But that’s the problem with this whole autism business; we want precisely what is not available to us — something definitive, like a cause, a cure. Enough, already, with the ambiguities, the gray zones.
Still, it was definitiveness that was worrying me when I began reading “The Kids Who Beat Autism,” Ruth Padawer’s cover story in the Aug. 3rd New York Times Magazine. Mainly, I didn’t want to discover all the things my wife, Cynthia, and I could have done and didn’t. That thought keeps me up enough nights as it is.
To her credit, Padawer leaves lots of room for ambiguity. She also raises important questions about one of the many persistent mysteries of autism: Why some kids do better than others. Why some kids recover.
According to the article, “two research groups have released rigorous, systematic studies, providing the best evidence yet that in fact a small but reliable subset of children really do overcome autism.” The conclusion reached by both studies is that the rate of recovery is about 10 percent.