Growing out of autism?

JCPP

Jackie Bessant has sent us news of a controversial article recently published in the Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry which suggests that some children might outgrow autism, thus challenging the view that this is a lifelong condition.

A team from the University of Connecticut found that a group of children diagnosed with autism in early childhood went on to function as well as a similar number of children in the control group. They showed no sign of problems with language, face recognition, communication or social interaction. The researchers verified the accuracy of the original diagnoses but found no evidence of inaccuracy.

Caution, however, is urged not least because the total number of children studied was only 112. The National Institute of Mental Health suggest a number of possible explanations for these new findings:

  • some children can outgrow the condition
  • some develop compensatory strategies to deal with difficulties
  • autism affects different people in different ways
  • autism is not accurately defined

Most UK diagnoses are based on the International Classification of Diseases published by the World Health Organisation. This is due for revision in 2015 when a number of conditions will come under a generic term of ‘autism spectrum disorder’ and the perceived impairments reduced to two areas.

Thanks Jacky for this very interesting article

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