Missing Asperger's in girls

Girls with Asperger’s may not be diagnosed because the syndrome looks different in girls, reports Newsweek.

Anyone who knows a boy with Asperger’s syndrome might tell you that the disorder (characterized by obsessive interests and an inability to connect with others) is impossible to miss. . . . Imagine, for example, a 7-year-old boy with encyclopedic knowledge of vacuum cleaners or oscillating fans but almost no friends or playmates.

Now, replace oscillating fans with something more conventional – say horses or books – and imagine a girl instead of a boy. A horse obsession, even one of frightening intensity, might fly under the radar.

Girls are more interested in fitting in than boys, says psychologist Elizabeth Roberts. “So they spend a lot of time studying other girls and trying to copy them.” But it becomes harder to do as girls reach adolescence; the social networks are too complex.

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  1. I worked with a girl who almost certainly had Asperger’s. She was Asian,and it was really funny–when I mentioned the possibility to my boss at the Asian SAT academy, he said, “What’s Asperger’s?” Asians don’t even consider disorders or learning disabilities, so they have no framework for either. My boss and the whole staff knew something was up with this girl,but had no idea what. Once they researched Asperger’s, they were completely convinced–and had no idea how to raise the issue with her parents.