Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Autism includes a variety of conditions that affect communication, behavior, learning, and social interaction. Among the most common symptoms of autism are repetitive behaviors, impaired social communication, and restricted interests. ASD affects both sexes in children and adults.
If your child has been diagnosed with ASD, you may wonder if autism can go away or if kids grow out of autism. The short answer is that while symptoms may change over time, growing out of autism is possible, but not common. As a neurodevelopmental disorder, autism arises when there are abnormalities in brain development that cause dysregulation in brain functioning. [i]
It’s important to identify autism as early as possible so treatment intervention can have maximum impact. Autism diagnosis is not based on laboratory testing. Diagnosing autism requires observing the child’s behaviors and development over time. An early diagnosis will give parents and caretakers a head start in treating the disorder.
To learn more about how the Drake Institute can help patients with ASD, call us at 1-800-700-4233 or fill out the contact form.
Autism Spectrum Disorder affects every major area of a child’s life, especially social communication and behavior. ASD also includes disorders like Asperger’s and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
Autism affects not only the brain but also the body (i.e., gut inflammation). A person with autism will have no notable external physical features that distinguish them from neurotypical individuals.
Autism also impacts people differently and with different manifestations of core symptoms.
Generally, the signs and symptoms of autism appear by age three, so most diagnoses happen in early childhood. While autism presents differently for everyone, there are a few common symptoms of ASD in children, including lacking social reciprocity, avoiding eye contact, engaging in repetitive behaviors, and having restrictive interests.
According to the CDC, the signs of autism include:
Typically, autism is permanent, though there are cases where people outgrow it or it resolves. With that said, autism symptoms can and do change with age.
How symptoms change will depend on each individual’s unique experience with autism and clinical intervention. Early intervention can help individuals with autism learn how to improve their symptoms and develop more functional skills.[ii][iii]
Many parents obviously hope you can outgrow autism symptoms. An autism diagnosis can be devastating for parents and may have them wondering if their child with autism can grow up “normal” and lead a normal, fulfilling life.
Whether an autistic child can become “normal” depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of symptoms, possible contributing factors, comorbid conditions, early intervention and comprehensive treatment, and the child’s specific case.[vi] [vii]
Does autism go away? Can it be cured?
As of yet, there is no indication that autism can be cured. It is also not a disorder that typically disappears on its own. Because autism is viewed as permanent, comprehensive treatment provides a better prognosis.
Early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment intervention tends to lead to the best improvement for autistic children.[viii]
As a neurodevelopmental disorder, autism can be detected quite early on in a child’s life. Most diagnoses are made by age two or three. In some cases, ASD can be identified at just 18 months old. [ix]
Close observation by parents, doctors, educators, and childcare providers will help ensure that developmental delays can be identified early on.
Your child’s doctor will ask about how your child is reaching milestones. They’ll also likely ask about a family history of autism. If autism is suspected, they may perform a screening and ask questions about behavior, emotion, language, and motor skills.
A formal evaluation is needed if screening indicates the presence of ASD symptoms. This may include observations and parent interviews. [x]
Though scientists are continuously studying autism, there is so far no single identified cause. However, several risk factors could indicate a stronger likelihood of autism.
Some genetic conditions, like fragile X syndrome, are associated with a higher presence of autism. Having a sibling with autism or being born to older parents are also risk factors. [xi]
For over 40 years, the Drake Institute has been using advanced treatment technologies to treat a variety of brain-based medical conditions such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and stress disorders including PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more. Using a combination of brain mapping and neurofeedback, our Medical Director creates customized treatment protocols to address each patient’s needs. Here’s how we do it:
To begin treatment, the autistic patient’s brain must be mapped. Brain mapping helps us identify which areas of the brain specifically are experiencing dysregulation. 19 sensors are placed around the scalp in areas of the brain responsible for language, social/emotional understanding, memory, executive functioning, and behavioral/emotional regulation.
The sensors measure and record brainwave activity that is processed through a normative FDA-registered database of same-age individuals with neurotypical brain activity.
When we compare the patient’s results with those of neurotypical individuals, we can identify regions or networks of the brain that are dysregulated and linked to symptoms. Once we know what areas are dysregulated and linked to symptoms, we can design an individualized treatment program.
During neurofeedback training, sensors are once again placed around the scalp. The sensors send the brainwave activity to be displayed visually in real-time on a computer screen with auditory feedback as well.
During neurofeedback treatment sessions, the patient will learn to improve brain activity by guiding it toward healthier more appropriately functional brainwave patterns. No drugs are administered, and there are no invasive procedures involved. Instead, the patient is improving their own brain functioning, guided by the feedback of visual images and auditory sounds.
As an adjunct to neurofeedback, we may also use neurostimulation guided by qEEG brain map findings to gently stimulate the brain into healthier functional patterns. In our experience, some patients may benefit even more from neurofeedback if we also use neurostimulation. We have found this particularly helpful for lower-functioning children on the Autism Spectrum.
For over forty years, Drake has helped thousands of patients with various disorders such as autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraine headaches, and hypertension achieve an improved quality of life by reducing their symptoms. Call us at 1-800-700-4233 or fill out the free consultation form to get started.
If you or a family member need help, please fill out our confidential online form
Interview with Dr. David Velkoff
Interview with Dr. David Velkoff
Spanish News Feature
“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”