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(p. 289) Young Women on the Autism Spectrum 

(p. 289) Young Women on the Autism Spectrum
(p. 289) Young Women on the Autism Spectrum

Meng-Chuan Lai

, Stephanie H. Ameis

, and Peter Szatmari

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date: 13 April 2021

Females on the autism spectrum often face unique challenges in social-communication areas, sensory environments, mental health, physical health, gender-related issues and identity development. Autism tends to be less-recognized in females than in males. Anecdotal reports suggest that they may show more social interests and motivation, heightened emotion contagion or affective empathy, increased imagination, more friendships but with different quality, greater camouflaging of social difficulties, and different kinds of narrow interests. The diagnostic processes are independent of sex or gender, but they need to be optimized by taking into account influences from sex and gender (including gendered sociocultural contexts). Optimized support for young women on the autism spectrum is best based on the understanding of their characteristics, targeting resilience and person–environment fit, and taking into account the influences of gendered sociocultural contexts; this often involves not only skill-building and graded exposure for the individual, but more importantly, adjustments to the social and physical environments.

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