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 Early Openings for Individuals with an ASD in 2015 & 2016

Pacific Science Center is opening its doors for Sensory-Friendly fun in 2015 and 2016 from 8-10 a.m. the second Saturday of each month - FREE. Check out the link 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.