Study: Autistic Kids May Benefit from Early Therapy – TIME

Geraldine Dawson, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, lead author of study.

Charlie Lamb was barely 2 years old when he was diagnosed with autism. His mother Susan had been convinced for months that “something was not right” with her second child. He wouldn’t stand in line like the other kids in gymnastics class, she recalls, and he spoke fewer words. He was more captivated by spinning wheels than Teletubbies. His father Tom noticed that his blond, blue-eyed son would always walk in circles around the kitchen table and that he would do the equivalent at their local park in Seattle — walking along the perimeter fence rather than crossing into the play area.

Ten years ago, autism was rarely detected before ages 3 or 4. Now, thanks to growing awareness and widespread screening at 18 and 24 months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more autistic children like Charlie are being identified when they are toddlers. But for all the emphasis on early detection, very little research exists on how to intervene effectively for children so young. Story continues here ➤