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Some autistic kids succeed and others struggle - Why?


Autism is a “wide spectrum disorder” which means that it has a wide variety of symptoms and treatments. Children respond in many different ways to the many different interventions.

Researchers from Columbia University in New York explain that although the vast majority of kids who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continue to have ASD diagnosis throughout adolescence, how they develop differs significantly.

Learning more about why some therapies work while others don’t could help researchers better understand how etiology, family characteristics and therapies shape ASD.

Christine Fountain, PhD, Alix S. Winter, BA, and Peter S. Bearman PhD, have identified six of the most common paths that children with ASD take from the moment diagnosis is made to fourteen years. To do so they focused on trajectories of the children’s communications skills, social aptitudes, and repetitive behaviors. During the study, they found that some kids made rapid progress while others struggled.

Socioeconomic factors

About one in every ten ASD kids made rapid and substantial improvements and moved from a diagnosis of severely affected to one of high functioning. Those who made the most progress tended to be children of non-Hispanic white, well-educated mothers.

Children from poorer households made less progress. Equal access to treatment and education of parents is crucial to treatment.

“Children with autism have heterogeneous developmental pathways. One group of children evidenced remarkable developmental change over time. Understanding what drives these outcomes is thus critical,” summarized the authors of the study.

Source: MedcalNewsToday, Pediatrics

photo by Scott Vaughan

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