Implementing early intervention for autism spectrum disorder: a global perspective

Lauren Franz, Geraldine Dawson


In the early years of life, the brain is primed to develop language and social skills, key areas of difficulty in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Teaching these language and social skills in the early years of life, when the brain expects to learn them, is associated with more rapid and stronger response than when these skills are taught at a later age (1-3). Early intervention can therefore optimize outcomes, improve independence, and lessen long-term costs (4,5). Globally, there is increased recognition of the importance of early detection and intervention as a critical public health focus (6). However, ASD research has disproportionately low representation from populations outside of the United States and Europe (7). Even in countries such as the United States, where the majority of ASD research has been conducted, there is limited representation from minority groups, multilingual families, and participants with lower socioeconomic status (8).