Outgrowing Autism???

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM

I know what you may be thinking cause I've thought the same thing. This is only my 3rd post on this site and it's the second that I've done around autism. But this piece of information that I read resonates because of a conversation that I heard last week about a parent wondering if their child could "outgrow" autism. I began to think about what that meant and coincidentally, shortly after, I stumbled upon this article.

The question that is posed is "Who can outgrow autism?"

A recent study shows that some can outgrow autism and recover fully. A team of researchers from the University of Connecticut reported that they had identified 34 people who were diagnosed with autism, but who had later outgrown it.

According to Dr. Thomas Insel, head of the National Institute of Mental Health, says that the study "provides convincing evidence there is a group of people who certainly have all of the symptoms of an autism-spectrum disorder when they're young, who look like they have no symptoms later."

The article does, however, state that these individuals weren't studied closely, so there is a possibility that they didn't have autism or were misdiagnosed. But for those who really did have an autism-spectrum disorder, experts attribute a combination of factors to their recovery that include early, high-quality therapy and biological and genetic factors.

Deborah Fein, a professor of psychology and pediatrics at the University of Connecticut estimates that 10% to 20% of children who were diagnosed with autism may achieve "optimal outcomes," meaning they will essentially outgrow it.

"Recovering" from autism is rare according to the experts. But what about those whose traits of autism remain? I have a hard time thinking of them as "sick." We are aware that there are challenges that come with caring for children with autism, but we shouldn't be sitting around and waiting for them to be "healed."

I pose the question again: What if they don't "recover"?

I'm not a parent, so I couldn't put myself in the shoes of those who have, at one point, waited on the arrival of their child from the womb. But I can assume that there were thoughts of the many activities that you would partake in with that child. I imagine that fathers waited on sons so that he could go to his first baseball game. I imagine that mothers waited on daughters so that she could see her in her first beauty pageant. I assume that parents are taken aback when they first hear of their child being diagnosed with autism, or anything for that matter. 

But I also hope. I hope that they still love their child the same and take the new challenges that await them head on. Because that's the only difference. Similar to anything challenging in life, caring for an autistic child takes time and patience but it also takes love and diligence. There's no need to wait for a recovery, by doing this you will miss out on the joy that these children bring. 

Categories: Autism, Blogger: Nevone Blount

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