A 1981 study of autistic children found that gender identity was related to “mental age, chronological age, communication skills, physical skills, social skills, self-help skills and academic/cognitive skills.”
The study looked at 30 children and gave them the Michigan Gender Identity Test. The goal was to see if they could demonstrate a sense of gender identity.
This study is not available online, however, I was able to get some more information on it from another study (Case study: cross-gender preoccupations with two male children with autism.)
According to Williams et al., Abelson’s study indicated that “the establishment of gender identity in children with autism (as demonstrated by recognizing one’s own self as a boy or a girl) appeared to be dependent on mental age and cognitive abilities, and was correlated with the establishment of other social and self-help skills. Abelson expressed some optimism that many children with autism have the ability to recognize themselves as boys and girls, and thus form effective ties with the identified group, which leads to more acceptable social interaction patterns.”