Can children outgrow autism?

The Week
Jenny McCarthy, pictured in 2007 with her son, has reportedly said she believes her boy has outgrown autism.
.

View photo

Jenny McCarthy, pictured in 2007 with her son, has reportedly said she believes her boy has outgrown autism.

Though far from conclusive, optimistic new research finds that some kids' symptoms fade over time

Autism might not be a lifelong condition after all, according to a new study published by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers who studied 112 children with the disorder found that 34 of them, as they grew older, became indistinguishable from their non-autistic peers in the classroom. To ensure that the original diagnoses of these 34 children were legit, the researchers analyzed their medical files, and found no reason to suspect that mistakes were made. According to the BBC, the kids now show "no sign of problems with language, face recognition, communicating with others, or social interactions." 

Experts caution that the study is far from conclusive. Other factors could explain why their symptoms faded: One could be that some children really do outgrow the condition as their bodies change. Or, it could be that the students learn to compensate for the disability's shortcomings as they age. Other experts suggest that the catch-all term "autism," which can vastly differ from person to person, casts too-wide a net and is still improperly defined. (Via BBC)

 

SEE ALSO: 5 important facts and misconceptions about Asperger's syndrome

View this article on TheWeek.com Get 4 Free Issues of The Week

Other stories from this section:

Like on Facebook - Follow on Twitter - Sign-up for Daily Newsletter
View Comments