Growing Up (ASD)

Children with autism differ in the degree of impairment in core diagnostic symptoms (social, communication, and behavioral) and associated symptom impairments (e.g., intellectual and adaptive ability). An estimated 70–75% of this population is also diagnosed with mental retardation, with approximately 50% of individuals lacking functional communicative speech (Happe & Frith, 1996). The heterogeneity of impairment in this population likely contributes in large part to the variability documented in treatment outcome research, with some children making great progress and others making little, regardless of the type and intensity of intervention (e.g., Gabriels, Hill, Pierce, Rogers, & Wehner, 2001; Howlin, Goode, Hutton, & Rutter, 2004). However, research indicates that the most significant predictor of later outcome appears to be the level of intellectual functioning in childhood.

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