By: By LINDSEY TANNER The Associated Press
Monday, May 11, 2009
CHICAGO -- Leo Lytel was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. But by age 9 he had overcome the disorder. His progress is part of a growing body of research that suggests at least 10 percent of children with autism can "recover" from it _ most of them after undergoing years of intensive behavioral therapy.
Skeptics question the phenomenon, but University of Connecticut psychology professor Deborah Fein is among those convinced it's real.
She presented research this week at an autism conference in Chicago that included 20 children who, according to rigorous analysis, got a correct diagnosis but years later were no longer considered autistic.
Among them was Leo, a boy in Washington, D.C., who once made no eye contact, who echoed words said to him and often spun around in circles _ all classic autism symptoms. Now he is an articulate, social third-grader. His mother, Jayne Lytel, says his teachers call Leo a leader.
The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, involves children ages 9 to 18.
Autism researcher Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, called Fein's research a breakthrough.
To read the entire news release, see the The Washington Post's website at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/08/AR2009050802358.html.