Step 3: Access Early Intervention Services

Act Now: Early Intervention Can Make a Lifetime of Difference!

Contact Your State Early Intervention Office

If your child is under three and is showing some of the signs of autism, and/or if there are concerns based upon the results of a developmental screening, then you may want to contact your state’s early intervention office about an evaluation. You can find the contact information for your state's department of Early Intervention Services here. Simply click on your state, scroll down to the Early Intervention Services heading, and select State Information - Early Intervention. You may have to contact your county's specific office. You usually can find this contact information on the state's Early Intervention page.

Explain that you would like to have your child evaluated under The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the nation’s special education law. This evaluation is free of charge. It must be completed no later than 60 days from the date of receiving written parental consent to assess the child.

Based on that evaluation, your child may be eligible for early intervention services, which will be designed to address your child’s special needs or delays.

Once you are in contact with the early intervention system, the system will assign someone to work with you and your child through the evaluation and assessment process. This person will be your temporary service coordinator. He or she should have a background in early childhood development and ways to help young children who may have developmental delays. The service coordinator should also know the policies for early intervention programs and services in your state. You can read more about Your Child's Rights here.

You can also use the Autism Speaks Resource Guide to search for local early intervention services. Select the category Early Intervention Services, type in your zip code and enter a search radius. These resources have been submitted by the providers themselves or by families who have had positive experiences with the particular services.

Autism Response Team
If you are looking for more guidance or information regarding obtaining a diagnosis for your child, the Autism Speaks Autism Response Team (ART) can help you. ART members are specially trained to connect families like yours with information, resources and opportunities.

You can reach the Autism Response Team by email at familyservices@autismspeaks.org, or by phone at (888) 288-4762, en Español (888) 772-9050.

Early Experiences Matter
Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
This guide helps you make the most of your child's play time. Play time is critical to a child's development, so improving play time while you wait for a diagnosis can sometimes help your child's behavior improve.  Play is their "work" and their way of learning about the world around them. Through play, babies and toddlers try out new skills, explore their imagination and creativity, and learn about relationships with other people.

100 Day Kit
If your child is diagnosed with autism, a great place to start is by ordering the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit. The Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit and the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit were created specifically for newly diagnosed families to make the best possible use of the 100 days following their child's diagnosis of autism or AS/HFA. The kit will help walk you through the days following the diagnosis. You can download the kit or order a free hard copy by calling the Autism Response Team at (888) 288-4762.

Click here to find the contact information and website for your state's Early Intervention office.

Step 4: Explore Treatment Options

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