A recent paper published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry sparked a whole slew of articles with misleading headlines, stating that some children can 'grow out of' autism.
Emily Willingham has written an excellent critique of these articles for Forbes.com.
In the UK, the national papers jumped aboard the bandwagon with a couple of outright-misleading headlines such as:
- New study shows children can grow out of autism (The Scotsman)
- Children can GROW OUT of autism: Controversial research suggests not all youngsters have the same fate (The Daily Mail)
A couple of the papers went for quotation marks...
- Some children 'grow out of autism': study (The Telegraph)
- Children can 'grow out of' autism, psychologists say, challenging the established view that it is a permanent, incurable condition (The Independent)
... despite the fact the the 'grow out of' phrase isn't used in the original paper. Is there a press release somewhere with this quote in it, or did the papers use quotation marks because they knew it was a dodgy phrase?
However, The Telegraph redeems itself with 'A spark of insight into the mystery of autism', which seems to represent the research much more accurately.