Can Autism be Cured?

Posted on 10-02-2021 by admin

Can Autism be Cured?

Raising a child with autism is a big challenge for every parent, therefore, upon knowing that their child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the first question most parents ask is the same: can autism be cured?

As ASD is not an illness, there is no cure for the condition. The only available option to help parents manage their children with autism is by offering common treatments that usually include intensive applied behavious analysis courses.

The hope for autism cure

Recently, there have been more research to support the claim that some autistic children may effectively grow out of the disorder as they age. A 2015 study of 569 children living in the Bronx, New York, found that approximately 7 per cent whose symptoms were resolved to a point where an ASD diagnosis was no longer appropriate.

Of course, some of the explanation for this apparent phenomena is simply the difficulty of diagnosing autism in very young children in the first place. Some percentage of those diagnoses will be false positives, indicating that otherwise neurotypical kids are autistic simply because their behaviour is a little unusual.

But surveys of parents have shown that this is likely only the case in about 75 per cent of remissions. And a 2013 study expressly looking at this group showed that the possibility of genuine remission is real.

It’s not all smooth sailing even for this small group whose ASD symptoms self-resolve, however. The original issues they experience with communication and social disability can leave them with cognitive and behavioural problems that last well beyond the course of the disorder. Of the 38 patients in the Bronx study who lost their ASD diagnosis, only three were found to no longer have any symptoms; 92 per cent had residual learning or behavioural problems from delayed development.

Cure vs. effective behavioural management

It’s possible that the search for a cure also overlooks good news on the treatment front that is nonetheless short of a full resolution. Over time, about 10 per cent of ASD patient will show dramatic improvement by their mid-teens. Although still formally diagnosed with ASD, they are able to improve their verbal and daily living skills considerably.

It’s unclear if the Bronx study, or others that have found similar cases of apparently spontaneous resolution to ASD symptoms, hold any clues to developing a directed cure to the disease. So far, no particular patterns have emerged that might show a particular demographic range or treatment technique leading to resolution.

Among the population that improves, however, there is at least some suggestion that responsive therapies lead to better outcomes than directive therapies. Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) techniques, such as pivotal response training and other naturalistic approaches fall into this category.

A 1987 paper suggests that the relative success of these models has a lot to do with easing those with ASD into social interactions in such a way that it eliminates the stressors often associated with social contact — meeting new people represents a break in pattern and routine and often requires the kind of social sensitivity that those with ASD struggle with. By gradually introducing social skills slowly and in settings where the patient was comfortable, ABAs can eventually reverse adverse behaviours.

Although it is not, in and of itself, a cure for autism, applied behaviour analysis is at least a valuable step along the path to a cure for at least some ASD patients. For the rest, ABA can at least lead to improvements in quality of life and individual skills while the search for a real cure continues.

Here are 10 techniques that are used in ABA:

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Prompting and fading
  • Task analysis
  • Generalization
  • Behavior contracts
  • Video modeling
  • Picture exchange communications teaching
  • Errorless teaching
  • Peer-mediated social skills training


If your child has been diagnosed with autism and you are now looking for a Special Education school for your child to enrol in and get started with ABA, get in touch with us by filling in this contact form. Our representative will get in touch with you soon to make an appointment with you and your child, and from then on, we will decide on the type of ABA programme that best suits your child.