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Can You “Recover” From Autism?

I once heard a speaker talk about her child with autism. She said he was “recovering from autism.”

Huh? How do you recover from an incurable diagnosis? This is sort of like alcohol: Once and alcoholic, always an alcoholic. Same with autism: Once you have it, you always do.

But just to make sure this woman was using the words correctly, I asked my wife, who works with children with special needs, what she thought of “recovering from autism.”

She replied that it could mean that a person was misdiagnosed and never had autism.

I asked the speaker if this was what she meant. She said no, her son’s diagnosis was correct, but if you watched him now, you would never know he has autism.

According to my wife, it’s correct to say that this boy with autism is functioning so highly on the spectrum that one can’t tell he has autism. But he still has autism.

Then I checked the dictionary. Among  recover‘s 11 definitions is this one: “to regain a normal position or condition (as of health).”  It gives an example: “recover from a cold.”

I don’t think the definition works. You can have a cold and then not have it. You can’t not have autism once you have it.

Until next time! Use the right words!

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is available on Amazon for $14.95.  Order here.


May 12, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

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