Study: Behavioral care can help children recover from autism

Children can recover from autism thanks to behavioral care without drugs or institutionalization, according to a new study funded by the state of Arizona.

The three-year study was conducted by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), the world’s largest provider of early intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism. The study of 14 young children measured the effects of applied behavior analysis, which blends structured teaching with play-based behavioral intervention; it found that six of the children who participated in the study no longer display clinical symptoms of autism and most of the participants demonstrate significant improvements in functioning.

Among the study’s major findings, according to CARD, is that children who developed language skills early in therapy made greater gains over time. In addition to the children who recovered from autism, the other half of the program participants made substantial gains in their ability to communicate and live independently. Even the children whose progress was the slowest experienced significant decreases in challenging behaviors and increases in independent communication and leisure skills, thereby resulting in improved self-reliance and quality of life.