I’ve seen boys being routinely misdiagnosed as ADD and medicated for it just for being well… boys. But as problematic as randomly tossing Ritalin at inquisitive boys is… this is even more serious.
Even more basic than that, if we don’t have a firm grasp of gender differences in how young children communicate and socialize, we can mistake traditional masculine behavior for high-functioning autism.
Many boys just get perplexed when you try to empathize with them. As an example, I recently had the following interaction with Alan, an eight-year-old:
Alan: In my soccer game over the weekend, the other forwards on my team never passed to me. I was so mad.
Dr. Gnaulati: You were mad because your teammates didn’t pass to you, eh.
Alan: Why are you repeating what I just said? Didn’t you hear me?