Autism spectrum disorders are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social communication difficulties and restrictive and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities. In Argentina in 2013, legislation introduced both at national and provincial levels generated vigorous debate in relation to early detection of autism spectrum disorders, diagnosis or "pathologization" of children, and early intervention for these children. This paper provides evidence supporting the importance of systematic screening for autism spectrum disorders in toddlers, the usefulness of the new autism spectrum disorder classification provided by DSM-5, the desirability of timely and comprehensive diagnostic assessments by interdisciplinary teams specialized in development, and the critical importance of early intervention. Early intervention takes advantage of the neuroplasticity present in early life and positively impacts prognosis of children and family quality of life. Finally, the role of parent-mediated interventions in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders is mentioned.