Sex Differences in Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors and Interests in Children with ASD

Madison Guay’20 and Prof. Helt

6 thoughts on “Sex Differences in Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors and Interests in Children with ASD

  1. I really enjoyed learning about RRBI in individuals with ASD. I liked how your analysis took into account both a caretaker and clinician’s perspective given that both have insights that the other does not have.

    I was wondering if you found any significant differences between the reports from the clinicians vs the caretakers. I would be interested to know whether the clinicians are noticing something that the caretakers are not and vice versa.

    Overall great job and I really enjoyed reading your poster!

    • Hi Sierra,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments and question!

      In the current study, we found no significant differences between the caregiver (PDDBI) and clinician (DSM-5 Checklist) reports. This is interesting, as previous studies have found much disagreement between the two methodologies.

      We are planning to pursue this study further over the summer once we acquire more participant data from the CCMC. This data will include another clinician report (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)) and 2 other caregiver reports (the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R)) that we want to analyze for sex differences in RRBIs. It will be interesting to see if these different clinician and caregiver reports are in line with our results thus far and are in agreement, or if these different forms of reporting will disagree as seen in previous work. Like you, I am also curious to know if certain behaviors are more or less endorsed by clinicians than they are by caretakers, as that could support the idea that there are discrepancies between the two reporting methods.

  2. This is really fascinating. Do you think new diagnostic tools need to be developed that are specific to girls, or that cover the symptoms you documented in girls?

    • Hi Professor Raskin,

      Thank you for your interest! Yes, I definitely believe new diagnostic tools are necessary, as females with ASD may be suffering from delayed intervention due to their behaviors not meeting the DSM-5 criteria for diagnosis. If an behavior displayed by an individual does not meet the criteria for RRBIs, it is not recorded, which could result in a lack of diagnosis for a female who should actually be diagnosed with ASD. This all goes back to the problem with camouflaging in females, as girls may be able to hide their RRBIs because their behaviors are also commonly seen in typically developing girls. There is a questionnaire in the works that measures camouflaging called the Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q), which is a self-report measure for commonly camouflaged behaviors that may be useful as a screening tool for autistic individuals whose camouflaged behaviors may be missed due to current diagnostic measures. I have provided a link to a study below that uses the CAT-Q if you are interested.

  3. Hi,
    Very interesting study. I was wondering what do you mean by “camouflaging?” Do females hide/mask their RRBIs as they age? Are they doing it on purpose?

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