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The subtle presentations of autism: What we’ve learned from the girls  (CE 3)

Donna Henderson, Psy.D. and

Jamell White, Ph.D., LCSW-C

Please plan to login by 8:40 AM to check-in. We will start promptly at 8:45 AM

This CE satisfies the MD requirement for Psychologists for cultural competence.

Level: Beginner/ intermediate / Advanced. This workshop is appropriate for every level.

Over the past 20 years the prevalence of autism has risen from 1 in 150 to 1 in 59. This is due at least in part to our more sophisticated understanding of bright individuals with a less obvious presentation of autism. Still, boys and men continue to be diagnosed far more frequently than girls and women (approximately 4:1). Recent research demonstrates that many females on the spectrum are being misdiagnosed or missed entirely. In the past ten years, there has been a burst of research on girls and women with autism, particularly those with average to above average intellectual functioning, and it has become clear that they present differently from their male counterparts in many ways. Moreover, research demonstrates that these girls and women are highly vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. While this less obvious presentation of autism seems to be most common in females, it can also apply to clients throughout the gender spectrum. Receiving a proper diagnosis can be lifechanging for this population, so it is essential that all clinicians are updated on the ways to recognize the subtle presentations of autism, particularly but not exclusively in females. This workshop will provide that clarity.

This presentation will address diversity issues related to gender and race/culture, as well as neurodiversity. Specific to gender, there will be an emphasis on explaining the range of symptom presentation for autistic females compared to that of autistic males. Additionally, there will be discussion around the importance of understanding how to approach the therapeutic relationship with individuals and families in a culturally/racially-sensitive manner. The information will be presented in a neurodiversity-affirmative manner.



1. Describe characteristics of individuals with a less obvious presentation of autism.

2. Identify ways that autistic females present differently from autistic males.

3. Identify components of an effective social cognition assessment.

4. Recognize the intersection of race/culture in our work with clients

Dr. Donna Henderson has been a clinical psychologist for 30 years. She earned her doctoral degree from the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University and subsequently worked as a staff psychologist and then Director of Acquired Brain Injury at the Gaylord Hospital in Connecticut. Dr. Henderson joined The Stixrud Group in 2011, specializing in neuropsychological evaluations for individuals with cognitive, academic, social, and/or emotional challenges, with a particular interest in autism. Dr. Henderson is a frequent lecturer on the subtle presentations of autism, on autistic girls and women, and on parenting children with complex profiles.

Dr. Jamell White is a therapist specializing in working with children, adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. She has over 20 years of experience providing individual and family therapy, social skills intervention, and care coordination for individuals with disabilities and their families. Dr. White has a master’s degree in social work from The Catholic University of America, a master’s degree in special education from Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in Human Development and Quantitative Methodology from the University of Maryland. Dr. White is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (Child and Adolescent) at Georgetown University School of Medicine as well as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

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