Special Report, Autism Awareness Month: The Sooner the Better New research on the importance of early intervention for children with autism

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Instilling a love of learning in a young child is a wonderful goal for any parent to pursue. For parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), however, early learning appears to be crucial. According to Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD, signs of autism begin before the age of 3. “If treatment starts only at age 3, we are at a real disadvantage for strengthening a child’s outcome,” says Dr. Landa, who recently completed a study that found that the capabilities of toddlers with ASD improved dramatically when they attended specially designed classes with other toddlers. In observance of Autism Awareness Month, we spoke to Landa about her research.

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