About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Every faction in the autism blogosphere seems to have a different theory of recovery:

Biomed. Click here or here or here to read about biomed-based "recovery" stories.

ABA. The Autism Sourcebook, one of my ill-advised purchases, was authored by a parent whose son was supposedly recovered through ABA.

Floortime. Not to be outdone, Greenspan and Wieder claim that their methods caused an autistic group to become indistinguishable from a nonautistic group. (Greenspan/Wieder don't use the "rcovery" label, but the implication is the same.) In their study of 200 children with ASDs, 20 moved off the spectrum. See: Appendix A to Engaging Autism (p. 384).

Autism Speaks/Parent Advocacy. Advocacy groups don't acknowledge recovery because doing so is at odds with their purpose - to raise money for research and services.

So what's the truth? This blogger believes in spontaneous recovery. Some autistic children simply grow out of the diagnosis. In support of this theory is this 2006 peer-reviewed study, in which 19% of children diagnosed with PDD at age 2 were "off the spectrum" within a year. The children in the study weren't undergoing any specific protocol. For all we know, they were binging on gluten and casein. (Gasp!) So the subjects of the recovery stories heralded by each of the respective factions listed above were statistically likely to recover, with or without the therapy, be it biomed, ABA or floortime.

That's right. 19% of those diagnosed with PDD-NOS recover or lose the diagnosis. That's huge! So where's the scholarship? Where are the headlines?

Answer: there are none. Because recognizing spontaneous recovery doesn't serve the goals of any of the factions. Assuming the 19% figure is accurate, this means that almost one in five of those diagnosed at age 2 don't need the expensive services that are being pushed on them. Plus, fear sells. Spontaneous recovery doesn't even register on the autism scary-meter. Major media outlets couldn't care less.


Chuck said...

1 out of 5 could very easily be diagnostic errors of a very subjectively defined disorder, which is why the professionals don’t refer to it either.

Chuck said...

It looks like everything on this blog is the typical learning process of a parent looking for answers for their child.

Your list “About Brad” describes my son to a T except for the Autistic traits:

1) replace “blocks and his cars” with VCR/DVD tapes/cases
2) replace 25 months with 120 months

AspieMama said...

Wow...I haden't heard that statistic! I think that autistic kids often can do a lot better than we give them credit for! I didn't even know I was on the spectrum until I was an adult, and, while I had some problems, I did great in school and am very happy with my life!


~A Blog for Parents with Asperger's~

Laura said...

Chuck, too true. The medical profession doesn't advertise this inconvenient truth either.

aspiemama - you're preaching to the converted...