Join Dr. Holmes as she interviews researcher and clinician Dr. Will Carroll on the topic of Autism Female Phenotypes. The discussion includes why females may be missed, and the diagnoses females receive before a later autism identification. Dr. Carroll will discuss a missed opportunity of research, and that is information a sister can provide with insight into having a sister on the spectrum. Other topics covered in this discussion: are friendships, eating disorders, depression, and suicide, as well as passionate interests.
From Dr. Carroll’s Research:
From my own research, I found two types of interests: shared and unique interests. In the shared category, the women with ASD shared their interests, specifically with their sisters. These shared interests included media like cartoons and sci-fi shows or entertainment, arts and crafts, and reading.
This is in comparison to those interests that were unique to the woman with ASD, such as academics, including history, art, literature, foreign languages, and musical instrument playing.
Consider the systemizable factor to these Special Interests.
There was a noticeable overlap in the interests, including the woman with ASD enjoying TV shows both by herself and with her sister and the woman with ASD doing crafts or handy work both by herself and with her sister.
When the woman with ASD had a trusted companion (sister, parent), they could let go of their Special Interest for a time and engage in hobbies that didn’t involve collecting.
Considering the Female Autism Phenotype, the theory is that traits of ASD in women are uniquely different from those of men. Though my research did not look at men with ASD and their brothers, research suggests that women with ASD are more likely to have Special Interests more closely aligned with neurotypical women (Harrop et al, 2018).
In my own practice, I see a number of women with ASD. Their Special interests include drawing, small gardening, collecting small tokens from an internet or video game they like, and video gaming. These women report liking the video games for the social aspect as well as the story and the achievements they earn while playing the game (Genshin Impact, Animal Crossing).
Dr. Will Carroll is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Georgia. He earned his Master’s in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in 2012 and his Ph.D. from Liberty in 2021. He has been in private practice in Marietta, GA He enjoys outdoor activities, including Obstacle Course Races and kayaking around the lakes and rivers of north Georgia. Originally from South Georgia, Will made his home in Cartersville, GA, in 2008, with his wife, Shannon, and his three children. Will’s area of expertise is in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder using varied techniques, including innovative approaches such as Lego Therapy. His Ph.D. dissertation is on the unique qualities associated with women with Autism as seen from the perspective of their adult sisters.
You can contact him at:
Dr. Carroll only works with clients in the state of Georgia.