Autism Spectrum Disorder
According to the Center for Disease control, the average age of an autism spectrum diagnosis is 4-5 years, but a reliable autism diagnosis can be made as early as 18-24 months
Early identification of autism is critical for eligibility in the federally funded Early Start (IDEA Part C) program that terminates at 36 months of age. Early Start is administered by the Regional Center system, and provides specialized intensive therapies in the natural environment - the home of the infant or toddler. The earlier children are identified, the earlier they are able to receive intervention services that can change a child’s developmental trajectory for life. Evidence-based early intervention services have been shown to reduce the core symptoms of autism, improve IQ and daily functioning.
Studies have documented that racial ethnic minority populations and those of lower socioeconomic status are diagnosed later - as late as 6 to 7 years of age