In the midst of all the unknowns in the diagnosis and treatment of autism
, UConn psychology professor Deborah Fein’s studies on recovery from autism have brought validation and hope to thousands of parents.
Fein and colleagues at the University of Connecticut studied 34 children and young adults (ages 8 to 21) who had been diagnosed with autism before age 5 but no longer had symptoms. All were doing well in mainstream classrooms without additional support.
Her research suggests that some children with autism can overcome the symptoms of the disorder over time and with intense therapy. She believes that at least 10 percent, and possibly as many as 20 percent, of children who receive a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder can “recover” from it if they are provided the right kind of intensive behavioral therapy.
Fein cautions that not all children achieve the same degree of progress from the treatment, which can take years. In fact, she says, most children with autism will remain autistic despite therapists and parents best efforts.
UConn’s search for breakthroughs in autism is leading to better outcomes and changing the course of children’s lives.