Parents of a child with autism are understandably concerned about questions such as what is going to happen to their child? What is his future going to look like?
But you should understand that the health professionals can’t possibly give an answer to these questions straight away. It is very difficult for a health professional to determine what will be the prognosis or outcome of child with autism or Asperger syndrome particularly at a young age. Here are some aspects of outcome or prognosis of autism spectrum disorders such as autism, Asperger syndrome or other pervasive developmental disorders.
- Autism is a life-long, disorder and many different variables influence the prognosis including the severity of symptoms and associated behaviours, the family environment and ability to support, the types of interventions used, and the age of diagnosis and initiation of treatment.
- Autism occurs at all intelligence levels (intelligence quotient or IQ). An autistic individual with a satisfactory IQ particularly verbal IQ can possibly develop his communication and social skills to a degree that would allow him to become independent to an extent. But many children with low IQ may need support throughout their lives (from family or caregivers) even though they learn some skills.
- Outcome can also be predicted by the level of social interaction impairment and communication problem. Some individuals continue to face difficulty with language or social skills, and the behavioural problem may worsen even after intervention.
- Outcome of children with Asperger’s syndrome is better than those with other pervasive developmental disorders. With appropriate intervention they can become independent adultsbut many continue to have difficulty in social interaction and personal relationships.
- Factors which can possibly improve outcome include early identification and subsequent appropriate intervention programs (cognitive and behavioural modification therapy and speech therapy). As early intervention improves prognosis and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (autism, Asperger symdrome) consult a health professional if you suspect your child has signs and symptoms of autism.
- Some factors with indicate poorer outcomes include severe ASD symptoms, presence of psychiatric problems, epilepsy, mental retardation, etc.
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