Prognosis in autism: A follow-up study

  • Marian K. DeMyer
  • Sandra Barton
  • William E. DeMyer
  • James A. Norton
  • John Allen
  • Robert Steele


A follow-up study involving 85 autistic boys and 35 girls, c. 5 1/2 years of age at initial evaluation and 12 years at follow-up, is presented and discussed in considerable detail. Measures, also applied to 26 non-psychotic subnormal controls, included speech, social, educational, and family adequacy ratings, IQ's, and neurological data. Most autistic children remained educationally retarded and 42% were institutionalized. Good agreement with 2 studies by other authors indicated the following prognosis in autism: 1–2% recovery to normal, 5–15% borderline, 16–25% fair, and 60–75% poor. The best predictor of functional capacity in a work/school setting was the child's rating at intake. Performance IQ and severity of illness were next to best predictors. Case histories of 20 children with the best outcome, including 2 functioning normally, are compared and analyzed. Also, etiological implications of results are outlined in support of theories linking the cause of autism to biological factors.


Good Predictor Initial Evaluation Functional Capacity Case History Biological Factor 
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Copyright information

© V. H. Winston & Sons, Inc. 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marian K. DeMyer
    • 1
  • Sandra Barton
    • 1
  • William E. DeMyer
    • 1
  • James A. Norton
    • 1
  • John Allen
    • 1
  • Robert Steele
    • 1
  1. 1.Indiana University School of MedicineUSA

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