Skip to main content

Table 1 Comprehensive list of research priorities, challenges, recommendations, and implications of recommendations of research

From: Sex and gender differences in autism spectrum disorder: summarizing evidence gaps and identifying emerging areas of priority

Research priority Challenges Recommendation(s) Implications
Better identification and diagnosis of females Diagnostic norms developed in adolescent males Clinical guidelines or recommendations for clinicians, encouragement of clinicians to observe both males and females with ASD in training Changes in M:F bias in prevalence
Societal and cultural expectations of males and females Provide comparisons between ASD females and typical females across studies Understanding of specific needs of females with ASD
Compensatory mechanisms in social behaviors in females, masking symptoms and hiding diagnosis Reduced reliance on clinical samples for data collection Improvement in services and resources available for females with ASD
Qualitative differences in symptoms between males and females in development Examination of early signs and symptoms, including trajectories in at risk infants. Earlier detection of ASD in females
Characterization of male: female differences in core and associated symptoms Low sample sizes of females enrolled in research studies Data sharing, pooling, repository efforts Improved representation of females in ASD research and specific recommendations for females with ASD
Restriction of signs and symptoms to ASD diagnosis Including ASD associated symptoms, broader phenotype, and understanding of heterogeneity Potential sex specific diagnostic criteria
Biological differences between males and females Variability introduced with inclusion of females in research Sex included as a covariate in research studies, especially animal models Identification of protective mechanisms for translational impact.
Limited understanding of human sexual dimorphism at a molecular, cellular or anatomical level Basic science focused specifically on human sexual dimorphism Understanding role of male/female physiological differences in protection of some ASD symptoms