie
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 25, 2009 8:13 am by man of a million names

» I give up, with trying to ever just relax, really.. I'm so flustrated!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Aug 24, 2009 9:15 am by man of a million names

» Basic White or Yellow Cake
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2009 6:33 am by man of a million names

» When did this category get here?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2009 1:55 am by man of a million names

» Pork Fried Rice
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 11:17 pm by man of a million names

» Why Are The Private Messages Still Disabled????
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 10:48 pm by man of a million names

» Sorry I've been M.I.A.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2009 6:04 am by man of a million names

» 5Km Run For AS!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 14, 2009 11:30 pm by man of a million names

» Help for a mother.
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 12:01 pm by Dr. Ron

» Aspergers and empathy
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 08, 2009 11:41 am by csweepigirl

» We are the three amigo(a)s!Aanyone care to join?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 07, 2009 12:42 am by man of a million names

» Vaccinations, Red Book, What?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 06, 2009 12:21 am by Dr. Ron

» What is the first step?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 05, 2009 7:14 am by Dr. Ron

» Children who can’t cuddle
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeMon Aug 03, 2009 1:27 pm by csweepigirl

» Challenging popular myths about autism
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 31, 2009 10:59 pm by Dr. Ron

» I NEED your HELP!!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeSat Jul 25, 2009 2:41 am by melissa

» Ok..what do I do? any suggestions..
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 24, 2009 3:53 am by melissa

» Back home!
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 22, 2009 2:10 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Any spanish speakers willing to help an aspie in spain?
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 22, 2009 1:34 pm by csweepigirl

» Gluten Free Simple Bread
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 21, 2009 11:49 am by csweepigirl

» More research (genetics)
article: Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 21, 2009 11:43 am by csweepigirl


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Why Females w/Aspergers Are Not Being Dx Until Adulthood

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Jeneen Interlandi of Newsweek Magazine explains in the following article that due to females having different symptoms than males, there is an under diagnosis of Aspergers in this population. She further explains how this results with females not receiving the supports they need well into adulthood. This article also highlights that doctors are not typically recognizing Aspergers in young females due to girls with AS presenting with less severe motor impairment, they have a broader range of obsessive interests, and a stronger desire to connect with others despite their social impairment.



More Than Just 'Quirky'
By: Jeneen Interlandi of Newsweek Magazine

Because they may have different symptoms than boys do, some girls with Asperger's syndrome don't get diagnosed.



Liane Willey watched from behind a two-way mirror as doctors at the University of Kansas performed a series of psychological tests on her 5-year-old daughter. From the day the girl was born, Liane had worried about the child's behavior: as an infant, she would not suckle. As a toddler, she bit other children and refused to let anyone hug her. Doctors had continually assured the young mother that her daughter was normal, if a bit quirky. But with each passing year, 'quirky' had become less apt a description.



By the age of 5, she had no friends and a profound obsession with monkeys. "If another kid came to school with a toy monkey or something with a monkey picture on it, she would freak out," Liane says. "She would try to take it away from the other kid, because she didn't get that not everything 'monkey' was hers." Liane had been a quirky child herself, and knew the difficult path that lay ahead for her daughter. "Growing up, I tried everything—psychotherapy, group therapy, antidepressants—none of them gave me a better sense of the world or my place in it," she recalls. "For her, I wanted something that would actually work, and I wanted them to put a name to the angst once and for all." Doctors were hoping the psychological tests would yield-up some clues.



The "Sally-Anne" test involved a simple skit: 'Sally' put a marble in the basket and then walked away. Once she was gone, 'Anne' took the marble out of the basket and put it in a box. When 'Sally' returned, the doctors asked where she would look for her marble. Anyone over the age of 5 is expected to know that Sally would look in the basket first, because she doesn't know that her marble has been moved. Expecting Sally to look in the box first suggests that the test-taker doesn't understand that other people don't know everything they know, and vice versa. Psychologists refer to this as a "theory of mind," and people who fail the Sally-Anne test are said to lack one, meaning they can't anticipate other people's thoughts and feelings. Liane's daughter failed the Sally-Anne test, along with every other assessment meant to screen for Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder, which the doctors promptly diagnosed her with. The good news was that they had caught it early.



It's not uncommon for girls with Asperger's to go undiagnosed well into adulthood. Like heart disease, this high-functioning autism spectrum disorder is 10 times more prevalent in males, so doctors often don't think to look for it in females. But some experts have begun to suspect that unlike heart disease, Asperger's manifests differently, less obviously in girls, and that factor is also causing them to slip through the diagnostic cracks. This gender gap may have implications for the health and well-being of girls on the spectrum, and some specialists predict that as we diagnose more girls, our profile of the disorder as a whole will change. Anecdotally, they report that girls with Asperger's seem to have less motor impairment, a broader range of obsessive interests, and a stronger desire to connect with others, despite their social impairment.



But much more research is needed before those anecdotes can be marshaled into a coherent picture. "Ultimately, we might want to look for different symptoms in girls," says Katherine Loveland, a psychiatry professor and autism researcher at the University of Texas in Houston. "But we have a lot more questions than answers at this point." Answering those questions has proven a tricky proposition: to draw any real conclusions, many more girls will have to be studied. And that means more of them will have to be diagnosed in the first place.



Anyone who knows a boy with Asperger's syndrome might tell you that the disorder (characterized by obsessive interests and an inability to connect with others) is impossible to miss. For starters, the things most boys get obsessed with are difficult to shrug off as quirky. Imagine, for example, a 7-year-old boy with encyclopedic knowledge of vacuum cleaners or oscillating fans but almost no friends or playmates.



Now, replace oscillating fans with something more conventional - say horses or books - and imagine a girl instead of a boy. A horse obsession, even one of frightening intensity, might fly under the radar. "Girls tend to get obsessed with things that are a little less strange," says Elizabeth Roberts, a neuropsychologist at the Asperger Institute at the New York University Child Study Center. "That makes it harder to distinguish normal from abnormal." That observation is consistent with a 2007 study of 700 children on the spectrum, which found that girls' obsessive interests reflected the interests of girls in the general population; the same was not true for boys.



In addition to more socially acceptable obsessions, Roberts says, the Aspie girls she sees are more adept at copying the behaviors, mannerisms and dress codes of those around them, than Aspie boys tend to be. "From my personal experience, they seem to have a greater drive to fit in than boys with Asperger's do," she says. "So they spend a lot of time studying other girls and trying to copy them." When social settings change, this can spell disaster. "As you move from high school to college, or from one group of friends to another, you have a whole new set of rules to learn," said one Aspie woman who asked not to be named. "Not only do you lose your own identity, but if you end up surrounded by the wrong people—mimicking their behavior without understanding the motivations behind it can lead to big trouble.

"

Of course, it's not just different symptoms that stymie diagnosis—cultural conditioning may also play a role. What looks like pathological social awkwardness in a little boy can seem like mere bashfulness or just good old-fashioned manners in a little girl. "We tend to notice shyness in boys as 'off,'" says Loveland. "In girls, we can almost see it as a good trait." And while boys are often diagnosed when they begin expressing their frustration as aggression and find themselves in trouble at school, girls —even Aspie girls—learn to internalize their feelings, not to act out, which can make them more anxious and less noticeable at the same time.



But even as they effectively mask Asperger's in girls, social mores might also make the disorder more harrowing for them. As they approach adolescence, girls face greater pressure to be sympathetic and empathetic than boys do. "By the time girls reach junior high, their social networks have become extraordinarily complex, and Aspie girls can't keep up with all the nuances," says Janet Lainhart, a doctor at the University of Utah's Brain Institute. "Boys struggle socially as well, but their peers mature much slower so their inability to empathize is seen as more forgivable.

"

Not everyone is persuaded that the symptoms of Asperger's differ between boys and girls. Ami Klin, director of Yale's autism research group cautions that no Asperger's trait can be defined as gender-specific quite yet. "It's a possibility," he says. "But I don't know anyone who has tested it and I can think of many exceptions to any rule you come up with about what narrow interests or other traits each gender has.

"

What everyone does seem to agree on is that without diagnosis, girls are unlikely to get the support—including special education and behavioral therapy—that has proven so helpful to boys with Asperger's. Even worse, their desperation for human interaction—combined with their inability to gauge the intentions of those around them—can make girls with Asperger's easy prey for sexual predators. "That is a real distinction and my real concern for girls on the spectrum," says Klin. "That they will be more susceptible to rape, abuse and drug addiction because of their social deficiencies and because they aren't getting the right guidance.

"

Despite the urgent need for more research, Klin says that scientists who study ASD’s have effectively orphaned this population. Because there are so few of them, girls are often yanked from studies altogether so that they don't muddy up the data. As a result, only a very small body of work addresses the Asperger's gender gap, even though such studies could lead to better diagnosis of both autism and Asperger's.



Preliminary genetic analyses suggest that autism may be caused by different genes in each gender; and at least one MRI study has found differences in the brain anatomy of boys and girls on the spectrum. Simon Baron-Cohen, a renowned autism researcher, has shown that high levels of fetal testosterone may also play a role. But that work has yet to be replicated, mainly, say Loveland and others, due to a lack of funding or interest. "A lot of people see Baron-Cohen's work as 'politically incorrect,'" says Loveland. "Any time you start talking about a biological basis of sex differences, you are looking at controversy.

"

Meanwhile, many schools and clinics that work with children on the spectrum have begun forming girls-only clubs in an effort to build better support systems for girls with Asperger's. Lainhart has created a group at her Utah practice. The first things her girls, who range in age from early teens to late 20s, wanted to know: how to plan a dinner party and how to hold a dance. "They really want to understand how to do these very-female things, they just need the guidance to get there," she says.



Of course, getting that guidance depends on getting the right diagnosis early on. And it turned out that Liane's daughter wasn't the only one to fail the Sally-Anne test that afternoon. Liane herself had not been able to distinguish between what she knew and what Sally knew. Doctors diagnosed her right alongside her daughter. Liane says that diagnosis changed everything for her. "It was like a light bulb went off," she says. "I was able to seek out the right kind of treatment, and after a lifetime of mimicking others, finally find my own identity." And early diagnosis has helped her daughter (now a healthy teenager) avoid many of the pitfalls that Liane herself fell prey to. "Her experience has been totally different from mine," she says. "She's had special education and behavioral therapy from the time she was a young girl, and if I introduced you to my three daughters today, you wouldn't be able to tell which one has Asperger's.

"

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