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Saturday, April 6, 2013

"Outgrowing" Autism? More Misreporting of the Optimal Outcomes Study

Previous posts discussed news reports of a study on optimal outcomes, noting that they tended to suggest that kids with ASD can simply "outgrow" it.  Another such report has appeared on KABC in Los Angeles:
Autism is thought to be a lifelong disorder but new research produced some interesting results.

A small study suggests that some people diagnosed with autism can possibly outgrow it. The findings have got some experts changing the way they think about autism.
Jack's mom Leslie Griggs knew something was different about her son Jack.
"He wasn't making a lot of eye contact. He didn't have any words," Griggs said.
Jack has autism. Leslie says daily therapy sessions have made all the difference for him.
"He seems like he's more aware of us being in his world," Griggs said. "He's not in his own little world anymore."
While Jack has shown big improvements, a University of Connecticut study suggests some kids may actually outgrow the disorder.
One more time: The study does not use terms such as "outgrow" or "grow out of," which would suggest that the process is automatic, like losing baby teeth. The New York Times quotes lead author Deborah Fein:
Dr. Fein emphasized the importance of behavioral therapy. “These people did not just grow out of their autism,” she said. “I have been treating children for 40 years and never seen improvements like this unless therapists and parents put in years of work.” [emphasis added]