It was earlier believed that symptoms of autism remain consistent throughout an individual’s life. However, research has shown that it is possible to rein in the severity of the symptoms through interventions. A new study has now concluded that this decrease in the severity of symptoms occurs naturally in girls with autism as they age.
The study, ‘Trajectories of Autism Symptom Severity Change During Early Childhood’ was recently published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. It showed a 30% decrease in the severity of symptoms among the girls with autism who participated in the study between the ages 3 and 6. In fact, it was found that it was much less likely for the symptoms to get worsened with time in girls.
It consisted of data from 125 children with varying degrees of autism spectrum disorders, whose symptoms were first evaluated during early childhood, at ages 3 and 6 to be precise. The IQ and adaptive functions of the children were also measured. As a whole, the group was observed to experience decreased severity in 28.8% cases, was stable for 54.4% participants and increased severity was observed among 16.8% of them. Most of those in the first group were girls, and most of the participants who fell in the third group were boys.
The researchers concluded that this evidence came through because their study included a bigger number of girls, as compared to any of the previous studies. They also said they want to follow this up with another study wherein they would break down the severity into components like speech, social anxiety, and others. Their work, they believe, will help in tailoring interventions for every child based on their individual symptoms.
Authors of the study were Einat Waizbard‑Bartov, Emilio Ferrer, Gregory S. Young, Brianna Heath, Sally Rogers, Christine Wu Nordahl, Marjorie Solomon, and David G. Amaral.