Good news; Some autistic children get better with time; Research

Autism

Researchers have found that some children with autism show improvements with time.

[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /] This research has been published online in April 2 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers worked on 6975 children and studied children of two to 14 years of age with at least four evaluations. They recorded symptoms of social and communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviors of the children in those annual evaluations.

autismResearchers have reported that the social and communication skills of some of the autistic children, who have milder symptoms, improves with therapy, i.e. they “bloom”, over time while some of the children, with severe autistic conditions, continue to face the problems as they get older. They have also reported that white kids and those children whose parents were more educated had less severe autistic symptoms and they showed increase improvement in the age range of three to 12.

“There’s a wide variety of children with different kinds of symptoms that fall within this (autism) umbrella,” said Christine Fountain, the lead author of the study and an autism researcher at Columbia University in New York. “We were interested in how these symptoms play out over time.”

Children who had other intellectual disabilities along with autism showed decrease chances of improvement.

“Although we are unable to identify the specific mechanisms through which socioeconomic status affects trajectory outcomes, the intervening variables likely include home and neighborhood environments, quality and intensity of treatment, quality of education, the efficacy with which parents are able to advocate for their children with institutions providing services, and many other factors in various permutations,” the authors wrote.

On the same day, when the study is published World Autism Awareness Day has been celebrated. On that day, United Nations (UN) wanted to spread awareness of autism which is affecting tens of millions of people globally.

“Autism is not limited to a single region or a country; it is a worldwide challenge that requires global action,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a written statement.

Autism speaks has reported that the autism is costing the nation about $126 billion per year. Moreover, in a recent study it has been found that 1 in 88 children are affected with autism.

“These figures make it all the more clear that our society as a whole needs to become engaged in solving this public health emergency,” says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson, Ph.D. “All of us are touched by autism and its economic burden. We need our national and state leaders – and political candidates – to rise to the challenge by making autism one of our top public health priorities.”

Reference:

Christine Fountain, PhD, Alix S. Winter, BA, and Peter S. Bearman, PhD, (2012). Six Developmental Trajectories Characterize Children With Autism. Pediatrics, doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1601

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