CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Reported by CJ Paschall.

University of Virginia researchers and a coalition of scientists are trying to discover why boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders than girls. But that doesn't mean boys are simply more likely to have autism than girls.

Kevin Pelphrey, of UVA’s Department of Neurology, fears many girls are simply never diagnosed and miss out on treatment. "First and foremost, why is it that we might be missing girls with autism? How can we improve diagnosis rates?"

While differences in early autism symptoms between boys and girls may be one cause, Pelphrey said research suggests girls may actually have certain biological protections against autism spectrum disorders that boys don't.