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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

26% of 211 LA's client children eligible for the autism screening (Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers-Revised) are younger than 24 months of age. 211 LA is also identifying the County’s most vulnerable children, in particular, those from low income families facing numerous psychosocial risks. 


211 LA's Care Coordinators screened 12,293 children for developmental delays from September 2009 to July 2016. Of these children, 63%, or 7,860 met the criteria for Autism Screening and were administered the M-CHAT-R screening. 14% of the children had a positive screen (fail), meaning they screened as at-risk for an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This number is significantly higher than the comparison to rates in the general population.

autism risk

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