The study, posted online on Wednesday by the Journal of Child
Psychology and Psychiatry, is the largest to date of such extraordinary cases
and is likely to alter the way that scientists and parents think and talk about
autism, experts told The New York Times.
The report also cautioned
against false hope, citing researchers.
The findings suggest that the
so-called autism spectrum contains a small but significant group who make big
improvements in behavioural therapy for unknown, perhaps biological reasons, but
that most children show much smaller gains.
Doctors have no way to
predict which children will do well.
According to the report, researchers
have long known that between 1 and 20 percent of children given an autism
diagnosis no longer qualify for one a few years or more later.
suspected that in most cases the diagnosis was mistaken; the rate of autism
diagnosis has ballooned over the past two decades, and some research suggests
that it has been loosely applied.”
The new study should put some of that
scepticism to rest, it said.
“This is the first solid science to address
this question of possible recovery, and I think it has big implications,” Sally
Ozonoff of the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, who was
not involved in the research told The New York Times.
“I know many of us
as would rather have had our tooth pulled than use the word ‘recover,’ it was so
unscientific. Now we can use it, though I think we need to stress that it’s
She and other experts said the findings strongly supported the
value of early diagnosis and treatment.
In the study, a team led by
Deborah Fein of the University of Connecticut at Storrs recruited 34 people who
had been diagnosed before the age of 5 and no longer had any
They ranged in age from 8 to 21 years old and early in their
development were in the higher-than-average range of the autism
The team conducted extensive testing of its own, including
interviews with parents in some cases, to gauge current social and communication
The debate over whether recovery is possible has simmered for
decades and peaked in 1987, when the pioneering autism researcher O Ivar Lovaas
reported that 47 percent of children with the diagnosis showed full recovery
after undergoing a therapy he had devised.
A developmental disorder,
autism robs children of communication and behavioural skills. No one can say why
it develops, but it appears within three years of age.
official estimates, there are 0.15 million people living with autism in
Bangladesh which has been seen a ‘role model’ for autism care in the south-east
The United Nations and World Health Organisation recently
adopted resolutions proposed by Bangladesh for the member states to work for the
people with autism spectrum disorder.