Autism Disappearing in Some Adults
A recent study shows that the telltale signs of autism are vanishing in some cases as children become adults. There are, certainly, a vast number of autistic adults and people whose symptoms do not change over time, but the small-scale study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry has indicated that some people do outgrow such symptoms. Speech delay, facial recognition deficits and social interactions all seemed to disappear for a few of the 34 children studied. The study was conducted over several years among a group of children all diagnosed with autism at a very young age.
Findings suggest that initial social markers early on might be a sign of the later fading of autism. Perhaps the children who have overcome the overt symptoms have simply learned to function with the disorder. If social skills were more advanced than other children with autism, it is possible that the children read social cues and determined that it was necessary to become more socially adept. With the study promoting hope in the hearts of many parents with an autistic child, Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health reminds them that, “Although the diagnosis of autism is not usually lost over time, the findings suggest that there is a very wide range of possible outcomes.”
The study was conducted and then re-evaluated several times to ensure accuracy. Only in re-evaluation was it evident that the children who showed a reversal of symptoms had originally tested with higher social rankings than other children. It was not a difference between high-functioning autism and regular autism, but rather individual variance that seems to have led to each child’s different outcome. Equally important to note is that all participants in the study attended mainstream education with no special aid or assistance throughout school. This further emphasizes the individuality of each child’s outcome.
Other Learning Disabilities
While the study gives hope to parents of children with all manner of learning disabilities (LD), it seems that so far, no connection has been shown for other LD children reversing the symptoms. There is evidence that children with ADD and ADHD often have a change in symptoms as they reach adulthood, but this is not to say that symptoms vanish entirely. Children who are given appropriate, early intervention can often catch up to their peers and make enormous academic as well as personal strides even in the face of LDs. To use the phrase “outgrown” in terms of a typical LD would be inaccurate, however, many adults experience a change in symptoms as they grow older.
It is true to say that many adults no longer need their medication for disorders such as ADD and ADHD, but this may or may not be a true “outgrowing” of the physical components of the disorder. In order to understand learning disabilities, it is critical to recognize that these are physical, just as much as any visible or obvious disability. It simply has to do with the brain rather than the body. LDs are physical disorders that people can learn to live with and even excel with.
Adult ADD and ADHD are quite different from childhood versions of the same disorders. Many people impacted by LDs are able to learn to function without assistance or medication. While their brain chemistry and makeup remain the same, such people are able to learn to compensate for the symptoms they experience. The adaptability of such people is a phenomenal accomplishment and should be recognized as such.
Many persons with LDs will experience inevitable changes to their body chemistry upon reaching adulthood. If medication is being used to manage the LD, then between the ages of 18 and 25 would be a good time to re-evaluate the LD and determine if a change is needed going forward.
A health insurance spokesman from Helpmechoose, said that not all policies covered learning difficulties, so if they run in your family that is something you need to take into account when choosing a policy. Talk to your doctor as well as your health insurancecompany to be sure you are aware of the changes that may impact you moving forward.Even if the LD remains, it is not unlikely that the body will change enough to require a different form and type of medication to manage changing needs and some insurance companies have different coverage policies for adults and children.