Female v. Male Aspies
Fact: Asperger’s Syndrome is more readily diagnosed in males than females. Hans Asperger based his theories relating to Asperger’s Syndrome (named after him) on his observation of boys.
Fact: Asperger’s Syndrome in women and girls is quite common. One out of every four people diagnosed with Asperger’s are female. The number may be higher, but Asperger females differ in many aspects from their male counterparts. Below, please find a list of some of those differences.
by Rudy Simone
- Females are usually a little more expressive in face and gesture than their male counterparts.
- Females are better at mirroring than males and so may mirror many different types of personalities. Hence, females may not have a strong sense of identity and can be very chameleon-like, especially before diagnosis.
- Females will have obsessions but they are not as abstruse or unusual as their male counterparts’ and tend to be more practical. (e.g. less likely to be “train-spotters.”)
- Females are more open to talking about feelings and emotional issues than males with AS.
- Females are less likely to receive early, correct diagnosis because the criteria is based on male behaviors/traits. (Hans Asperger studied males only.)
- Females are more likely to be diagnosed as bi-polar or manic depressive (common comorbids* of autism/AS).
- Females’ physical gestures/behaviors when happy are more expressive than males: hand flapping, clapping, singing, jumping up and down, running around, dancing, bouncing – this pertains to adult women as well as girls.
- Adult females are prone to both temper and crying meltdowns, even in public, sometimes over seemingly small things due to sensory or emotional overload. Hunger/food issues seem to be a common trigger.
- Adult males are not prone to crying.
- Females tend to receive less tolerance and more expectations from others, because they appear to be more adept.
- Females hate injustice and hate to be misunderstood; this can incite anger and rage meltdowns.
- Females are less likely to stutter than male counterparts when stressed or upset; both may have raspy, choked, or monotone voice or suffer mutism**.
- Females are generally better at socializing in small doses. May even give the appearance of being skilled socializers, but this is just a “performance.”
- Like their male counterparts, females will shut down in social situations once overloaded.
- Females are more likely to keep pets for emotional support but not always (due to sensory issues).
*Comorbids pertain to two diseases that occur together, such as ADHD and depression.
**Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech does not speak in specific situations or to specific people. Selective mutism usually co-exists with shyness or social anxiety. People with selective mutism may stay silent even when the consequences of their silence include shame, social ostracism, or even punishment.
(Rudy Simone 2009)