Study Finds People Can Overcome Early Autism Symptoms - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Study Finds People Can Overcome Early Autism Symptoms

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The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published a new study on autism in January.

Results from the study show children were able to overcome symptoms after behavioral therapy.

Peggy Hovatter of the West Virginia Autism Training Center said it's difficult to pinpoint just one cure because there is more than one form of autism, including autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder (not otherwise specified), and Asperger's disorder.

"You can't say that this technique is going to work across the board because autism is such a spectrum disorder. I've seen kids who respond very well to a specific type of treatment and others who respond very well to something totally different," Hovatter said.

She stresses how typical treatments encourage positive reinforcement for children to develop social skills.

Hovatter said, "What is important with autism is that you have to understand that reinforcers are very important because they don't pick up on the natural reinforcers that many typical children do."

Cindy Puskas is the mother of three children on the autism spectrum. All of her children have seen major improvement from their individualized therapies, and from an educational standpoint, they are no longer considered autistic.

Although, Puskas thinks, "they'll always have some signs even if they grew off the medical diagnosis of autism."

Puskas said the study is important because it gives families something to work toward.

"To me, I think it gives families hope because it is possible to make progress," Puskas said.

A major concern related to this study is that children may be mistakenly diagnosed.

"People may misdiagnose for autism and I think it's important to have a thorough diagnosis, and if you don't believe it's accurate, you can always get a second opinion. And, re-evaluate as you go on, as they age and progress," Puskas said.

Both Hovatter and Puskas encourage treating children early for this disorder.

If you're concerned your child falls on the autism spectrum, Puskas suggests you contact http://www.wvdhhr.org/birth23/ if your child is under 3-years-old. If they're over 3, she advises you to contact your pediatrician for further advice.