Learn how to get a referral for children or consultation for adults with UTSW's psychiatry team.
The UT Southwestern and Children's Health℠ Center for Autism Care offers comprehensive evaluation of patients’ cognitive, adaptive, social, and communication skills, providing the most advanced treatment plans for patients with autism.
Autism Care in One Collaborative Center
Autism is a developmental disorder that causes challenges with communication and social skills. It can range from mild to severe, but in all cases, early recognition and intervention can make a critical difference in a child’s development and quality of life.
The Center for Autism Care is a joint program between UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center. Our clinical service brings together health professionals at both medical centers who evaluate and treat autism and other developmental disabilities. Providers work alongside leading scientists, using innovative approaches for understanding and treating neurodevelopmental disorders.
The Center delivers state-of-the-art medical care for autism and all other neurodevelopmental disabilities. This includes initial diagnostic evaluations and treatment planning, behavioral intervention for recently diagnosed children, treatment services by neurology providers, and psychiatric consultation for children and adolescents.
Referrals and Consultations
Referrals for Children
Consultations for Adults
We treat autism in adults at our Bass and Richardson clinics for UT Southwestern patients and referrals from UT Dallas.
Patients seeking a consultation at the Multispecialty Psychiatry Clinic should have their current mental health provider send a referral. Once a referral has been received, call 214-645-8300 to schedule the consultation.
Symptoms of Autism
Autism affects every child differently. Some children have difficulty with social interactions or communication, while others might demonstrate repetitive or restrictive patterns of behavior.
Common signs of autism include:
- Delayed language development
- Reduced interest in social interaction
- Difficulty making eye contact
- Lack of response to other people
- Repetitive behaviors and insistence on sameness
- Motor mannerisms, such as flapping hands or repeatedly bouncing up and down
- Sensory-seeking behaviors
- Unusual sensitivities to sounds and touch
Parents or caregivers seeking an evaluation can get a referral to the Center from the child’s pediatrician.
Specialists from UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center evaluate patients suspected of having autism using expertise in:
- Speech and language
Our evaluations are comprehensive and look at cognitive, adaptive, social, and communication skills. We might ask the child to follow directions, answer questions, or play.
There is no specific test that can confirm autism. Diagnoses are made through a combination of formal clinical observation of children and information gathered from parents and other specialists/medical providers. Some children might be diagnosed as early as 18 months, but others might not be identified until they reach school age.
There is no medicine that can cure autism, but through training and support, children can learn skills that will help them throughout their lives. The Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities provides comprehensive treatment and support for children of all ages. Once autism is diagnosed, we help connect families to professionals in the field and coordinate a range of evidence-based treatments and interventions, which might include:
- Behavioral therapy
- Speech and language therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Medications to help manage behavioral symptoms
Our services include:
- Assessments in pediatric neurology with neurodevelopmental disabilities specialists
- Behavioral intervention
- Psychiatric consultation and treatment
- Psychological evaluations and consultations
- Educational support