STUDY: Children with Autism May Show Improvements by Age Six
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Maria Correa
A new Canadian study gives parents and family members of preschool age children diagnosed with autism hope that symptoms and everyday functioning may improve by age six.
Medline Plus reports on the study that found 11 percent of preschool age children diagnosed with autism show improvement in symptoms by age six. The study also found that 20 percent of children on the spectrum showed improvements in everyday functioning, or what’s called “adaptive functioning.” The girls in the study showed less severe symptoms and more improved symptoms overall than the boys.
The Canadian study, published in JAMA Psychiatry in January, focused on a child’s ability to complete daily tasks as well as improvement of symptoms of autism such as repetitive speech and rocking. How the two areas correlate is still a “mystery,” said Dr. Peter Szatmari, chief of the Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. "You can have a child over time who learns to talk, socialize and interact, but still has symptoms like flapping, rocking and repetitive speech...or you can have kids who aren't able to talk and interact, but their symptoms like flapping reduce remarkably over time,” said Szatmari.
Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, tells parents not to be discouraged at the small percentage of children who showed improvements in the study in part because the age of the child’s diagnosis can affect the severity of the symptoms.
For more information on how to support a niece or nephew on the spectrum, and their families, visit the Special Needs section here at SavvyAuntie.com.
Published February 3, 2015