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SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Severity of ASD Symptoms in Relation to Childrens Gender


Lorraine Haselden
Chapin High School

SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Abstract
The purpose of this project was to determine whether or not the symptoms of Autism spectrum disorder
(ASD) are more severe based on gender. If the severity of symptoms of both male and females with ASD
are studied using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), then males will be found to demonstrate
the most severe symptoms. The data was collected through video analysis of children with ASD and then
rated on the childhood autism rating scale (CARS). The data was analyzed using a 2 t-test to compare the
mean scores of males and females. Through the analysis it was determined that males have significantly
higher ratings on the CAR scale than females. These findings were statistically significant because the p
value was 0.00000000000172 meaning that my hypothesis was supported by the data. In conclusion, the
hypothesis that males will present more severe symptoms of ASD was proven correct by the analysis of
the data. This project could be expanded to include publishing these findings in order to share the
information and provide more specialized programs for males with ASD. These programs could be used
to help elevate some symptoms to help make them higher functioning members of society.

SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Table of Contents
Title Page. 1
Abstract2
Table of Contents.3
Introduction..4
Background..5
Procedure.6
Results.7
Conclusion...8
Appendix.9
Citations.10

SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Introduction
The purpose of this project was to determine whether or not the symptoms of Autism spectrum disorder
(ASD) are more severe based on gender. This project was chosen because it combined a love of children
and medicine. The alternative hypothesis was, If the severity of symptoms of both male and females with
ASD are studied using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), then males will be found to
demonstrate the most severe symptoms. This is believed to be true because males are nearly five times
more likely to be diagnosed with ASD (autismspeaks.org).

SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Background
A similar study that was done is a study that was done on prenatal exposure to testosterone and
whether or not it affected the likelihood of a female twin developing autism spectrum disorders
(ASD). This study differs from the one completed in this project because the researchers only
tested for the presence of Autism.
Another similar study that was done was a study on the childs characteristics and how they
factor into the childs score on the CARS. Although this study was done on the CARS, it just
helped to explain how the CARS score was earned by children and how they were scored.
A third study that is similar to the study completed in this project was one done comparing the
effects of attention deficit disorder (ADHD) on the symptoms of autism spectrum disorders
(ASD). This differs from my project because it is only testing for the diagnosis of Autism
Spectrum Disorder when the child has already been diagnosed with ADHD.
My work is different from all of these studies because it compares CARS scores in order to
determine the severity of the symptoms that are presented. The comparison of scores to
determine the severity was not done in any of the other research I found.

SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Procedure
The data was collected through video analysis of children with ASD and then rated on the
childhood autism rating scale (CARS). The children came in and interacted with one of Dr.
Roberts, from the USC Psychology Department, assistants while the video recorded how they
reacted to different scenarios. This tape was then rated on the childhood autism rating scale.
These scores were then analyzed using a 2 t-test to compare the mean scores of males and
females. Through the analysis it was determined that males have significantly higher ratings on
the CAR scale than females. These findings were statistically significant because the p value
was 0.00000000000172 meaning that my hypothesis was supported by the data.

SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Results
Figures 1 and 2 are examples of the data that was collected and analyzed. Figure 1 shows the
data for females, and figure 2 shows the data for males. Just from looking at this small portion
of the data, it can be seen that males scores are significantly higher than female scores
Figure 3 shows a Dotplot showing the results of this study. As can be seen, the males scores are
significantly higher than the female scores. Although there is one female outlier on the higher
end of the spectrum, there are still many male scores that are higher than that outlier.
When the data was tested using a 2 samples t-test at the 95% significance level, the p-value was
0.00000000000172 which is significantly less than the alpha of 0.05, so the null hypothesis was
then rejected by this small p-value, and the alternative hypothesis (If the severity of symptoms of
both male and females with ASD are studied using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS),
then males will be found to demonstrate the most severe symptoms) was accepted.
This project could be expanded to include publishing these findings in order to share the
information and provide more specialized programs for males with ASD. These programs could
be used to help elevate some symptoms to help make them higher functioning members of
society.

SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Conclusion
In conclusion, the hypothesis that males will present more severe symptoms of ASD was
supported by the analysis of the data. This hypothesis was further supported by the extremely
low p value.
Through this project, I learned about how Autism Spectrum Disorder affects the people that are
diagnosed with it. I also learned that males present more severe symptoms, so in the future there
should be more programs to help males with autism in order to give those more options for
specific help.

SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER

Appendix

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

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SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER


Citations
Attermann, J.,
Obel,

C., Bilenberg,

N.,

Nordenbk, C.,
Skytthe, A.,&

Olsen,

J. (2012). Traits

of

ADHD and
autism in girls with a twin brother: a Mendelian randomization study.

European Child &


Adolescent Psychiatry, 21(9), 503-509. doi:10.1007/s00787-012-0287-4
Effects of Child Characteristics on the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised:
Implications for Use of
Scores as a Measure of ASD Severity - Springer. (2013, February 01).
Retrieved December 2,
2014, from http://link.springer.com
The Impact of ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders on Temperament, Character,
and Personality
Development.(n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2014, from
http://focus.psychiatryonline.org
Severity of ASD Symptoms in Relation to Childrens Gender [Personal interview].
(2014, June).

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SEVERITY OF ASD SYMPTOMS IN RELATION TO CHILDRENS GENDER


Learn the Signs of Autism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.autismspeaks.org