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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks Early Access to Care Initiative

En Español

Lowering the average age of diagnosis and increasing access to early intervention for all children

Autism Speaks Early Access to Care initiative seeks to reduce the average age of diagnosis and increase access to high-quality early intervention for all children on the autism spectrum.

According to the CDC, the average age of diagnosis is 4-5 years, but a reliable autism diagnosis can be made as early as 18-24 months. While early detection is critical, research shows that many parents have very little knowledge about autism and its symptoms. Many studies have also documented that racial ethnic minority populations and those of lower socioeconomic status are diagnosed later. The earlier children are identified, the earlier they are able to receive early intervention services. Evidence-based early intervention services have been shown to reduce the core symptoms of autism, improve IQ and daily functioning.

Improving this unacceptable situation will take the combined efforts of families, healthcare professionals, educators and autism advocates in every community.

To download the First Concern to Action Tool Kit, click here.

If you are a parent or caregiver, click here.

If you work with children or families, click here.

To become a community partner, click here.

Learn more about research and progress in early access to care.

Please also see our new Ad Council campaign "Maybe," which extends Autism Speaks succesful "Learn the Signs" campaign. See the videos






June 4, 2014: On June 3, Jamitha Fields, vice president for community affairs for Autism Speaks, gave the keynote address and partcipated in a panel discussion at University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Conn. See coverage from the CT Mirror here and see our news coverage here.

June 4, 2014:MD News, a publication for physicians, look at Autism Speaks' awareness efforts designed at lowering the age of diagnosis. Read the story here.

May 8, 2014: Denise Negron, community development associate at Autism Speaks, spoke to Country Club magazine about the importance of early access to care. Read the story here.

Watch the trailer for "Bye," a short film by filmmaker Anthony Morrison. "Bye" follows Jayden, a two and half year old diagnosed with autism, through his first months of school in the Bronx. The full film is viewable at


Watch Bye on PBS. See more from POV.