Webinar - Girls on the Spectrum with Meng Chuan-Lai & Yani Hamdani

Girls On The Spectrum - Exploring Sex And Gender And Their Influence On Recognizing Autistic Characteristics

The autism spectrum has long been perceived as predominantly a male condition. However, many girls and women go undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or are diagnosed later in life. Recognizing autism in girls and women may be challenging because some of their behaviours present differently than boys and men. Their health care needs are often unrecognized or go unmet. Many experience mental health, self-identity and gender-related challenges, and inadequate or insufficient health care and social service supports.

In this webinar we will discuss
1) how sex and gender may influence the behavioural characteristics of autism; and,

2) what we have learned from observational studies and from the perspectives of girls and women themselves about how such characteristics might be recognized earlier and how their health care experiences can be improved. 

Research informed by a sex- and gender-lens can provide clues for future research and changes to clinical practices that can optimize supports for autistic individuals across the sex and gender spectra.


Dr. Meng-Chuan Lai and Dr. Yani Hamdani

Meng-Chuan Lai

Dr. Meng-Chuan Lai is Clinician Scientist and O’Brien Scholar in the Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is also honorary Director of Gender Research in Autism at the Autism Research Centre of the University of Cambridge, and Adjunct Attending Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the National Taiwan University. His vision is to bridge and integrate multi-level biological-cognitive-psychological-social research and clinical services. His clinical interests are in the risk and resilience processes across the lifespan in individuals with atypical social, cognitive and affective development (such as the autism spectrum, ADHD, anxiety and mood disorders), and how sex and gender modulate these processes. His current research investigates cognitive and neuro/biological bases of autism and associated neurodevelopmental conditions across the lifespan. A particular focus is on the complex relationships between autism and sex-related factors in development, impact of gender, and sex/gender differences.




Yani Hamdani

Dr. Yani Hamdani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, a Clinician-Scientist at the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and an Adjunct Scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.  She is a qualitative health researcher and Occupational Therapist. Her current research examines the health and social experiences of girls and women on the autism spectrum, including how social assumptions about gender and disability influence these experiences.