Research shows that early diagnosis and interventions are more likely to have major positive effects on symptoms and later skills.1,2,3,4,5 Early interventions occur at or before preschool age. In this period, a young child's brain is still forming.6 For this reason, early interventions give children the best start possible and the best chance of developing to their full potential. The sooner a child gets help, the greater the chance for learning and progress.
With early intervention, between 3% and 25% of children with autism make so much progress that they are no longer on the autism spectrum when they are older. Many of the children who later go off the spectrum have some things in common:7
Early intervention programs help children gain the basic skills that they usually learn in the first 2 years of life, such as:
Each state has its own early intervention program for children from birth to age 2 years who are diagnosed with developmental delays or disabilities, including ASD. These programs are specified by Part C of Public Law 108-77: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004), sometimes called "IDEA."8 Some states also provide services for children who are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities.
To learn more about IDEA and other early intervention services, visit one of the following:
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