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Article : Road to "recovery", what does it mean to lose an autism diagnosis ?

le 10 février 2016

[Interactive Autism Network] Such a simple gesture: waving good-bye. Toddlers see their parents do it, and repeat it. But children with autism don't instinctively imitate other people, not usually. Jake Exkorn was one such toddler. In a home video, Jake is being taught to wave bye-bye by an autism therapist; she grabs his arm and waves it for him, again and again. He seems wooden, remote.

Then, fast forward about 15 years, there's Jake as a young adult, being recorded by another video camera. This time, he smiles easily, warmly. "When I see the [old] videos it amazes me that at one point in my life, I had autism, and it makes me realize how fortunate I am to recover," he says.2 Jake is among a minority of people who "lose" their autism diagnosis. He doesn't have many memories of having autism, just those videos.

Nothing inspires more interest, debate, and even concern, than the idea that someone could "recover" from a brain-based condition like autism. The notion fuels an industry that offers treatments, both proven and dubious; triggers both hope and sadness; and fuels political and academic controversy. Is recovery real, and is it good?

Studies have estimated that from 3 percent to 25 percent of children with autism lose their diagnosis.3 Some have wondered: did those who recover really have autism at the outset? Did they lose their diagnosis but still have autistic symptoms, even subtle ones?

Source Interactive Autism Network