Why Do More Boys Have Autism?

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Why Do More Boys Have Autism?
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Pacific Science Center says
Why do more boys than girls have autism? Genes, Brain, and our sex-based perceptions of autism.

Speaker: Sara Jane Webb, PhD, Seattle Children’s Research Institute & University of Washington.

Autism Spectrum Disorders is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social communication and increased restrictive and repetitive interests. In the US, approximately 1 in 68 children have a diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders; however, by sex, this rate is approximately 1 in 42 for boys and 1 in 189 for girls. What accounts for this difference in diagnostic rate? Are females “protected” from developing autism symptoms or are we under-identifying girls with social communicative and behavioral struggles? We will explore why more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder by examining genetic causes, sex-based differences in brain development, and our cultural perceptions of autism as a male disorder.

About the speaker:
Sara Jane Webb is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, a child psychologist, and a developmental cognitive neuroscientist with degrees from Yale University and the University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on brain-based measures of social attention and perception that can be used to predict risk for autism, course of symptoms, and response to treatment. Her current projects include a multisite study of gender differences in children with autism and a multisite study to develop biomarkers for clinical trials in autism. Her recent publications have focused on early infant risk markers, using brain functioning and behavior to better understand the pre-symptomatic markers of autism.

Doors open at 6:40 p.m.

Cost: $5 general, free for members.
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By: Pacific Science Center

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