Caring Pediatrics

Pediatricians located in Tempe, AZ

Roughly 1 in 54 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Finding ways to manage your child’s symptoms can be a challenge without professional, individualized care. At Caring Pediatrics in Tempe, Arizona, compassionate pediatrician Rahul Bhatia, MD, MPH, FAAP, FCCM, and his team evaluate your child and gets them the help they need with services like speech therapy and medications. Book an appointment for your child using the online scheduling tool or by calling the office today.


What is autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a developmental condition that affects the way your child behaves, learns, and communicates. Your child may be behind or far ahead of their peers in terms of learning and problem solving, as the abilities of people on the autism spectrum vary widely.

There is no conclusive test for autism, but your child’s pediatrician at Caring Pediatrics looks for common signs and symptoms during an evaluation. 

Usually, symptoms show up before age 3 or even as early as their first year. Sometimes, however, children are diagnosed later in childhood and don’t receive the help they need early on. 

What are some common signs of autism in children?

There are many signs and symptoms in children with autism, and the condition shows up differently between individuals. Signs and symptoms you might notice in your child include:

  • Trouble making or maintaining eye contact
  • Trouble relating to others
  • Preferring not to be touched or held
  • A lack of awareness when others speak to your child
  • Trouble expressing their thoughts and emotions with words
  • A hard time adapting to changes
  • Obsessive interests
  • Unusual repeated movements, like hand flapping or rocking back and forth
  • Unusual reactions to sounds, smells, and other sensory input
  • Unusual eating habits
  • Delayed language skills

The team at Caring Pediatrics can elaborate on the many possible signs and symptoms of autism during your child’s evaluation. 

What causes autism?

There are some unfounded rumors about what causes or contributes to the development of autism in children. Vaccines don’t cause autism, but certain genetic and environmental factors seem to play a role.

Autism tends to run in families, and children who have siblings with autism are more likely to have it themselves. 

Certain medications taken during pregnancy, like thalidomide, are also linked with a higher risk of autism in babies and children. 

How is autism in children treated?

Early intervention with treatments and services to help your child manage their symptoms improves their developmental outlook greatly. Certain interventions can enhance your child’s cognitive abilities and everyday skills. 

Each autism treatment plan is highly individualized because of the large variance in symptoms. Some possible components of your child’s treatment plan include:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Regular physical exams
  • Social skills training
  • Medications
  • Dietary changes
  • Assistive technology (e.g., communication devices)

Your child can access some of these services, like speech therapy, without an official autism diagnosis. With assistance from the team at Caring Pediatrics, your child gets the help they need with learning, communication, social skills, and other abilities that autism can impact.

To schedule an evaluation and find out more about how autism presents in children and adolescents, call Caring Pediatrics or use the online booking tool to make an appointment today.