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Pediatricians located in West End & Downtown, Billings, MT

What Is Autism?

Autism is not a single condition but a term used to describe a range of conditions known in the medical community as autism spectrum disorder. Kids with autism have developmental challenges that often affect their ability to succeed at home, school, and in social settings with their peers.

Just as no two individuals are alike, no two kids have the exact same experience of autism. Some children diagnosed with autism require around-the-clock care and are completely nonverbal, while others achieve a high level of function and excel in certain areas.

Understanding that no two kids with autism are the same can help parents understand that their child has a unique journey. Advancements in autism therapies have vastly improved patient outcomes and helped families learn how to adapt to an autism diagnosis.

The team at the Children’s Clinic doesn’t just see kids — they specialize in kids. They have extensive experience working with children with special health needs and understand the interplay between physical and mental health, including the full range of neurological and developmental disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism affects as many as 1 of every 54 children in America.

With offices on the West End and downtown, parents throughout Billings, Montana, have easy access to the team at the Children’s Clinic. If you’re seeking outstanding care for children with autism and connections to community resources to provide expanded support, begin your journey today by calling or requesting an initial visit online.

Autism Q&A

If you’d like more information about autism diagnostics and treatment, schedule a visit at the Children’s Clinic by phone or request an appointment online today.

How do I know if my child has autism?

Understanding what to look for can help parents know when to seek care for their child. In many cases, autism is diagnosed in early childhood, which allows for early interventions and therapies that can improve outcomes.

Some things that may indicate autism in kids include:

  • Delayed speech development.
  • Lack of interest in things going on around them.
  • Unusual reactions to new sights, scents, tastes, or sounds.
  • Avoiding eye contact.
  • Preferring to be alone.
  • Problems relating to others or lack of interest in others.
  • Lack of interest in being held or cuddled.
  • Repetitive speech or behaviors.
  • Avoiding eye contact.

While most kids go through phases where they might display one or two of these symptoms, kids with autism struggle with several of these issues over long periods.

If my child is autistic, are there treatments that can help?

If your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a professional assessment at the Children’s Clinic determines their specific strengths and challenges. A customized treatment plan follows, consisting of therapies shown to enhance communication, behavioral, and social skills.

While there is no cure for autism, kids who receive behavioral intervention therapies often experience improved cognitive function, enhanced daily living skills, and better social interactions. Some kids also benefit from occupational therapy, speech therapy, or even medication.

Parent training is also an excellent way for families to learn how to support a child with autism. These sessions help parents learn to recognize their autistic child’s unique talents and challenges.

Kids with autism behave very differently from neurotypical children, and understanding those differences can be beneficial for parents, siblings, and other caregivers. The Children’s Clinic also guides you on how to tap into community resources to ensure your child is getting all the support needed to thrive.