Autism is an incurable disorder, but that does not mean that it is not treatable. Just as parents would want to secure immediate services to help their child live with a food allergy or hearing loss, parents should be proactive in securing services that will help a child to succeed in spite of an autism diagnosis.
Because autism is a lifelong disorder, helping children with autism overcome obstacles in their ability to interact with and communicate with others is critical. If parents, educators, and health care providers work together early in a child’s life to identify, diagnose, and treat the behaviors associated with autism, then the child’s chances of educational and social success will be profoundly impacted.
According to Autism Speaks, research has shown that early detection, followed by early intervention and treatment, can result in significant differences in the lives of children affected by autism. Most autism diagnoses are made before a child is 3 years old, but research into diagnosis and intervention at earlier ages is ongoing. In short, early detection means early intervention, so the closer to birth a diagnosis can be made, the better the outcome for the child.
Autism Speaks reports that, if intervention services are implemented appropriately between the ages of 3 to 5, 20 to 50 percent of children with autism will be able to attend a mainstream kindergarten class. That window of opportunity then, is a small one, and early intervention remains the best option. Certainly intervention at any age or stage of development is far better than none at all.
Early intervention services, when appropriately applied, can help children to talk, develop fine and gross motor skills, and learn to communicate and interact with others. If you have any questions about your child’s development, talk to your child’s pediatrician right away. Securing an early diagnosis is the first step in getting the appropriate, early intervention that will assist your child.