The study followed a group who were diagnosed with autism as a child then lost their symptoms as adults.
(Image source: hepingting / flickr ) BY STEVEN SPARKMAN ANCHOR CHRISTIAN BRYANT A new study is challenging the idea that autism spectrum disorder always lasts a lifetime by showing some kids diagnosed with ASD grow up to lose their symptoms. The study followed a group who were diagnosed as children but lost the diagnosis as adults. The subjects were given communication and socialization tests, and scored as well as non-autistic adults. But what’s really exciting about the study is that they ruled out one of the more common explanations for people seeming to grow out of their disorder: misdiagnosis. They reviewed the original records and found that, yes, the childhood diagnosis was the right call at the time. The study prompted a slew of articles saying children may “grow out” of their autism. But, as a Fox News medical correspondent explains , the study raises more questions than it answers. (Via BBC , NHS , Fox News ) “Did they get better for biological reasons? Did they get better because there’s some genetics that caused this group to get better? Did they get better because of the therapy? Or did they just mature?” It may also be that those who lose their symptoms have the perfect combination of factors: they had very mild symptoms as children, and most of them had some sort of behavioral treatment. And the lead researcher tells the New York Times , the outcomes didn’t come on their own. “These people did not just grow out of their autism … I have been treating children for 40 years and never seen improvements like this unless therapists and parents put in years of work.” What’s more, it could be that these adults still have autism, but have learned how to manage it effectively enough to pass the tests. A writer for Forbes reached out to autistic friends to ask about their experiences: “They wrote to me about self-monitoring, about working hard to compensate in social situations but then experiencing crashing exhaustion afterward. … The concepts that came up again and again and again were ‘compensating’ and ‘coping.’” Researchers are trying to manage expectations, saying the study doesn’t show autism is curable or reversible, and only a small portion of kids will lose their symptoms as they grow up. A CNN correspondent says the takeaway for parents is pretty simple. “Get them the best treatment that you can get them. Maybe they’ll outgrow it, or ‘recover,’ so to speak. Maybe they won’t. But either way you’ve got to do the same thing: get them the best treatment you can get them.” According to the CDC, autism spectrum disorder affects one in 88 kids.