Speaker: Meng-Chuan Lai, M.D., Ph.D.
Affiliation: Staff Psychiatrist and Clinician Scientist, Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Canada); Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, and Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto (Canada)
Host:Dr. Pawan Sinha
Talk title: Sex, gender, and autism: From clinical to basic sciences
Abstract: There is increasing awareness to the complex influences of sex-related and gender-related factors on the presentation and recognition of autism. This knowledge comes from lived experiences shared by autistic individuals and their families, psychological and clinical research, and epidemiological observations. With this, autism is increasingly recognized in girls, women, and gender diverse people. This line of research unveils how the understanding spanning from classical to nuanced phenotypes of autism contributes to the epistemic iteration of the concept of autism. Meanwhile, there are increasing better-powered biological studies on the heterogeneity of autism related to sex (but much less so on the roles of gender attributes), and on the etiological relations between sex-related (but much less so gender-related) mechanisms and developmental mechanisms of autism. By integrating these new developments, I will share reflections on knowledge gaps, clinical implications, and research directions to improve the wellbeing of autistic people across sexes and genders.