Retrospective analysis of clinical records in 38 cases of recovery from autism

Ann Clin Psychiatry. Oct-Dec 2009;21(4):195-204.


Background: Twenty years of research on early intensive treatment using applied behavior analysis (ABA) for children with autism has consistently produced robust effects. There appears to be a subset of children whose response to intensive ABA treatments includes achieving a level of functioning that is indistinguishable from typically developing peers. The purpose of this study was to describe a subset of children who recovered from autism following intensive ABA interventions.

Methods: We reviewed the clinical files of 38 children with autism who achieved an optimal outcome after receiving intensive ABA services.

Results: The mean age at intake was 40 months. Average IQ was 83.6 at intake and 107.9 at discharge. Mean adaptive skills were 68.04 at intake and 88.87 at discharge.

Conclusions: Our study corroborates the finding that some children with autism who receive early intensive behavioral intervention achieve functioning in the average range.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Humans
  • Language Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome