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.