Autism and Communications Disorders Clinic
Autism, characterized by impairments in social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and restricted or repetitive behaviors, affects approximately 1 in 150 children. These challenges have a major impact on all aspects of the child’s life and the family’s life, as well. Autism spectrum disorders may affect a youngster’s ability to make friends, participate in interactive play and appropriately engage in everyday activities. The signs and symptoms of autism can be identified well before the age of 2 years, during the critical stages of language and communication development.
Early intervention is making a difference in the lives of children diagnosed with autism and their families. It is important to diagnose a child as early as possible, so that intervention can begin without delay. The Autism and Communication Disorders Clinic provides an evaluation as well as consultation and service coordination for children younger than age six who are suspected of having a communication disorder or being on the autism spectrum. The interdisciplinary team consists of a clinical psychologist, an occupational therapist, a speech and language pathologist, a nurse practitioner, and a developmental cognitive neurologist/developmental pediatrician. The evaluation includes a neurological and physical examination and assessments of cognition, communication, play, motor skills, sensory and adaptive functioning. Each child’s strengths and needs are identified identifies and findings are shared with the family in a collaborative meeting. Strategies for the home and school are individually designed to utilize the child’s strengths, respond to the parents’ concerns and guide the family toward optimizing their child’s outcome. After the team evaluation has been completed, ongoing medical management and coordination is available with the developmental cognitive neurologist and nurse practitioner.
The team primarily serves families from the District of Columbia and the surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia, as well as other states and countries.