Examination of Sex Differences in a Large Sample of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typical Development
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Despite consistent and substantive research documenting a large male to female ratio in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), only a modest body of research exists examining sex differences in characteristics. This study examined sex differences in developmental functioning and early social communication in children with ASD as compared to children with typical development. Sex differences in adaptive behavior and autism symptoms were also examined in children with ASD. Participants (n = 511) were recruited from the Florida State University FIRST WORDS® Project and University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center. Analyses did not reveal significant effects of sex or a diagnostic group by sex interaction, suggesting a similar phenotype in males and females early in development. Further research is needed to examine sex differences across development.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Sex differences Social communication Adaptive behavior Developmental functioning
This research was supported in part by NICHD R01HD065272, NIDCD R01DC007462, and CDC U01DD000304 awarded to Amy M. Wetherby. Vanessa P. Reinhardt was supported in part by grant UA3 MC 11055 AIR-B from the Maternal and Child Health Research Program, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Combating Autism Act Initiative), Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NICHD, NIDCD, the NIH, or the CDC. This paper was based on Vanessa Reinhardt’s Masters thesis.
Conflict of interest
Amy M. Wetherby receives royalties for the CSBS. Catherine Lord receives royalties for the ADOS and ADOS-T from Western Psychological Services.
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