Published Online: November 10, 2015
Published in Print: November 11, 2015, as Students With Autism

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Students With Autism

"Diagnosis Lost: Differences Between Children Who Had and Who Currently Have an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis"

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Some children who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder go on to lose that diagnosis, but according to their parents, that change is not because of treatment or the child's maturity.

Instead, most of the parents of children who shed the autism label reported that health professionals made a different diagnosis—often attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder—with more information.

The findings, published last month in the journal Autism, are based on parental reports on 1,420 children ages 6 to 17, 187 of whom were once diagnosed with autism but were no longer believed to have it, said Stephen J. Blumberg, the lead author and an associate director for science with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

The children who lost the autism diagnosis generally had fewer social or behavioral problems than those who retained the label. Their parents were also less likely to have had early concerns with their child's verbal skills, or with their child making unusual or repetitive gesturesone of the hallmarks of autism. And their child's original diagnosis was less likely to have come from an autism specialist.

Vol. 35, Issue 12, Page 5

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