Autism Center

Treatments and Services

Seattle Children's is known nationally for innovative research and high-quality care for children and teens with autism spectrum disorder. We offer a wide range of treatments and services.

Services We Provide

Diagnostic autism evaluation

We assess children and young adults from 15 months to 21 years old to see if they have autism. We work with you on a care plan to meet your child’s health, behavior and learning needs. Our staff will connect you with treatment and support services at Seattle Children’s and in the community.

Due to the high demand for this service, we do not provide re-evaluations or second opinions. Learn more about getting a diagnostic evaluation.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Early Intervention Program

We offer a program to help children with autism up to age 6 using evidence-based therapy called applied behavior analysis. We teach skills to increase positive behaviors (like communicating) and reduce challenging behaviors (like tantrums). The program is 4 days a week for 12 weeks, either morning or afternoon. This program is only open to families covered by Apple Health (Medicaid).

While your child gets high-quality therapy, you and other caregivers learn new ways to communicate with your children and support behavior changes. Learn more about our ABA Early Intervention Program.

Therapies for challenging behaviors

To help autistic children and teens with challenging behaviors, we use applied behavior analysis. We work with you to assess how your child acts and the purpose of their behavior. For example, the behavior might get your child something they want, like attention. Or it might help your child avoid something they do not want, like a noisy classroom. We work with you to teach your child behaviors that can serve the same purpose without causing problems. Learn more about our therapies for challenging behaviors.

Parent education and support

An autism diagnosis is life changing. But you are not alone. At each stage of your child’s journey, we offer education, referrals and support. Our goal is to help you become a confident advocate for your child.

  • Our classes can help you understand your child’s diagnosis and the therapies we provide.
  • Our Family Resource team can connect you to parent groups and other families to share experiences and hope. We can also help you figure out the complex service systems for families with autism. To learn more, please reach out to the Family Resource team by email.
  • We share resources at Seattle Children’s and in the community to help you and your child understand autism and participate in treatment.

Pediatric Feeding Program

We assess and treat children age 1 through 18, with or without autism, who need team-based care for complex feeding concerns. This includes children who struggle with eating and drinking in ways that put their health at risk or seriously affect how they behave at mealtimes. Learn more about our Pediatric Feeding Program.

Psychiatric and Medication Consultation Clinic

We evaluate psychiatric concerns (such as anxiety, depression, focus, impulsivity and behavior) in children and teens who have autism or other neurodevelopmental conditions. We assess whether medicines or other treatment options could help your child and will talk with you about the potential benefits, limits and risks of each option. If you and your child’s healthcare team decide medicine is a good choice, we will help your child get started.

Autism Gender Clinic

Adolescents and teens with autism identify as gender diverse more often than other adolescents and teens. Our team cares for youth with autism who question their gender identity, are transgender or are gender nonconforming and for their families.

Our multidisciplinary team assesses if your adolescent is ready to begin gender-affirming care, and we provide behavioral health services to help as they explore their gender identity and transition path. As we consider treatment options, we take into account the patient’s age, stage of puberty, desired future treatments, support systems and any health problems they may have. We also work closely with the experts at Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic to coordinate care.

Autism medical care planning

A medical provider, such as a nurse practitioner or neurodevelopmental pediatrician, is available to help address complex developmental and medical issues associated with autism. Our medical providers can help with a range of concerns, including struggles with sleep or toileting, school difficulties or syndromes that may affect your child along with autism. (This is distinct from our Psychiatric and Medication Consultation Clinic for children who may need medication or other treatment for psychiatric concerns.)

Autism Mood and Anxiety Program

We offer evidence-based therapy to children and teens with autism who also have anxiety or mood concerns. We offer the following groups:

  • Facing Your Fears is for kids ages 8 to 14 who are verbally fluent and have trouble with anxiety.
  • Emotion Regulation is for kids ages 7 to 12 who are verbally fluent and have trouble managing their emotions and being flexible.
  • Parenting Teens with Strong Emotions (PDF) is for parents of teens ages 13 to 18 with emotion dysregulation or a history of self-harm or suicidal ideation.

If your child needs services, ask their provider to refer you to the Autism Mood and Anxiety Program.

Specialized Neurodevelopmental Assessment and Consultation Service (SNACS)

Some children struggle with learning, behavior or development because of exposure to alcohol or other substances before they were born (prenatal exposures). The SNACS clinic offers 3 to 5 visits with a provider who specializes in evaluating and creating a care plan for children with these concerns.

Our providers:

  • Evaluate your child for problems they may face with attention, learning, memory, behavior, social skills and other areas of development
  • Help you understand your child’s diagnosis and development, including finding out if your child has a diagnosis related to prenatal exposures, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Talk with you about your family’s challenges and the services you and your child need
  • Help figure out how to get services at school or in the community
  • Suggest ways to work with your child at home to help prevent problem behaviors

Learn more about SNACS (PDF).

Adult transition services

We support teens and young adults with autism and their families as they get ready for the next stage of life. What’s next depends on the goals and needs of each person and their family. It may mean learning about guardianship, applying for state or federal programs or exploring education options.

We help by:

Please talk to your Autism Center provider for more information or a referral to transition support.

Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center

The Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center offers year-round classes and activities for adults age 18 or older with autism or other developmental disabilities. These services are a lifeline for young adults with autism, who may otherwise withdraw after the routine of school ends. Classes focus on social activities, recreation, health and wellness, independent living and work training. Topic experts teach classes with support from behavior specialists. The goal is to build on strengths, boost confidence, build social skills and promote lifelong learning. Read more about the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center.

Our Approach to Care

Our goal is to give your child or teen complete and coordinated care and help them transition to adult services when the time is right. We work closely with experts in other specialties at Seattle Children's to assess and treat your child. These include:

Contact Us

If you would like an appointment, ask your child’s primary care provider to refer you. Learn more about how to get services at the Autism Center.

Providers, see how to refer a patient.