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The Female Adaptive Behavior Profile in Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism

Thursday, 2 May 2013: 14:00-18:00
Banquet Hall (Kursaal Centre)
I. A. Cox1, M. A. Stokes2, J. A. McGillivray1, J. Manjiviona3 and T. Attwood4, (1)Deakin University, Burwood, Australia, (2)Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia, (3)Private Practice, Melbourne, Australia, (4)The Asperger's Clinic, Brisbane, Australia, Petrie, QLD, Australia
Background: Boys are found to be much more likely than girls to be diagnosed with autism.  This ratio ranges from 4:1 to 10:1, depending upon the exact diagnostic categorizations used.  Despite over 50 years of research, the reasons for a disparate gender ratio remain unclear, but most disconcertingly, differences in clinical presentation have been little characterized.  We examined adaptive behavioral differences in boys and girls, controlling for cognitive differences. 

Objectives: We hypothesized that males and females would differ in adaptive behavior. 

Methods: We compared 24 typically developing (TD) children (12 to 18 years) to 24 children diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism (AS/HFA) with equal numbers in each gender on the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale – second edition (VABS-II, parent rating).

Results: We found significant group differences in adaptive functioning on the domains of socialization, daily living, and adaptive behavior.  Using a mixed model MANOVA, and controlling for age and full scale IQ, a significant effect was noted for the interaction of gender and diagnosis (F(1, 42)=5.0, p<.05, np2=.11), and for the main effect of diagnosis (F(1, 44)=54.8, p<.001, np2=.55), but not gender.  

Conclusions: These results suggest males and females differ in their clinical presentation.  Further, they suggest implications for clinical assessment, suggesting girls may not be as apparent as boys in presentation of Autism.

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