The new study reveals that gender-diverse adults are at a significantly high risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This risk is between three to six times higher than cisgender people who identify themselves with their birth sex. Gender diverse people include those which identify themselves differently than their birth sex.
This study is conducted by the Autism Research Centre of the University of Cambridge. The complete findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.
These results are obtained from going through the data obtained from 600,000 adults that were a part of some previous researches. Understanding this risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is necessary to provide high-risk people the care and medical help that they need.
Usually, the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) take some time to appear. For some people, no symptom appears until the baby is a few years old. So a better understanding of the high-risk individuals will ensure direct access to diagnostics and post-diagnostic health care.
The researchers investigated the participants by categorizing them into five datasets, the information on the participants was obtained from the documentary “Are you autistic?” aired on Channel 4. This information contains gender and diagnosis of autism or any other related condition.
Surprisingly, all datasets found that those who identify themselves as transgender, as well as gender-diverse people, are 3-6 times higher risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
This study has used data from people who confirm having a diagnosis for autism, it is also possible that many autistic patients are still undiagnosed. The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every 1 in 54 children born in the US is affected by Autism. In the UK, 1.1% of the total population is autistic which suggests a high prevalence of the autistic spectrum.
Dr. Meng-Chuan Lai from the University of Toronto says that the latest research is helping to identify the precursors and factors involved in autism. Knowing how Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) manifests its symptoms in gender-diverse people will widen the researcher’s knowledge of how autism affects people from different sexes. It will help to design and provide individual support for every autistic person.
Typically, gender-diverse people are also at a high risk of severe mental health disorders such a depression because of the social stigma associated with them by some members of society. They are also highly likely not to receive healthcare and medical attention that they deserve and need as compared to cis-gendered people.
Dr. Varun Warrier is the principal investigator and writer of this study. He says that these findings clearly relate to co-occurrence of trans and gender diverse individuals and the risk of autism. He emphasizes that it is necessary to recognize this co-occurrence and find out the factors that could improve the well-being of these people.
The study only looked through the co-occurrence of these two factors. It didn’t study if one of them is a risk factor for the other or not.