In Kids Who Lose Autism Label, Struggles Often Persist - Disability Scoop

In Kids Who Lose Autism Label, Struggles Often Persist - Disability Scoop

Some children diagnosed with autism lose the label as they age, new
research suggests, but most continue to face other issues even though
they’re no longer on the spectrum.

In a study of 569 children diagnosed with autism as toddlers, 38 no
longer met the criteria for the developmental disorder when they were
re-evaluated four years later.

Among those who lost their autism diagnosis, researchers saw
improvements in socialization and cognitive functioning. Initially, most
qualified for an intellectual disability diagnosis as well, but nearly
all had typically IQs when they were evaluated the second time around.

Nonetheless, all but three of the kids no longer on the spectrum
continued to struggle with learning, emotional or behavioral issues, the
study found.

“Autism generally has been considered a lifelong condition, but 7
percent of children in this study who received an early diagnosis
experienced a resolution of autistic symptoms over time,” said Lisa
Shulman, a developmental pediatrician at the Albert Einstein College of
Medicine who presented the findings this week at the Pediatric Academic
Societies annual meeting in San Diego.

“Understanding the full range of possible positive outcomes in this
scenario is important information for parents, clinicians and the
educational system,” Shulman said.

All of the kids in the study were living in the Bronx and they were
monitored and provided intervention by clinicians with a
university-affiliated multidisciplinary team.

Shulman and her colleagues found that of the children no longer
qualifying for an autism diagnosis, 68 percent had language difficulties
or learning disabilities. About half had attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder or other behavioral problems and a quarter had
mood or anxiety issues.

About 20 percent of kids who lost their diagnosis remained in
self-contained classrooms, but the majority continued to need academic
supports, the study found.


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