Around 30 per cent of children with autism have seen their symptoms ease between the ages of three and six, say researchers from the University of California, Davis Health.
They tracked 125 children—89 boys and 36 girls—with autism and continually measured their symptoms during their early childhood. The severity of the symptoms in around half of the children stayed the same, and in 16 percent of cases it worsened—but in nearly 30 percent the symptoms improved, and in a small group of those the autism disappeared altogether.
The researchers aren't sure why symptoms changed but they point to substantial brain growth that is happening in those early years. It also manifests differently in boys and girls, and girls are also more likely to see symptoms improve. Intelligence also seems to have a bearing; children with a higher IQ were more likely to see their autism improve.