Health + Safety

Study: Some Children May Lose Autism Diagnosis with Age

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Some children diagnosed with autism in early childhood may no longer have the disorder as they grow older, according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“Although the diagnosis of autism is not usually lost over time, the findings suggest that there is a very wide range of possible outcomes,” said Dr. Thomas R. Insel, NIMH director, said in a press release. “For an individual child, the outcome may be knowable only with time and after some years of intervention.”

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of developmental disorders that cause behavioral, social and communication problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate one in 88 children have an ASD.

The new study looked at 34 children between 8 and 21 who had an “optimal outcome,” meaning they were diagnosed with autism earlier in life but functioned normally compared to their peers later on. These subjects were matched by age, sex, and nonverbal IQ with 44 children with high-functioning autism and an additional 34 typically developing peers.