Autism is a developmental disorder that affects behavior and communication. While the most obvious signs tend to start showing around 2 to 3 years of age, your child may be diagnosed earlier — possibly as early as 18 months old. It is a spectrum disorder, which means type and severity of symptoms can vary drastically from child to child.
Some of the most common signs of autism include:
- Repetitive behaviors, such as repeating words or phrases
- Getting upset with changes in routine, even if the changes are very small
- Obsessive interest in a particular topic
- Overreacting or underreacting to the way things look, sound, smell, feel, or taste
- Delayed speech or no speech development
- Avoiding eye contact or physical contact
- Wanting to be alone
- Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Flapping hands, spinning in circles, or rocking their body back and forth
If your child has autism, they may also have other medical issues, such as digestive disorders, seizures, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), phobias, anxiety, or sleep disorders.
While your child may experience challenges, they may also have strengths associated with autism. For example, they may excel in art, music, math, or science.
What To Expect At The Autism Diagnostic Clinic
Your child will need a physician referral to be evaluated at the Autism Diagnostic Clinic. At the clinic, your child may undergo behavioral assessments, genetic testing, developmental observations, and speech evaluations.
Questions our clinic can help answer include:
- What behavioral therapies would be most helpful?
- Could there be an underlying genetic diagnosis?
- Are there other medical issues we should be concerned about?
- What therapeutic services (speech, physical, occupational) would best help my child and how do I access them?
- Could medication help my child?
The evaluation typically takes a few hours to complete. To ensure that your child is as comfortable as possible during the evaluation, please keep in mind:
- At least one parent or caregiver must accompany your child throughout the evaluation.
- We encourage you to bring snacks or other items of comfort your child may like to have.
- Your child does not have to be present after the evaluation. If you anticipate problems with your child staying longer than 3 hours in the clinic, it is okay to make arrangements for their care.
- You will also receive a letter summarizing the visit within a few weeks of the evaluation.
After the evaluation process is complete, further medical testing may be recommended. We also provide resources to help you and your family navigate follow-up care and community programs or services.
What Sets Children’s Apart?
Our team includes a parent advocate who is specially trained in providing autism-related advocacy services, such as:
Educating family members regarding your child’s diagnosis
- Assisting families in identifying and utilizing necessary support services
- Helping family members understand the different roles of the support services your child may need and how they may affect the family
Coordinating education and communication between various support services system and your family
What To Do Next?
Make An Appointment
A referral from your child’s provider is required to schedule an appointment with the Autism Diagnostic Clinic. Once your child’s provider has put in a request, we will send out an informational letter and questionnaire packet. Please return this paperwork by mail or fax:
Autism Diagnostic Clinic
8200 Dodge St.
2nd floor, Scott Pavilion
Omaha, NE 68114
Once we receive this paperwork, we will contact you to schedule an appointment.
For more information, call 402-955-6570.
For Referring Providers
The Physicians’ Priority Line is your 24-hour link to pediatric specialists at Children’s for referrals, emergency and urgent consults, physician-to-physician consults, admissions, and transport services. Call 855-850-KIDS (5437).
Learn more about referring patients.