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Autism More Common in Youth with Gender Dissatisfaction

Autism More Common in Youth with Gender Dissatisfaction

New research finds clinical evidence that supports the belief that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are more prevalent in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria than in the general population.

In the study, 23 percent of the youths seen at a pediatric gender clinic were believed to have Asperger’s syndrome.

As a comparison, the CDC estimates approximately 1 in 68 children are born with ASD in the United States or approximately 1.5 percent of births.

Coauthors Daniel Shumer, M.D., M.P.H., Sari Reisner, Sc.D., Laura Edwards-Leeper, Ph.D., and Amy Tishelman, Ph.D., Boston Children’s Hospital and Pacific University of Professional Psychology in Oregon recommend routine assessment of ASD in youth who seek treatment for feelings of disconnectedness between their sex at birth and their current gender identity.

This recommendation is based on an increased likelihood of the co-occurrence of gender dysphoria and ASD.

“Importantly, ASD does not preclude support of gender transition, but awareness of its existence is necessary for the provision of optimal clinical care to children and adolescents with gender dysphoria,” said LGBT Health Editor-in-Chief William Byne, M.D., Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The study is published in LGBT Health.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert/EurekAlert


Autism doctor photo by shutterstock.

Autism More Common in Youth with Gender Dissatisfaction

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Autism More Common in Youth with Gender Dissatisfaction. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 18 Jan 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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