The Autism Center at the Children's Learning Institute

Welcome to The Autism Center at the Children's Learning Institute

The Autism Clinic

The Autism Center at the Children's Learning Institute 
7000 Fannin
UCT Suite 2453
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (713) 500-3600
Make an Appointment | Map and Directions


The Autism Center at the Children's Learning Institute is part of the Dan L. Duncan Programs. Our mission is to enhance opportunities for successful living for children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) by providing them with individualized, research-based assessment and clinical services. Our team works closely to offer an "Autism Home" for your child's developmental, autism-related medical, psychological and educational needs. Through diagnosis, referral for recommended interventions, ongoing medication management if needed, and periodic follow-up, we address your child's needs throughout childhood and adolescence.

Parental Concerns that are RED FLAGS for Autism1

Communication Concerns

  • Does not respond to his or her name
  • Cannot tell me what (s)he wants
  • Language is delayed with no spontaneous single words by ~16 months of age (not just echoed)
  • Doesn't follow simple directions
  • Appears “deaf” at times
  • Seems to hear sometimes but not others
  • Doesn't point or wave bye-bye by 12-13 months of age
Social Concerns
  • Doesn’t smile socially
  • Seems to prefer to play alone
  • Gets things for himself
  • Is very independent
  • Is a “good baby” without making many demands
  • Does things "early"
  • Has poor eye contact
  • Is in his/her own world
  • Tunes us out
  • Is not interested in other children
Behavioral Concerns
  • Tantrums (excessive)
  • Is hyperactive/uncooperative or oppositional
  • Does not know how to play with toys
  • Gets stuck on certain things over and over
  • Toe walks
  • Has unusual attachment to toys (e.g., always is holding a certain object, or must hold something in both hands))
  • Lines things up or sorts by category
  • Is oversensitive to certain textures or sounds
  • Has odd movement patterns
Absolute Indications for immediate further evaluation
  • No babbling by 12 months (ma, ba, ta, ga, da)
  • No gesturing (pointing, waving bye-bye, etc...) by 12 months
  • No spontaneous (not just echolalic) single words by 16 months other than “mama” or “dada”
  • No spontaneous 2-word phrases (not echolalic) by 24 months
  • ANY loss of ANY Language or Social Skills at ANY age

The term “echolalic” refers to the repeating back (‘parroting’) of words or phrases either immediately or later, used as ‘scripts’ in speech.

The data shows that parents are usually correct if they are concerned about their child’s development.2 If you are concerned about your child’s development, continue to seek advice and help from professionals until your concerns have been addressed appropriately. Note that the reverse, however, is not true: if you are not concerned about your child’s development, there still may be undetected problems.

1 Filipek PA, Accardo PJ, Baranek GT, Cook EH, Jr., Dawson G, Gordon B, Gravel JS, Johnson CP, Kallen RJ, Levy SE, Minshew NJ, Ozonoff S, Prizant BM, Rapin I, Rogers SJ, Stone WL, Teplin S, Tuchman RF, Volkmar FR. The screening and diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 1999; 29:439-84.

2 Glascoe FP. Using parents' concerns to detect and address developmental and behavioral problems. J Soc Pediatr Nurs 1999;4:24-35.

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