I've had about 5 book signings and at each one I hear words that chill me to the core. At each signing at least one parent has said that they don't know what to do because everything points to their child being on the spectrum, but the school says they'll grow out of it and their doctor tell them that they should check back in a year or two. If this were a race would you want to start one lap, ahem, on year behind? I thought not.
Those that aren't familiar with autism are probably afraid of it. They may not understand that there is hope and that there are therapies that can work wonders. There's a race though and to wait a year will make all headway a bit harder to gain.
Let's use this analogy; the young mind is much like wet cement. When working with wet cement if there's a mistake made it is easy to make adjustments and to make it like the original plans had it. However, say you are making a sidewalk, and it is not smooth and is allowed to set, it will take sledgehammers and jackhammers to correct the mistake.
Much like the sidewalk the earlier it is fixed the easier it is. The same rule applies for early intervention for those on the spectrum. The data is there to prove that those that receive early intervention are much better off.
Last July I had the opportunity to go through Touch Point's parent training class. Before this I was unaware of just how big the gains could be for a child, but from day one to the last day the children in the class made gain that I never would've imagined. Months later one parent told me personally that their child no longer tested on the spectrum.
There is a race going on and it is on two levels. For the children on the spectrum the race is to start positive therapies before the cement cures, on the other side of the race is to raise awareness of the fact that there is hope and there are therapies and autism isn't something to be afraid of, it's something that can be worked with. Yes, there's a race and it MUST not be lost!