Autism continues to be a more common diagnosis among children in Washington state, and recent numbers show to an increasing prevalence. Nationally, 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Upon diagnosis of autism, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists may provide a combination of therapeutic treatments. A pediatric neurologist, a specialist who treats disorders of the nervous system, may also be involved in the care and treatment of a child diagnosed with autism. VMC's Neuroscience Institute includes the Pediatric Neurology Clinic.

If you suspect autism based on the signs and symptoms below, please contact your primary care physician or the Pediatric Neurology Clinic at 425.917.6218.

To contact Children's Therapy about autism treatment for your child, call 425.656.4215.  
Learn more about the autism spectrum diagnostic testing process.

Signs and Symptoms of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)  

Critical Signs:

  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No gesturing (pointing, waving) by 12 months
  • No single words by 16 months
  • Loss of language or social skills at any age
  • Minimal imaginative play


  • Does not respond to name
  • Cannot convey what he/she wants
  • Has difficulty following directions
  • Must be touched to gain attention
  • Could say a few words, but doesn’t
  • Has difficulty maintaining conversations
  • Has difficulty understanding abstract language


  • Doesn’t smile socially
  • Acts independently
  • Has poor eye contact
  • Tunes others out, including children
  • Unable to read sound cues
  • Difficulty reading and responding to other’s emotions
  • Lack of sharing interest or enjoyment
  • Lack of warm, joyful expressions


  • Has tantrums
  • Seems hyperactive, uncooperative, or oppositional
  • Walks on toes
  • Doesn’t know how to play with toys
  • Has unusual attachments to toys or objects
  • Does activities repetitively
  • Lines things up
  • Is oversensitive to textures or sounds
  • Moves in odd patterns
  • Spins around or flaps hands inappropriately
  • Repetitive movements or posturing of body, arms, hands or fingers

Pacific Science Center for Individuals with ASD

Pacific Science Center hosts the "Exploration for All" event. A sensory friendly experience for families with children that have ASD. Once a month they open doors from 8-10 A.M. or during the evening from 6:30-8:30 P.M. for free! If you would like to view the upcoming schedule for this event please click here.


Looking for autism resources?

Greater Puget Sound area support groups  

American Occupational Therapy Association Autism Resources

Autism Wandering Awareness Alert Response Education

Autism Eats:  Autism Eats was started to give families with members with ASD an opportunity to enjoy restaurant meals without stress.  They sponsor many events at great restaurants around the country.

Caregiver Toolkit for caregivers of persons with an ASD

View the Autism Outreach Project site.  

Seattle Childrens Hospital Autism 200 series: These 90 minute classes are primarily designed for parents and caregivers of children with autism, but provide great knowledge for professionals as well. Classes are held the third Thursday of the month at Seattle Children’s Hospital, but you’re also able to view and participate through teleconferencing from multiple locations. Check out this flyer or  website

Autism Speaks: Autism Speaks offers a resource and services library with information from vacations, to online support groups, to legal assistance.  Click here to access a special portion of the Autism Speaks website where, after creating a log-in and passowrd, caregivers and parents can access videos that compare children without ASD to children with ASD related to communication, social interaction, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interest.

Traveling with a Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Click here for a great document from the University of South Florida regarding traveling with a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  

"Wings for Autism" is a program the occurs approximately every 6 months. It offers opportunities for children and families to practice going to the airport, checking in and going through security, and a host of other great services!

Autism Info Cards are wonderful tools that can be handed out to people in the community.  They provide information about ASD and explain why and individual with an ASD may demonstrate unexpected behaviors.

Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy (WAAA):  This organization can help families with insurance coverage (including understanding your insurance benefits, making appeals, etc.), special education, Medicaid, etc. WAAA puts on trainings about the law and understanding of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and they also provide respite services through their Gift of Time program. Two socialization programs, Aspire Girls of Puget Sound and Friendship Matters! are put on by this organization, as well as a support group, Supporting Parents of Autism. View WAAA's website.

 Autism Navigator contains an extensive video "library" showing autism spectrum disorder and typical behaviors. More specifically, a collection of videos of toddlers with autism so you can see what autism looks like. Early detection of autism materials such as, photographs of gestures, actions that children should be learning and social communication milestone are provided on this website. All of this, along with an autism spectrum disorder video glossary, containing video clips to learn how to spot the difference between typical behaviors and early signs for autism.

 Camp Information

This website can help you find a summer camp and program options for children with special healthcare needs. This resource also has information to help address concerns if this is your child's first time attending camp. For more information click here.