Clinician clears myths on autism, addresses importance of early intervention

A clinician spoke to News 12 to clear some of the myths on autism and on the importance of early intervention.
"There is a saying in autism that if you met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism," said Donna Murray, vice president of clinical programs at Autism Speaks. She explained that's because it's a spectrum.
"People have different experiences with autism and, so they present with very different strengths and challenges and needs and desires and aspirations," Murray said.
There are many myths about autism, and Murray believes that stems from a limited view. Murray encouraged people to broaden theirs.
"For us, really providing good solid resources is part of the way we really try to work through some of those misconceptions," Murray said.
Those resources are helpful for parents raising a child with autism or parents who believe their child has autism, and that's where Murray says early intervention is key.
"Research shows that early intervention supports better outcomes in the long term. Right now, the average age of diagnosis is around 4, and we would really like to get that earlier because we want to get families into intervention," Murray says.
Parents can get intervention before a diagnosis if there are some concerns. Some of the early signs can show up as young as 18 months, and Murray says those signs can be limited or unusual eye contact, not using gestures, difficulty playing with peers or repetitive behaviors.
"Really trying to get that help early is super important while you are going through that process. There is no need to wait to seek help," Murray says.