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Leading Experts Meet to Discuss Gender Differences in Autism

Autism Speaks and Autism Science Foundation sponsor workshop tackling questions on autism rates and challenges in girls and women
November 03, 2014

On Oct. 29th, Autism Speaks and the Autism Science Foundation co-sponsored a scientific workshop, “Sex and Gender Differences in Autism Spectrum Disorders.” The meeting brought together more than 50 leading experts on the special challenges faced by girls and women with autism, as well as researchers exploring why autism rates are four times lower among females than males. Also joining in the discussions were women on the autism spectrum and several parents of girls and women on the spectrum.

Throughout the day, participants discussed the latest research findings and how to design future studies to answer the abundance of questions that remain about how and why autism affects girls and women differently than it does boys and men.

The workshop was the culmination of more than two years of ongoing discussions and planning by autism researchers with a special interest in sex and gender issues. See “Understanding Sex Differences in Autism,” a blog by workshop organizer Alycia Halladay. Dr. Halladay was senior director of environmental and clinical sciences at Autism Speaks until she became chief science officer at the Autism Science Foundation this year.

Dr. Halladay provides a recap of the Oct. 29th workshop in a podcast titled “Girls, Girls, Girls,” below.