Earlier diagnosis means earlier intervention and treatment
Why might this be happening? People are becoming more aware of autism, and experts are learning more about early diagnosis. Subsequently, not only is the age of diagnosis becoming earlier, but the number of people being diagnosed is growing. Some are worried that this means more people are getting autism, but the more likely explanation is that there is simply more access to accurate diagnoses that had not quite existed in the past.
A doctor is generally able to make an assessment by two years old, even though the brain is still developing rapidly at that stage. Dr. Wetherby says, "if we can intervene while a child's brain is immature, it will be much easier to help change her behavior." This optimism about the ability to change behavior is part of why these new findings are so impactful.