If you are a parent of a child with autism special needs, thinking about the possibility of recovery from autism special needs can evoke a great deal of emotion.

If you’re a parent of an autism special needs child and don’t believe that some autism special needs children have the ability to recover 100 per cent, do more research on autism special needs. Open your mind to possibility. Recovered children are no different from any other children and recovery being possible for autism special needs children is not a new idea. Just because you haven’t seen recovery as a professional or a parent of an autism special needs child doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If recovery from autism special needs wasn’t possible, medical insurance in the United States wouldn’t cover the teaching methodology – Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Insurance funding in the States is granted for what’s called ‘medical necessity’ which means a life-or-death situation. It’s not about opinion on autism special needs. There is a great deal of published evidence supporting recovery from autism special needs. The definition of recovery in the 1980s was having a ‘normal’ IQ. Children with autism special needs were tested before and after they received ABA intervention. And the result for many children with autism special needs, post ABA, was a ‘normal’ IQ. These children with autism special needs were placed in regular education in the first grade, but without special assistance. In addition, an independent medical professional authorized to remove a diagnosis of autism special needs would assess the child who had autism special needs and confirm a full recovery from autism special needs.

Recovery today means looking at four things: IQ, adaptive functioning, social functioning and language functioning. These, together with executive functioning like memory, attention and problem solving and pragmatics of language are tested to determine recovery from autism special needs. Assessing the child who had autism special needs but is now recovered to make sure they’re doing well independently at school and that they are making friends and can have a conversation are all tested to determine recovery. If children still have autism special needs criteria and signs and symptoms of autism those children would then not be classified as ‘fully recovered’.

In a published study on full recovery all children assessed as ‘normal’ were entirely indistinguishable from their peers. One of the most reliable standardized measures used to determine recovery from autism special needs in the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale, which looks at daily living skills, socialization and communication, among other things. In the documentary “Recovered: Journeys through the Autism Spectrum and Back” (2008) Dr Granpeesheh tells the story of four children who had autism special needs and who recovered from autism. Each child who had autism special needs received services, including ABA. The documentary shows interviews involving the children who had autism special needs and recovered when they were teenagers, their parents and their therapists. It covers the struggles and triumphs of the journey of recovery from autism, in order to give much-needed knowledge and hope to families of newly diagnosed children with autism special needs that recovery is indeed possible.

Ilana Gerschlowitz
Author of “Saving my Sons – A journey with Autism”.