Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 2585–2596

Sex Differences in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Identified Within a High-Risk Infant Cohort

  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
  • Susan E. Bryson
  • Peter Szatmari
  • Jessica Brian
  • Isabel M. Smith
  • Wendy Roberts
  • Tracy Vaillancourt
  • Caroline Roncadin
Original Paper

Abstract

Sex differences were examined in 3-year-olds with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) ascertained from a high-risk cohort, and high- and low-risk comparison groups. Participants included 319 high-risk siblings and 129 low-risk controls. Eighty-five siblings were diagnosed with ASD, including 57 of 176 boys (32.4 %) and 28 of 143 girls (19.6 %), implying a relative odds of ASD of 1.65 in boys versus girls. There were modest sex differences on cognitive and adaptive skills and ASD symptom severity at age 3, but differences between boys and girls with ASD mirrored those in the non-ASD groups. The lower than expected male-to-female ratio, and the relatively high cognitive level among diagnosed children, suggest that we have identified an unanticipated number of higher-functioning girls with ASD.

Keywords

Autism Early diagnosis Sex differences Infants Longitudinal study 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
    • 1
    • 7
  • Susan E. Bryson
    • 2
  • Peter Szatmari
    • 3
  • Jessica Brian
    • 4
  • Isabel M. Smith
    • 2
  • Wendy Roberts
    • 4
  • Tracy Vaillancourt
    • 5
  • Caroline Roncadin
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Departments of Pediatrics and PsychologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral NeurosciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Faculty of Education and School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyPeel Infant DevelopmentMississaugaCanada
  7. 7.Glenrose Rehabilitation HospitalEdmontonCanada

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