Western Undergraduate Psychology Journal

Article Title

Engendering Autism: Gender and Sensory Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorders


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by a gender ratio skewed heavily towards males. To effectively address this discrepancy, the nature of sex and gender differences in ASD is examined. Sex and gender differences are distinguished with multidisciplinary references. A theoretical and definitional groundwork takes into consideration the dynamic and multi-levelled nature of developmental influences. Establishing distinctions between sex and gender while recognizing their interrelatedness aids in clarifying the specific nature of these influences; genetics and the environment are similarly conceptualized. Through this lens, Extreme Male Brain Theory (Baron-Cohen, 2009), is critically examined. Baron-Cohen’s theory, while containing some merit, requires further revision keeping in mind the many influences upon development as well as distinctions between gender and sex. New directions are proposed for research into gender and sex differences in ASD, with the identification of sensory processing as a promising avenue.

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