Refer a Patient
The 3 Pathways to Care
If your patient is new to Seattle Children’s Autism Center or hasn’t been seen in the last 3 years, there are 3 pathways to care:
- If they need an initial evaluation for autism, please indicate this in your referral, and we will schedule them for a diagnostic evaluation. We do not provide re-evaluations or second opinions for autism.
- The Autism Center has long waitlists for diagnostic evaluations. Your patient may be able to get an evaluation closer to home at another center with shorter wait times. Refer to this list: Center of Excellence Applied Behavior Analysis | Apple Health Fee-for-Service Providers (PDF). These are medical practices authorized by the Washington State Health Care Authority to diagnose autism and prescribe related services.
- You may also share these resources with your patient:
If you are unsure about whether to refer your patient, please call our Clinical Intake Nurses at 206-987-2080, option 1.
To view our services by location, see Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Service Locations (PDF).
Services We Don’t Offer
We do not see children for the following (see our list of possible resources in the community for these children):
- Diagnostic re-evaluation for autism. Due to our long wait for initial evaluations, if the patient has already had an evaluation, we do not provide second opinions. Here is a list of providers in the community that will provide evaluations.
- Long-term individual therapy
- Long-term medication management
- In-home therapy
- Dyslexia or learning disorder evaluations
- Parenting evaluations for legal purposes
- School evaluations after expulsion or suspension. (If schools require this, they should provide a list of approved providers for this.)
On This Page
- Appointment availability
- Referral requirements and supplemental questionnaires
- Our classes
- Submit a referral
- What your patients can expect
- Resources and research for patients
- Resources for providers
Updated November 2023.
Wait times differ by service and, for some services, by patient age. We recommend that families call 206-987-8080 to verify that we have received the referral. When they call, we will let them know the current wait time for the specific service.
Please submit a complete referral. This helps us schedule your patient’s appointment in a timely manner and ensure their first visit is smooth and productive.
- Autism diagnosis status: For example, if the patient needs an autism evaluation, has a provisional diagnosis or has an autism diagnosis and needs care related to their autism.
- Service/specialty clinic requested (see Autism Center treatments and services): If you refer to the Psychiatric and Medication Consultation Clinic, Behavior Clinic, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Early Intervention Program or Pediatric Feeding Program, there is a required supplemental questionnaire that helps us to triage them into the right program. The forms are available at the bottom of this section, or you can go directly there. They must be sent along with the New Appointment Request Form (NARF).
- Reason for referral: What is the clinical question for the specialist (specifics help us match your patient with an appropriate service more quickly)?
- Any other relevant diagnosis
- Visit type:
- New patient consult, transfer of care or return visit/ongoing care
- ALL relevant clinical documents:
- Clinic notes
- Previous specialty evaluations (for example, previous autism/developmental, mental health or educational evaluations/individualized education plans [IEPs])
- Medication history
- Helpful if available, but not required:
- Growth charts/curves
- Lab reports
- Imaging and diagnostic reports (you can upload images to PowerShare)
- Patient’s full name, date of birth, sex, address, guardian contact information and insurance
- Referring provider’s name, phone, fax and the referral coordinator’s email address, so we can contact you if we need more information
- If an interpreter is needed
- Any known barriers to performing a successful telehealth (video) visit with the family
- Supplemental questionnaire — required for the clinics below:
- Psychiatry and Medication Consultation Clinic form (for referrals to either the Fast-Track Psychiatric Consultation Program or the Brief Intervention Psychiatric Program)
- Behavior Clinic screening form
- Pediatric Feeding Program form
- ABA Early Intervention Program form (PDF) (DOCX) (can be completed by the family or provider)
- Inpatient care: Patients can be admitted to the inpatient Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU) (ages 3 to 17) only after they visit an emergency room and providers there decide they would benefit from an inpatient stay.
- Patients not seen by our department in the last 3 years will need a new referral.
- Classes are different than therapy groups.
- Some classes require a referral. Others do not.
- Classes are shorter than groups and repeat more often.
- Waitlists are much shorter, if there is any wait at all.
- Classes are designed to help families start to access the information, tools and resources they and their child need, often while they are waiting to receive care at Seattle Children’s or elsewhere.
- Classes are web-based (virtual) at this time.
- Financial assistance is available for qualifying families for classes with an associated cost.
- Fax a New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF, DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
- Instead of fax, you can use EpicCare Link, an online way to submit referrals and track referral status. Get started with EpicCare Link.
- Step-by-step guide to submitting a referral
- New Patient Referral FAQ
Once we receive your referral, we will contact you:
- If we have questions about the referral
- If the patient does not meet the clinical criteria for our programs
Due to the number of referrals we receive, we aren’t able to contact every primary care provider (PCP) when a referral is received. In addition, we are not able to contact every family to confirm receipt of their referral. Please encourage families to contact us to confirm receipt after the referral is placed.
Learn more about managing your patients at Seattle Children’s.
- Many of our services have a long wait, while our classes do not. If your patient has a diagnosis of autism and their caregivers are able to attend our ATLAS class (PDF), they will be scheduled to attend the class right away.
- We encourage families to call 206-987-8080 to verify that we have received the referral. They can ask to be added to a cancellation list. The family will remain on the cancellation list until they get an appointment. When the family calls, we will be able to let them know the current wait time for the service or class they’ve been referred for.
- As openings become available, we call families to schedule in the order the referral was received.
- Patients can visit our What to Expect page for more information about their appointment.
- Patients can find resources and support.
Even if we do not have openings right away, there are many resources through Seattle Children’s and in the community that can help.
Your patient may be able to take part in our research and clinical trials even if they have to wait for an appointment. To learn more about how to get involved, your patients can call 206-987-7917 or email us.
- Children’s Crisis Outreach Response System (CCORS)
- Partnership Access Line (PAL): Telephone-based child mental health consultation system for primary care doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants throughout Alaska, Washington and Wyoming
- Autism Evaluation Providers in the Northwest (Spanish): Options outside of Seattle Children’s for a diagnostic evaluation
- See our clinic’s Patient and Family Education page.
- Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Service Locations (PDF)
To suggest additional resources from Seattle Children’s that would be useful to primary care providers, please email us.