Laurent Mottron, Morton Ann Gernsbacher and Michelle Dawson, amongst others, are probably not happy with the latest autism research news out of Chicago where a study was presented at an autism conference by University of Connecticut psychology professor Deborah Fein showing recovery of between 10 and 20% of subjects originally diagnosed as autistic who were later determined to have lost the autism diagnosis after years of intensive applied behavioral analysis.
Autism researcher Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, called Fein's research a breakthrough.
"Even though a number of us out in the clinical field have seen kids who appear to recover," it has never been documented as thoroughly as Fein's work, Dawson said.
Previous studies have suggested between 3 percent and 25 percent of autistic kids recover. Fein says her studies have shown the range is 10 percent to 20 percent.
But even after lots of therapy _ often carefully designed educational and social activities with rewards _ most autistic children remain autistic.
Recovery is "not a realistic expectation for the majority of kids," but parents should know it can happen, Fein said.Fein is being responsible in cautioning that recovery will not happen for most children with autism who receive ABA. But that does not mean that it is an all or nothing proposition either. Gains in reducing problem behaviors as in self injurious behavior and aggression, and skill acquisition with ABA use are well documented as noted in the American Academy of Pediatrics Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders report (2007):