Your Views: Kids on autism spectrum need help at younger ages

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How can we help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) receive services at an early age if the child is not being diagnosed until age 3?

If the family's insurance does not cover an early intervention for ASD, then the family can apply for the Children Long Term Support (CLTS) autism waiver through the county. The waiting list for CLTS, however, can delay services for three years. Research says that the earlier a child with ASD starts therapy, the better odds the child has of functioning at a level closer to peers.

Having worked with children who are diagnosed with ASD, I have seen a child who was nonverbal be able to start communicating with others and read books by himself before starting kindergarten.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in 2008 that about one in 88 children are diagnosed with ASD. If such a high percentage of children are being diagnosed with ASD, then why does it take so long for them to start receiving services, and why is money or the cost of intervention the reason for these children not receiving services right away?

If the child cannot receive services, we are setting that child up to be a failure or unsuccessful in life. Early intervention services are the key to a positive outcome.



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