New Autism 'Cure' for Babies Sounds Way Too Good to Be True

mom playing with baby

A new study coming out of the University of California at Davis MIND Institute is showing that treatment and therapy can eliminate developmental delays for children with early signs of autism. So is that good news? Maybe! But before you start hailing the successes of the study, it's important to consider so many more factors.

The researchers at UC Davis tested out a pilot therapy program on seven babies, ages 6 to 9 months, who were showing early signs of autism. The kids' parents worked on a treatment plan with them at home, and researchers followed the children until their third birthday, when they discovered that six of the seven kids had caught up in all of their learning and language skills. By 3, those kids had neither autism nor a developmental delay.

It's being hailed across the Internet this week, but come on. Seven kids do not a ground-breaking study make.

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It's a bit of an understatement to say that autism has become a controversial topic. From causes to treatments to cures (and whether or not it can or SHOULD be "cured"), parents and doctors have debated the gamut. Now we have this study being thrown at us that claims to give parents the tools to make autism "disappear."

The results may be promising, and the six children who seemed to have made positive progress is a good thing. But a six in seven number just doesn't seem to be enough to call it a full "success." We need science to provide more of a basis for the study before any parent can really form a qualified opinion.

Which begs the question: why are these sort of minute studies bandied about, anyway? There's so little that can be drawn from them. Certainly not enough to support headlines like "Study: Autism Signs in Babies Can Be Erased" or "Can Early Intervention Reverse Autism?"

We need more conclusive data and bigger and further ranging studies before we can address something as serious as autism. We need good, hard facts that don't send parents off half-cocked.

True, early intervention has been shown to be helpful to kids on the spectrum (and kids with a range of other issues), so this study may be headed somewhere promising. The researchers are starting to work on expanding this specific program and getting more families involved in the testing. They're sourcing for funds and more participation to really gauge the triumph.

But until we hear that scientists worked with more kids than your typical AYSO team fields for a soccer game, parents would be wise not to get too worked up about "reversing" autism.

What do you make of the study's results?

 

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