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ERIC Number: EJ1149803
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1362-3613
The Art of Camouflage: Gender Differences in the Social Behaviors of Girls and Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Dean, Michelle; Harwood, Robin; Kasari, Connie
Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, v21 n6 p678-689 Aug 2017
This study examined the extent to which gender-related social behaviors help girls with autism spectrum disorder to seemingly mask their symptoms. Using concurrent mixed methods, we examined the social behaviors of 96 elementary school children during recess (autism spectrum disorder = 24 girls and 24 boys, typically developing = 24 girls and 24 boys). Children with autism spectrum disorder had average intelligence (IQ ? 70), a confirmed diagnosis, and were educated in the general education classroom. Typically developing children were matched by sex, age, and city of residence to children with autism spectrum disorder. The results indicate that the female social landscape supports the camouflage hypothesis; girls with autism spectrum disorder used compensatory behaviors, such as staying in close proximity to peers and weaving in and out of activities, which appeared to mask their social challenges. Comparatively, the male landscape made it easier to detect the social challenges of boys with autism spectrum disorder. Typically developing boys tended to play organized games; boys with autism spectrum disorder tended to play alone. The results highlight a male bias in our perception of autism spectrum disorder. If practitioners look for social isolation on the playground when identifying children with social challenges, then our findings suggest that girls with autism spectrum disorder will continue to be left unidentified.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Health Resources and Services Administration (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California (Los Angeles); Maryland (Baltimore); Washington (Seattle); Michigan (Ann Arbor)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule
Grant or Contract Numbers: UA3MC11055