“Can You Be Cured?”

One of the questions that I’m almost always asked when I talk about autism is: “Is there a cure?” Because it’s important to note that autism is a spectrum disorder and that there are children who are very mildly impacted by autism, as well as those who are moderate to severely impacted, I’m very cautious in my response. I have talked with many parents who have told me their child was “cured” after intensive ABA training. Certainly, I would not dispute their claims; however, I personally believe that there is not a cure for autism, in the conventional sense of the word “cure.” preschooler-messy-art-day

A recent research study looked at 570 children living in New York between the years 2003-2013. All the children had been diagnosed with ASD around 2 ½ years of age. However, 7% (38 children) showed no signs of autism by the time they were 6 years old. While all of these children were functioning within normal, cognitive range, 68% of the 38 also had learning disabilities. Nearly half had ADHD, and 25% had disabilities such as anxiety, OCD, or selective mutism. Only 3 of the 38 had no other diagnoses.

Yes, some of the characteristics of autism may decrease or even disappear, or a child learns to compensate for certain behaviors. But this does not necessarily mean that the child will not have learning or behavior challenges. As Dr. Shulman, study author, suggests: “Understanding the full range of possible positive outcomes in autism is important information for parents, clinicians, and the educational system.”

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5 Responses to “Can You Be Cured?”

  1. Mr. Miller says:

    It’s hard to say there’s a cure when there really isn’t anything definitively known about the cause. (Keep up the good work/blogs!)

  2. Erik says:

    I always tell everyone there is no cure. I have heard parents say their child was cured or is in remission but I know this can’t be true. My thought on this is that if a child progressed enough that they no longer tested as autistic, that maybe they were never correctly diagnosed in the first place. Sorry if that offends some but I know my daughter will never be cured.

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