A new study provides clinical data to support growing evidence that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is more prevalent in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria than in the general population. Among youths seen at a pediatric gender clinic who were screened for ASD, 23% possibly or likely had Asperger syndrome, according to the study published in LGBT Health, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free to download on the LGBT Health website until February 13, 2016.
Based on an increased likelihood of the co-occurrence of gender dysphoria and ASD, Daniel Shumer, MD, MPH, Sari Reisner, ScD, Laura Edwards-Leeper, PhD, and Amy Tishelman, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital (MA) and Pacific University of Professional Psychology (Hillsboro, OR), coauthors of the article "Evaluation of Asperger Syndrome in Youth Presenting to a Gender Dysphoria Clinic," recommend routine assessment of ASD in youth who seek treatment for feelings of disconnectedness between their sex at birth and their current gender identity.
"Importantly, ASD does not preclude support of gender transition, but awareness of its existence is necessary for the provision of optimal clinical care to children and adolescents with gender dysphoria," says LGBT Health Editor-in-Chief William Byne, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.
Article: Evaluation of Asperger Syndrome in Youth Presenting to a Gender Dysphoria Clinic, Shumer Daniel E., Reisner Sari L., Edwards-Leeper Laura, and Tishelman Amy, LGBT Health, doi:10.1089/lgbt.2015.0070, published online 1 December 2015.