Thousands of autistic girls and women ‘going undiagnosed’ due to gender bias | Society

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Hundreds of thousands of girls and women with autism are going undiagnosed due to it being viewed as a “male condition”, according to one of the UK’s leading neuroscientists.

Prof Francesca Happé, director of the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London, warned that the failure to recognise autism in girls and women was taking a stark toll on their mental health.

“We’ve overlooked autism in women and girls and I think there’s a real gender equality issue here,” she said. “I think we are missing large numbers and misdiagnosing them too.”

700,000 is the NHS estimate of the number of people in the UK on the autism spectrum

8% of girls with autism are diagnosed before the age of six, compared with 25% of boys

20% of girls are diagnosed by the age of 11, compared with 50% of boys

41% of females with autism are initially diagnosed with another condition, compared with 30% of males

23% of female anorexia patients met diagnostic criteria for autism in a small study

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