Autism services offered in Mcallen, TX

Every child with autism has differing abilities and strengths, but they all have limited interests, repetitive behaviors, and difficulty communicating and socializing. At Pediatric Associates at Ridge in McAllen, Texas, Maria Hoffman-Guardia, MD, offer personalized autism services. She provides autism evaluations, recommend treatments, and give parents the support and information needed to choose the services that are best for their child. If you’re worried your child may have autism, getting an early diagnosis and treatment makes a big difference in their life. Call the office or book an appointment online right away.

What is autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood and lasts a lifetime, affecting how children learn, communicate, behave, think, and interact with others.

There isn’t one known cause for autism. However, the condition originates in the brain, where certain areas develop and connect differently than in people who don’t have autism.

What are the core challenges of autism?

Autism is called autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because it encompasses children with diverse abilities. However, all children with autism face two primary challenges:

Repetitive behaviors and restricted interests

Children with autism engage in repetitive movements (like hand flapping, finger wiggling, and body rocking) and have limited ways of playing (lining up toy soldiers rather than playing army or spinning the wheels on a truck). They also have one interest that consumes their attention.

Communication and socialization challenges

Nearly one-third of children with autism don’t talk but may one day learn. Others talk constantly but don’t know how to start or maintain a social, reciprocal conversation.

Difficulty socializing is partly related to their communication challenges and limited interests. However, many other issues influence their ability to make friends, such as anxiety and lacking the intuitive skills needed to socialize.

What are the signs of autism?

Many autism signs appear at an early age. A few examples include:

  • Not pointing by 12 months
  • Not using two-word phrases by 24 months
  • Not responding to their name
  • Not engaging in make-believe play
  • Not making eye contact
  • Preferring to play alone
  • Refusing to be comforted or hugged
  • Being interested in one toy, subject, movie, or TV show
  • Playing by lining up toys
  • Playing with parts of toys
  • Monopolizing conversations with their interest
  • Not sharing other children’s interests
  • Struggling to make friends
  • Interpreting language literally
  • Missing nonverbal cues like body language

Your child may be overly sensitive to sounds, crowds, smells, and temperature, issues that impact every aspect of their life, from the foods they tolerate to their ability to socialize.

How is autism treated?

The team at Pediatric Associates at Ridge completes an autism evaluation and recommends a treatment plan for your child’s unique strengths, weaknesses, functional goals, and behavioral and emotional challenges. They help you find resources in the community and navigate the multitude of therapies for autistic children.

Call the Pediatric Associates at Ridge or request an appointment online today to learn more about autism and if it may be the source of your child’s challenges.