Not all autistic people have a large head?

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Joe90
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11 Oct 2021, 5:17 am

I keep reading that people on the spectrum have larger heads than average, but this has never been the case for me. I didn't have a large head when I was a baby nor as a child, and as an adult I actually have to buy the smallest size hats, sometimes even kids size, because average-sized hats always seem too big for me. Same with headphones - they have to be adjusted as small as possible to fit my small head.

Can people on the spectrum have small heads too?


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magz
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11 Oct 2021, 5:25 am

My friend with exceptionally small head (and exceptionally high intelligence, too) is diagnosed with AS.
My diagnosed daughter has smaller head than the undiagnosed one.

I think if there is any correlation, it's minimal.


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11 Oct 2021, 5:30 am

I haven't noticed autistic people specifically having large heads, and I've met a lot IRL. I'm an exception to that though as my head swelled as a baby due to pressure in the brain, but even my head's not noticeably bigger than most anymore.



Joe90
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11 Oct 2021, 5:40 am

I suppose I've got to remember that all things seem to be correlated with autism whether there's any medical evidence or not.


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kraftiekortie
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11 Oct 2021, 6:03 am

I have a rather large head…..but small feet :P



carlos55
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11 Oct 2021, 6:40 am

I believe in some autistic cases there is brain overgrowth maybe causing larger heads.

Unfortunately the saying more is less is true in this regard.

In small children there is sometimes early brain overgrowth then a plateau, this may explain why some young autistic children learn some skills like letter / number recognition before their peers but are eventually overtaken as they plateau or regress on skills in development and unfortunately become ID.

A rather cruel twist to parents who initially believed their baby was intellectually gifted.


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11 Oct 2021, 6:42 am

Joe90 wrote:


Can people on the spectrum have small heads too?

I have a small head, a thin face, and a small mouth as well. I can't wear many "adult-sized" hats, and I can easily wear children's glasses/frames.


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kraftiekortie
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11 Oct 2021, 7:39 am

I could count to 100 and read flashcards before I was able to talk. I was NOT mistaken for "intellectually gifted." In fact, the psychologist thought institutionalization might be best for me.



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11 Oct 2021, 8:35 am

Joe90 wrote:
I keep reading that people on the spectrum have larger heads than average, but this has never been the case for me. I didn't have a large head when I was a baby nor as a child, and as an adult I actually have to buy the smallest size hats, sometimes even kids size, because average-sized hats always seem too big for me. Same with headphones - they have to be adjusted as small as possible to fit my small head.

Can people on the spectrum have small heads too?


I just did some light sifting through the scientific literature out there on this particular subject, and it seems that there is a lot of conflicting data. Most studies make a note of a small percentage of boys with larger than normal sized heads (ranging from ~10-20% of the children participating in each study). A lot of these studies had small sample sizes to boot.

None of these studies noted a marked incidence of macroencephaly in girls (let it be known that many studies do not include girls). Microcephaly was also seen in some individuals, but this was a much rarer occurrence.


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kraftiekortie
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11 Oct 2021, 8:45 am

Truly, I feel at least some instances of autistic folks having "larger heads" have an origin beyond uncomplicated autism.

Jack Nicholson has a very large head; he's not in the least bit autistic.

I feel like the Courchesne Theory-----the one where the brain grows rapidly, and the amount of neural networks grow rapidly, and where "redundant" neural networks are not dispensed with----is valid, though.



SharonB
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11 Oct 2021, 9:11 am

Flown wrote:
...None of these studies noted a marked incidence of macroencephaly in girls (let it be known that many studies do not include girls). Microcephaly was also seen in some individuals, but this was a much rarer occurrence.


My family is a family of mostly ASD women. My grandmother, my mother, myself and my daughter have normal- or small-sized heads - my daughter's head was considered small at birth although overall she was considered abnormally large (and received extra monitoring). That said, only 1 of us is officially diagnosed with ASD, and none of us have been included in studies. My NT husband has a large head - and it's more cubicle than round. My BFF also has a normal head and is in a relationship with a NT man with a large, cubicle head. Teasing: Maybe ASD woman are more likely to marry men with cubicle heads?



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11 Oct 2021, 10:16 am

My head is the smallest of my work colleagues. After years of borrowing everyone else's welding masks, I always need to alter the strap size.

Everyone else seems to have disagreeably bulbous heads that I remind them of regularly.



Ade C
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11 Oct 2021, 1:29 pm

What is this nonsense? Are we going back to the Victorian era with phrenology?



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11 Oct 2021, 1:52 pm

Personally I'm more inclined to believe that the vast majority of studies are heavily lacking in data considering things like the difficulty of identifying milder cases of autism, getting enough samples from the same age brackets, non-autistic genetic influences, lack of genetic data to figure out what's genetically 'normal' for each autist, and missing data from huge locales where autists are forced to hide, have higher fatalities, and/or research is nill because of discrimination, a lack of support or even recognition for autism. I'd be more inclined to believe such studies farther in the future when research, support and acceptance are more globally prevalent.

For anecdotal curiosity: I and my father's side all have rather large heads. Standard sized hats are always too small. Sometimes even the larger of the two hats that come in only two sizes are pretty uncomfortable. That being said, the males of my father's side tend to be around and a little taller than 6 feet (1.83m), and my mother's family are fairly tall for their ethnicity. We don't have absurdly large heads or anything. Larger than average, but not enough to be remarkably so.


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carlos55
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11 Oct 2021, 2:02 pm

Lots of different autism/s lots of different causes, some causes lead to large heads others not, some lead to symptoms you could live with others not. That`s the easiest way to look at it.


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naturalplastic
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12 Oct 2021, 12:26 am

i have a big head, and have trouble finding hats that fit me.

But I dont know about anyone else's hat size.