Some children with an accurate diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may eventually “outgrow” the diagnosis and have normal levels of overall functioning that are within normal testing limits, new research suggests.
The study compared 34 school-age children and young adults with a prior diagnosis of ASD who had achieved “optimal outcome” (no current symptoms of the disorder) with 44 matched individuals with high-functioning autism (HFA) and 34 typically developing peers.
Results showed that the first and third groups did not differ significantly on mean test scores of communication, social interaction, face recognition, and most language subscales. Although the optimal outcome group had milder symptoms of social dysfunction than the HFA group during their early developmental years, difficulties with communication and repetitive behaviors were equally severe.
“I wasn’t too surprised by the overall findings, but it was surprising just how indistinguishable from typically developing most of these kids were on virtually every measure,” lead author Deborah Fein, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, told Medscape Medical News.
by Deborah Brauser, Medscape News