Autistic children's cognitive skills can improve over time, according to Australian and British researchers.

Elizabeth Pellicano, a research head of the Institute of Education in London says people with autism spectrum disorder have a certain profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

These include problems appreciating the thoughts and feelings of others, executive function difficulties with control and planning, and an ability to perceive parts or small details. However, she said these skills came into notice over a period of time.

So far the only fact known about autism spectrum disorder was that cognitive skills. This study found that these skills vary from child to child and also that some of them can improve over time.

The study published in Child Development, finds children's skills in each of the three areas improved considerably during the study's three year period. Most of the children had more appreciative of others' thoughts and feelings and were able to plan better, regulate, and control their thoughts and actions.

The study did assessment of 37 children with autism spectrum disorders and 31 normal children at age 5 and 6 and again three years later.