Some Children With Autism Recover, But How Many?
Parents of children with autism often wonder if their sons or daughters will ever recover from this life-altering developmental disorder. A study recently appearing in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry reports that some children with autism spectrum disorder do lose the symptoms as they get older, but the question is, how many children can hope to achieve this goal?
Autism is a significant health issue
It seems that every time new figures for the prevalence of autism are announced, they are more daunting. In March 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1 in every 88 children in the United States, and 1 in 54 boys, has autism. These figures are up 78 percent since 2002, when the figures were 1 in every 150 children.
One arm of research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of autism involves if, how, and when children can recover from autism symptoms and reach a developmental level that is on par with other children their age. The first of a series of reports on this line of study has just been released.
At the University of Connecticut, Storrs, 34 children who had been diagnosed with autism early in life but who now appear to be free of their symptoms were matched with 44 children with high-functioning autism and 34 typically developing peers. The age range of all the participants was 8 to 21 years.
Since one of the first concerns would be that the original diagnosis was inaccurate, even though prior studies had explored this possibility, the investigators conducted a two-step analysis. First the original diagnostic reports were reviewed by autism experts, then an expert (who was blind to the child’s current status) reviewed reports from which the earlier autism diagnosis has been deleted.
Investigators then evaluated the children’s current status by questioning the parents and using a variety of tests. Overall, here’s what the authors found: