Early Intervention is Key

Autistic child traffic warning sign

April is National Autism Awareness Month! Did you know early intervention shows significant improvements in developmental or behavioral disabilities like Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability, which children can exhibit signs of at an early age. It affects a person’s communication skills and their ability to interact with others. ASD is considered a “spectrum condition” – it affects people differently and at varying degrees. There isn’t a known cause of autism, however, early intervention and access to the appropriate services/resources can significantly improve a child’s development.

Children who receive early intervention for autism demonstrate improved brain function, communication and social skills. Parents who sought evaluation and treatment for their children early on, noticed fewer language delays and overall symptoms1.

Autism is just one example of the many developmental or behavioral disabilities in childhood development that can benefit from early intervention. Many children have delays in language and in other areas that can affect their school work. According to data collected by the U.S. Department of Education, fewer than half of children with developmental delays are identified before starting school. At that point in time significant delays may have ensued and chances for treatment may have been missed.

Switchboard of Miami’s Help Me Grow is a program designed to identify children (ages 0-8 years) at-risk for developmental or behavioral disabilities and connect them with community-based programs for health and developmental services. This program was designed to support questions and concerns of families, while providing access to resources that can offer early detection for health or developmental concerns. All of the screenings, information, resources, and other tools Switchboard provides through Help Me Grow are completely free.

If you are a parent wishing to access Help Me Grow, you can do so via Switchboard of Miami’s already existing 2-1-1 Helpline. Help Me Grow is part of a national initiative that has proven successful in other parts of the country. When developmental, behavioral and other health concerns are discovered early, the best outcome can be realized for children and their families.



1. Voos, Avery C., Kevin A. Pelphrey, Jonathan Tirrell, Danielle Z. Bolling, Brent Vander Wyk, Martha D. Kaiser, James C. Mcpartland, Fred R. Volkmar, and Pamela Ventola. “Neural Mechanisms of Improvements in Social Motivation After Pivotal Response Treatment: Two Case Studies.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 43.1 (2013): 1-10. Web.