Possibilities & Prognosis
Great strides have been made in our knowledge and understanding of autism since 1943, when the disorder was first described. Autism was first seen as an emotional and psychological disorder. Today most professionals believe it is a biologically based disorder of the brain.
Families and professionals are finding better ways to understand autism and help those who have the disorder to cope with its many symptoms. Some symptoms may lessen as the child ages; others may disappear altogether. With appropriate intervention, many autistic behaviors can be changed, perhaps to the point that to the untrained, the individual may appear to no longer have autism. However, most children and adults with autism will continue to exhibit some degree of symptoms throughout their lives.
Some children with autism maintain an age-appropriate educational level and attend general education classes, while others need specialized educational settings and supports.
It is difficult to predict the future when a child is young, but some individuals with autism learn to live and work independently in the community. Others depend on the support of family and professionals. Adults with autism can benefit from job skills training and social and recreational programs. They may live in a variety of residential settings. Options can include living independently at home, in apartments, or with other family members, as well as supported living arrangements in group homes, supervised apartment settings, and structured residential care.