Child in ABA therapy at Siskin Childrens Institute Child in ABA therapy at Siskin Childrens Institute

Autism Diagnosis

Our pediatrics teams in Chattanooga and Nashville can assess
for and diagnose autism in children. Speak with
your pediatrician or family doctor to request a referral.

What Makes Siskin’s Autism Services Different

We understand it can be difficult to know where to start when you have concerns about your child’s developmental progress, and we are pleased to assist throughout the journey—from diagnosis to therapy. In addition to autism diagnosis, we offer a variety of other medical diagnoses, as well as ABA therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Receiving an official autism diagnosis is the first step in helping your child gain access to therapy and support services. Early evaluation and diagnosis are critical to providing children with the therapy services they need to thrive. We are happy to be able to provide a diagnosis for autism to those in the Chattanooga (18 mo. – 5 years) and Nashville (18 mo. – 8 years) area, as well as families who can visit our locations in these areas.

How to Request an Appointment

At the Siskin Center for Developmental Pediatrics, we believe that the best care is coordinated care. Therefore, we accept new patients for medical diagnosis and assessments from a referring physician. This provides us with comprehensive medical history and information and maintains continuity with the child’s primary care physician and specialist.

If you have concerns regarding your child’s development, please reach out to your child’s pediatrician or medical care provider and request a referral to the Siskin Center for Developmental Pediatrics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can affect a child’s social skills, communication, and behavior. Because most children with ASD will sit, crawl, and walk on time, you may not notice delays in social and communication skills right in the first year of life. Each child with ASD has different needs. The sooner ASD is identified, the sooner an early intervention program directed at the child’s symptoms can begin. The AAP recommends that all children be screened for ASD at their 18- and 24-month well-child checkups. Research shows that starting an intervention program as soon as possible can improve outcomes for many children with ASD.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

What are the main symptoms of autism?

The number and severity of symptoms of autism can vary greatly from child to child. However, there are key social, communication, and behavioral differences in children with autism. A child with ASD may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • May not keep eye contact or makes little or no eye contact
  • Has difficulty perceiving what others might be thinking or feeling by looking at their facial expressions
  • Says no single words by 15 months or 2-word phrases by 24 months
  • May have a good rote memory, especially for numbers, letters, songs, TV jingles, or a specific topic
  • Rocks, spins, sways, twirls fingers, walks on toes for a long time, or flaps hands (called “stereotypic behavior” or stereotypies)
  • May be obsessed with a few or unusual activities, doing them repeatedly during the day

Click here for a full list of potential symptoms of ASD.

Remember, you know your child best and your concerns are important. If you have concerns about how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, talk with your pediatrician.

When do autism symptoms appear?

The symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often appear early in development. Many children show symptoms of autism by 12 months to 18 months of age or earlier. Some early signs of autism include delayed social communication skills, problems with eye contact, and restrictive and repetitive play.

What resources are available to my child while we’re waiting for a diagnosis?

Siskin offers Family Navigation for families to connect them with available resources in their community and ongoing support.

My child has been diagnosed with autism. Now what?

Families will work closely with their provider and often will have services recommended which may include speech, occupational, physical, and/or feeding therapy. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA Therapy) may also be recommended. A Family Navigator can also support families during this process to find services that are available close to home as well as a good fit for the families overall needs. A Family Navigator can also help families navigate early intervention services, developmental preschool options and inclusive community activities.

ABA Therapy

The Gold Standard for Autism Spectrum Disorders

If your child has an official autism diagnosis, they may be a great candidate for ABA therapy. ABA, or applied behavior analysis, therapy is an evidence-based therapy for children with autism. ABA therapists understand how human behaviors are learned and how they can be changed over time. Several times a week, they work with the child in their natural environment (school, home, etc.), with the goal of increasing functional communication.

Our Medical Team
Chattanooga Clinic
Chattanooga Clinic
Clinical Therapy Director
Chattanooga Clinic
Chattanooga Clinic
M.D., M.S.
Nashville Clinic
Applied Behavior Analysis Services Director
Chattanooga Clinic
Chattanooga Clinic