Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The "C" Word [Cure]

Here's a review of The Autism Sourcebook by Karen Siff Exkorn and Help for the Child with Asperger’s Syndrome by Gretchen Mertz.

"Both Mertz and Siff Exkorn have seen significant improvement in their sons’ abilities; both boys attend mainstream classrooms with minimal intervention from aides or therapists. HarperCollins even promotes Siff Exkorn’s book with the upbeat cover line “From a Mother Whose Child Recovered.”
Still, Brown psychologist [Rowland] Barrett offers a word of caution. “Autism spectrum disorders are lifelong, serious developmental disorders, and there is no cure,” he says. While nearly a quarter of autistic children move into mainstream classes as they respond to early, intensive interventions, half show little improvement. Furthermore, he says, autistic children retain tendencies that may affect them later in life—when social de­mands at school increase, for example, or at times of stress.
“The assumption,” Barrett says, “is that because such children become indistinguishable to the naive observer, they’re cured and life will go on normally for them, that they’ll be on the normal developmental trajectory for the rest of their life. Our experience is that that’s not necessarily so.”

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