4.4 Optimal outcomes
Longitudinal work by a few research groups suggests that a small group of children with an autism spectrum diagnosis completely lose the symptoms consistent with this diagnosis, though they may retain some subtle symptoms similar to ADHD (Suh et al., 2016). Research into what factors might promote this outcome is still at an early stage. Deborah Fein, a leading researcher in this field, suggests that a high proportion of the optimal outcomes group have received intensive early ABA intervention (see Week 5), but also speculates that biological factors may differentiate the group from others on the autism spectrum
This kind of outcome is not common, and becoming free of autism should not be considered the only good outcome. Some feel that their autism is integral to their identity and would not wish to lose it. And as the lives of Timothy Baron, Donald Triplett and Wenn Lawson all show, positive outcomes in adulthood should be evaluated in relation to the individual.