Mounting evidence over the last few decades points to an increased correlation between autism spectrum disorder and children and adults experiencing dissonance with and the gender assigned at birth. ASD characterizes as difficulty with social interaction and communication as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. Approximately 1-2 percent of the population is estimated to meet criteria for ASD, about twice higher in men than women. The potential link between ASD and gender issues was noted by researchers as early as 1981 when 10 percent of 30 children with a clinical diagnosis of autism had trouble answering a gender identity question (“Are you a little boy or a little girl?”). Nine additional studies, beginning in 2010, have reinforced the recognized links.
Nationwide, one in 68 children is diagnosed with autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Utah, it’s greater, with one in 54 children being diagnosed, reported the Daily Herald this month. And while 4.5 percent of Americans identified as part of the LGBT community in 2017, according to a Gallup Daily tracking survey, research and those in the autism community report much higher rates of people who have autism who also are LGBT. Then in retrospect, yet little training has been available to providers and staff working with either population, particularly in Utah.
Hence, the University of Utah Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic is partnering with the Utah Pride Center to host a day of training that focuses on bridging the gap between two communities: LGBT and autism spectrum disorder.
On Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, members of the communities mentioned above are encouraged to attend the LGBTQ-autism Training Exchange at UPC, 1380 S. Main St., 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
The program includes two training sessions. First is “Involving Autists” which will discuss the intersection between the autism and LGBT communities, as well as ways to understand and improve the lives of autists through their families, friends, and others. The second session, “LGBTQ+ Sensitivity” will discuss current ideas about terminology, needs, challenges, and barriers to access, and best practices.
Because seating is limited, please reserve your attendance by emailing Jimmy Lee at email@example.com.