Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Optimal Outcome

  • Katherine TysonEmail author
  • Deborah Fein
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_2023-3


A small percentage of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may go on to lose core symptoms of the diagnosis and achieve “optimal outcomes.” Helt et al. (2008) defined an individual with an optimal outcome as having a history of an ASD diagnosis, demonstrating average or above average academic and adaptive functioning, receiving minimal special education supports specific to autism symptoms, and not meeting criteria for a diagnosis of ASD diagnosis as determined by administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS).

Lovaas (1987) pioneered the study of “recovery” from ASD when he reported strong cognitive and academic outcomes in a small sample of individuals with high-functioning ASD following early, intensive behavioral intervention. Since Lovaas’ study, a number of researchers have carried out further studies of recovery from ASD with stronger experimental designs and more comprehensive measures of outcome (e.g., Fein et al. 2013; Sallows and...

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References and Reading

  1. Eigsti, I. M., Stevens, M. C., Schultz, R. T., Barton, M., Kelley, E., Naigles, L., et al. (2016). Language comprehension and brain function in individuals with an optimal outcome from autism. NeuroImage: Clinical, 10, 182–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fein, D., Barton, M., Eigsti, I., Kelley, E., Naigles, L., Schultz, R. T., et al. (2013). Optimal Outcome in Individuals with a History of Autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54(2), 195–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Helt, M., Kelley, E., Kinsbourne, M., Pandey, J., Boorstein, H., Herbert, M., & Fein, D. (2008). Can children with autism recover? If so, how? Neuropsychology Review, 18, 339–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Lovaas, O. I. (1987). Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Orinstein, A. J., Helt, M., Troyb, E., Tyson, K. E., Barton, M. L., Eigsti, I. M., et al. (2014). Intervention for optimal outcome in children and adolescents with a history of autism. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 35, 247–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Orinstein, A., Tyson, K. E., Suh, J., Troyb, E., Helt, M., Rosenthal, M., et al. (2015). Psychiatric symptoms in youth with a history of autism and optimal outcome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 3703–3714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Sallows, G. O., & Graupner, T. D. (2005). Intensive behavioral treatment for children with autism: Four-year outcome and predictors. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 110, 417–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chapel Hill Pediatric Psychology, P.A.Chapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA