03/04/2012 11:09 BST | Updated 04/04/2012 04:32 BST

One In Ten Autistic Children ‘Outgrow' Symptoms, Claims Study

A recent medical report has claimed that 10% of autistic children ‘outgrow’ the disorder’s symptoms by the time they are eight.

According to researchers from Columbia University in New York, children with autism spectrum disorder can become ‘late bloomers’ socially and mentally - with ‘bloomers’ generally being from better-off families who can afford the costly treatment.

Lead researcher Christine Fountain, whose work was published in the American journal Pediatrics, explained that, “Most children get at least a little better over time,” especially those who fell into the group of children who had non-Hispanic, white, well-educated mothers.

“These socio-economic disparities suggest that equal access to early interventions and services for less advantaged children is going to be really vital,” Fountain added.

Researchers from the study discovered that many autistic children showed improvements between ages three and eight but it was the ‘late social bloomers’ who were most significant - as they managed to overcome autistic severe symptoms (not being able to make sounds, have a conversation, make eye contact).

The best performers could “initiate one-on-one interactions with both peers and others in familiar and unfamiliar settings, initiate and maintain friendships and not need encouragement to participate in social activities.”

In the UK, autism affects around one in 100 children. There are around 100,000 children with autism in the UK, with approximately half a million family members directly affected by the condition. Four times as many boys as girls have autism.

Responding to the study’s findings, Mark Atkinson from Ambitious about Autism, told HuffPost Lifestyle: “Autism is a lifelong developmental disability and it is simply impossible to ‘outgrow’ autism. As a spectrum condition it affects each person differently and with the right support a child can thrive and achieve.

“We know that the average age of diagnosis in the UK is six years and seven months so many children, and their families, are not able to access the appropriate support when they need it most. Early intervention, education and support are critical in enabling children and young people with autism to lead fulfilling lives.”

Adding to this, Emma Delaney from The National Autistic Society told HuffPost Lifestyle: “Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition, which can manifest itself in different ways at different stages in life.

“While there is no cure for autism, the right support can help people with the condition to develop strategies for navigating the social world in which we live. Although this may outwardly seem like an improvement in the condition, the underlying autism remains and can continue to pose very real challenges at every stage in life.

“It is vital that everyone with autism has access to the support and services they need to live fulfilling and rewarding lives, irrespective of their socio-economic background."

According to Ambitious about Autism, the condition is a lifelong disability, which affects the way a person communicates and how they experience the world around them.

Autism is described as a spectrum condition. This means that while people with autism, including Asperger’s Syndrome, share certain characteristics, they will be highly individual in their needs and preferences.

Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may face additional challenges, including learning disabilities, which affect them so profoundly that they need support in many areas.

Autism In The News