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.