10% Heal Completely From Autism But What About The 90%?

10% healed completely from autism. Well, what about the 90%? It’s a very good question.

So in 2010 researchers reported results from following 207 kids diagnosed with autism at age two and found that about 9% showed “optimal progress” at age four. Meaning that they had autism at age two and no longer had autism at age four -that’s what these researchers are classifying optimal progress. That means they’ve healed completely from autism. 

The researchers were a little hesitant to say “optimal outcome” because these kids are only four years old, so we don’t want to put too much pressure on them. I’ve actually spoken to the researchers and asked them point-blank, why is it “optimal progress” as opposed to something else? But that is the reason why for four year olds, they use the term “optimal progress.” 

A quote from the research,

Although for many children, autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong disability, in subset of children with ASD lose their diagnosis and show typical cognitive and adaptive abilities.

So this is where the stat 10% heal completely from autism comes from, and this is well-regarded research, extremely highly regarded research, but you can see how the verbiage, the words that are used here, in that one sentence, they’re talking about:

“lose their diagnosis” 
“optimal progress” (discussed above)
“optimal outcome” (technically is what scientists prefer to use when someone has moved off the spectrum completely and they’re little bit older)

Many people use the word heal. Some use the word cure and others use the word recovery regardless of which word you use. 

You need to understand that healing from autism completely is possible, regardless of what you call it, whether it’s “lose the diagnosis”, “optimal progress”, “optimal outcome”, “healed” “care recovery”. Moving off the spectrum completely is possible and routinely done.

Is This The Only Study That Quantified Total Healing?  No.​

There are many studies. Let me just walk you through two.

So one article, one scientific article is called “Recovery from the Diagnosis of Autism?” These researchers conclude that out of 208 kids with autism that they studied, 17 no longer had autism, although there were other issues. 

Another research and this one is from Spain. The Spanish researchers found that about 20% of the children diagnosed with autism cease to meet the criteria on which their diagnosis was based, and furthermore, achieve a satisfactory social and occupational adjustment.

The numbers, the actual percentages do vary from country to country, but it’s great to see that complete and total healing for autism is possible worldwide.

Optimal Outcome Is Actually A Field Of Research

This is not discussed often in mainstream media, but “optimal outcome,” meaning complete healing from autism, losing the diagnosis, recovery, cure, whatever word you want to use – it’s actually a field of research.

Active research, researchers really trying to understand how this is happening because it does happen. And, it happens so frequently, that there is now a field of research in autism studying and how are people no longer on the spectrum.

The Autism Speaks 2017 Report on Autism and Health states that between 54 and 70% of people with autism also have one or more other mental health conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. 

Now, another part of the research is studying what happens after this optimal outcome. What happens after someone heals completely from autism? Then what do they do? So here’s a quote from an article:

Since autism spectrum disorder is often comorbid with psychiatric disorders, children who no longer meet the criteria for ASD optimal outcome may still be at risk for psychiatric disorders. 

So the research into healing completely from autism is so advanced that they’re at the point of studying what else happens once a child comes off the spectrum, what other things should the parent you’re looking out for when someone comes off the spectrum. So that’s how far this research has advanced. 

And in the scientific world, that is, that’s how far this research has advanced. This information is really not well known in the mainstream, but you know it now.

Now let’s get back to the 90% so what is happening with the 90%? It’s just not quantified yet. So there’s some really great research out there showing improvements, and that’s what I want to show in the next two research reports that I go through. 

Stability And Change In ASD Symptoms From Childhood To Young Adulthood

This is an abstract from an autism research meeting that occurred in May 2017, so this is about as cutting edge research on autism that you can get. These researchers were exploring if all symptoms improve or do specific symptoms have their own healing trajectories. 

They studied 132 children that were followed from the age 2 all the way through the age of 18 – they followed each individual child. They recruited them at age two and then follow them for 16 years. They assessed them at five ages: 2, 3, 5, 9 and 18 most were language delayed at age two. They were able to break down the children into these groups,

  • Verbal at age 2 and verbal at 18
  • Delayed at 2 and verbal at 18
  • Delayed at 2 and minimally verbal at 18

Don’t let anyone tell you that if your child’s not speaking at age two, that they won’t be able to be speaking at age 18 because you can see from these researchers, that’s one of their groups that they’re studying delayed speech at age two and verbal at 18 it’s possible, right? 

They’re not even questioning is that possible? No. The researchers in autism clearly know that Autism symptoms change throughout a child’s life. That’s a fact of autism that is not even questioned anymore. And you can see that as true because one of the groups here is delayed at age 2, verbal at age 18

The last group is delayed at age 2and minimally verbal at 18.

These researchers were looking at nonverbal behaviors, shared enjoyment, and socio-emotional reciprocity. 

Let’s look at the results. Consistent with other research, overall symptoms decreased. That tells you what the 90% are doing. The minimally verbal group experienced the most persistent symptoms and least improvement. That makes sense.

The reduction of most symptoms seems to be related to language development. Items relating to nonverbal communicative behaviors (inappropriate facial expression and social smiling) showed stable or worsening trajectories.

This data suggest, however, that apparent improvements in some symptoms may be attributable to language gains. These findings underscore the difficulty in separating social and language abilities and the need to consider language skills when interpreting estimates of social-communicative behaviors. It’s absolutely amazing that these researchers know symptoms can be improved, and here they’re attributing them to language gains. 

So the more your child can speak and communicate, the less their symptoms and that makes total sense. It’s what we’re striving to, I believe, as parents, at least I know that’s what I do. I want to know what my daughter is thinking, feeling – that’s what matters and that’s where the connection comes from. 

It makes sense that other autism symptoms would decrease when you start building that connection with your child. So again, this is the 90% overall symptoms decreased. Things can get better. It’s just there isn’t a quantification of how much better they’re getting.

IQ-Based Developmental Phenotypes of ASD Between Ages 2 – 7 Years & Their Correlates​

This was a longitudinal study of intelligence quotient (IQ) of 97 children with ASD. Now we all know there is something called the low functioning part of the spectrum, and that’s basically children who show low IQ. 

And now, unfortunately, many people wrongly believe that if someone has a low IQ when they’re on the autism spectrum, that means that they’ll always have a low IQ. Not true.

These researchers follow changes in IQ, adaptive functioning, problem behaviors, and autism severity. There were three groups:

Greater challenges” meaning their IQs are less than or equal to 77 at both times that they were measured. There were 36 children in this group and that represents about 37% of the cohorts in the study.

Lesser challenges” the children in this group had IQs greater than or equal to 75 at both times that were measured. There were 23 children in this cohort, and that’s about 24% of the study.

Changers” their IQs were less than 82 at age two and the IQs were greater than or equal to 70 at age seven with an increase of one or more standard deviations. That is amazing. There were 38 children that were part of this changers group, and that represented 39% of the cohort studied.

Absolutely amazing. For almost 40% of chosen to studied, increased in their IQ. Everyone needs to know that you cannot underestimate a low functioning autistic child. You cannot because things can change. And scientifically it’s proven that things can change and it was apparent. We kind of know these things, but now the science is there to back us up. 

So 39% of these children started with IQs that were very low initially but increased in IQ by at least one standard deviation. The changers, this changers group also showed significant reductions in externalizing symptoms by age seven suggesting that reducing these symptoms by middle childhood is related to positive changes in cognitive development and adaptive functioning. 

Only the lesser challenges group showed a significant reduction in autism symptoms severity during this period. There’s that 90%, they show a significant reduction in autism symptoms severity during that period from age two to seven. Now, one of the other really exciting things is it’s generally thought that I Q stabilizes by the age of five. 

This research, not only is fantastic, it’s showing to have faith in our children who are on the low end of the autism spectrum. These scientists, we’re able to study a change in IQ past that critical period of a five-year-old right there. There’s that window of opportunity, that pressure that we all feel- I got to get things done for my child before they hit five. 

No, no. This research blows that window of opportunity theory out of the water. It’s not true. And the fantastic thing is these researchers are continuing to follow these children to see how they progress through the rest of their life. So this is amazing research. I hope you’re as excited as I am. I’m beyond excited. 

Don’t give up on the 90% don’t just think, okay, the 90% yeah nothing happens and you’re just stuck the way you are and there’s nothing you can do. Ah, that’s so far from the truth.

So 10% ballpark, completely heal when that’s only what researchers are studying. But there’s so much great stuff that can happen with the 90% and this really is just the beginning of understanding autism and our children are wonderful. Don’t give up on them. There are such great things for them.

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