Autism Spectrum Disorder

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that consists of several conditions which used to be diagnosed separately:  autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger Syndrome.  “Spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur.  People diagnosed with ASD often have problems with communication, social, and behavioral/emotional skills.

 Communication challenges and differences:   
  • Communicate differently (wide range of skill level from no speech to fluent, awkward/inappropriate speech)
Social Interaction challenges and differences:
  •  interact differently (wide range from being not interested in others to having a variety of friendships) 
Unusual behavior/emotional challenges and differences:  
  • different ways of learning, paying attention and reacting to things/situations
  • may repeat certain behaviors or become obsessed by items/topics
  • may thrive on routine, and experience difficulties adapting to changes in daily life activities
  • variable in the amount of help they will need to complete everyday activities (ranging from a lot of assistance to limited assistance)

When does ASD occur?

Signs of ASD typically occur in early childhood and last throughout a person's lifetime.

How is ASD treated?

Currently, no cure is available for ASD, however, research shows that early intervention treatment can improve a child's development.

Adapted from the CDC. 


If you have concerns about ASD, please immediately contact your primary care physician and/or your UW Medicine Valley Medical Center Children's Therapy therapist.

To contact Children's Therapy about autism treatment for your child, call 425.690.3513.  
Learn more about the autism spectrum diagnostic testing process.

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.

 Autism Newsletter

Here is a five part newsletter series that cover topics from early identification to, communicating with people diagnosed with ASD. This series will offer you tons of resources and information. Currently parts 1-3 are available, parts 4 and 5 will be published soon!


Research Opportunity

Researchers at Seattle Children's are currently recruiting infants (under 14 months) to study brain development during the first three years of life. To qualify the infant has to be under 14 months and have an older sibling that has Autism. For more information please take a look at this flyer.

Looking for autism resources?

Transition IEP Parent Panel: Join this online Lunch and Learn as they cover topics such as what DDA services looks like during transition years (ages 16-21). Also, pre-vocational support starting at 16 years old and many more topics. For more information and to register click here.

Greater Puget Sound area support groups

 WAA Supporting Parents of Autism (SPA): This is a support group for parents who have children on the autism spectrum. Lead by highly respected mental health counselors,these session offer support and community. Join parents virtually as they share experiences and build community. To check future dates and register, click here.

Webinar Class: This class is for parents to learn about four strategies designed to impact their child's development and have a chance to discuss recommendations on their child's diagnostic report. Also, this is a chance to ask questions and build community with other parents. This webinar for this month will be for Spanish speaking families with children under three. For more information click here.  Check back for next month for more dates and for our English speaking families.

Uniquely Human Podcast: This podcast is hosted by Barry Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP (speech-language pathologist with ~50 years as a researcher and international consultant for autistic individuals and their families and Dave Finch (author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "The Journal of Best Practices:  A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband", writer and creative consultant) and several special guests per podcast.

  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.

Autism Response Team is a line for anyone to call to find resources or ask questions related to autism. The team is trained to provide a personalized information and resources for people with autism and their families. This team is brought to you by the Autism Speaks organization.

 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.