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Is autism permanent? Some children diagnosed with autism seem to grow out of the core symptoms.

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I never realized that a small minority of autistic kids seem to recover and become neurotypical. Also this outcome can be controversial within the community.

Even in the article they wonder if those kids had been misdiagnosed:

In the modern history of autism studies, researchers noticed that some children—estimates vary widely, from about 3 percent to 25 percent—seemed to lose the social and communication impairments and repetitive behaviors that define autism. But researchers often assumed either that most of those children had been misdiagnosed and never had autism to begin with, or that they continued to have autism with less obvious symptoms.

Applied Behavior Analysis has met with some success:

In 1987, University of California–Los Angeles psychologist Ole Ivar Lovaas reported that half of young children who were treated for at least 40 hours per week with a type of autism therapy called applied behavior analysis, or ABA, became “indistinguishable” from other children by the time they finished first grade. His finding drove support for early, intensive intervention for children with autism.

ABA, first used as a treatment for autism in the 1960s, relies on principles of learning theory, including prompting and rewarding desirable behaviors such as social interaction, and minimizing behaviors, such as repetitive movements, that interfere with learning. Many forms of autism therapy are based on these principles. Alex’s therapists, for example, used a modified form of ABA to teach him basic aspects of social communication such as meeting another person’s gaze, pointing when he wanted something, and mimicking actions like waving.

Traditional ABA and newer variations have been shown to significantly improve children’s cognitive and language skills, as well as adaptive behaviors.

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