I think my child may have autism. What do I do?

Important steps to take if you see symptoms of Autism

You know your child best. If they’re not reaching childhood milestones for their age and you suspect they may have autism, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take next. All children develop at their own pace. Slight deviations from the expected childhood development milestones are not necessarily a cause for concern.

However, a child with autism may be slow to babble and acquire language skills or can have problems with eye contact or responding to their name. Remember, every child is unique, and a diagnosis of autism is not a one-size-fits-all. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complex developmental disorder that can present a range of symptoms and challenges, but with early intervention and the right support, children with autism can thrive and reach their full meaningful potential.

Here are the 5 steps to take if you suspect your child has autism.

Step 1: Talk to your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider.

Don’t wait. Share your child’s developmental concerns with your pediatrician or primary care provider sooner rather than later. Acting early can make a real difference for your child and your entire family! Early intervention is crucial for children with autism, as it can improve favorable outcomes and increase the likelihood of long-term success. Pediatricians have a thorough understanding of developmental milestones, but it’s important to ensure your child receives a developmental screening and an autism screening at 18 months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Diagnosing and treating autism as early as possible can make a significant positive impact on a child’s development.

Step 2: Get an evaluation from a qualified professional.   

If your child shows  , your pediatrician should refer you to an autism expert. A qualified professional, such as an ABA therapist, child psychologist, or developmental pediatrician, can conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine if your child has autism. This can include observations of your child’s behavior, interviews with you and your child, and standardized assessments.  

Prior to the evaluation, write down your concerns and observations of your child’s developmental issues. It can be extremely helpful to have a comprehensive list and be able to easily share these details with the professional conducting the evaluation. For instance, if your child refuses eye contact or is behind on language and/or communication milestones, you should tell the evaluator if your child was progressing, but then begun experiencing regression with these milestones.

Step 3: Find quality ABA treatment.

If your child is diagnosed with autism, it’s important to find an ABA therapy provider who has achieved accreditation as a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence® (BHCOE), like The Behavior Exchange. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is the gold standard for treatment of children with autism. Work closely with your ABA therapist to determine the best course of treatment for your child’s unique needs and create an individualized plan for treatment and early therapy. Studies have shown that the earlier children with autism begin receiving therapy, the better chance they have of gaining and retaining life-long skills, which can lead to a better overall quality of life.

An autism diagnosis for school-aged children can make navigating social and academic spheres even more complex. The good news is that ABA therapy has been proven to foster basic skills, such as making eye contact, expressing needs and wants, and more complicated tasks, such as reading and fostering friendships. While some ABA therapy sessions involve intensive one-on-one settings with a behavior therapist, group sessions with peers are also a valuable way for children to learn important social skills and to learn in a format that is similar to school.

Step 4: Seek out support and resources.

Finding support and resources can be invaluable in navigating a diagnosis of autism. There are many organizations and advocacy groups, such as Autism Speaks, Autism Society, and National Autism Association, that offers information and support to individuals and families affected by autism. Look for local groups to connect with in your area or even online. The Behavior Exchange offers Parent Training which is a crucial part of ensuring your child’s consistent success and connects you with other families who have been through similar experiences.

The ultimate goal of ABA parent training is to empower you with practical techniques that can make a difference in your child’s life and in your family’s overall well-being. As a result, you can feel confident that every interaction you have with your child is therapeutic and helps them reach their full potential. It’s also important to remember that you’re not alone, and there are many people and resources available to help support you and your family.  

Step 5: Be your child’s advocate.

Parenting a child with autism can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Every child is unique and requires individualized support, but there are strategies, like ABA therapy, that can help parents and caregivers navigate this journey. Learning as much as you can about autism, especially educating yourself on the  , can help you better understand your child’s strengths and challenges and can also help you advocate for your child.

There are many educational resources available for your family that can help you learn more about autism, like Autism Speaks’ resource guide. It’s important to remember that every child with autism is unique. Celebrating your child’s unique qualities can help them develop a positive self-image and sense of self-worth.

If you take away one thing from this article, the most important is to act now rather than later. Waiting to see if your child “grows out of it” can deprive you and your child of precious time that can make all the difference. With early intervention and support, children with autism can thrive and reach their full potential. A brighter future is possible!

To learn more, visit us at behaviorexchange.com, email buddy@behaviorexchange.com, or complete our contact form. We can help!





Ashvina attended University of Bombay and graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce. She got her Montessori Diploma in 1985 and taught ever since. Ashvina came to TBE in January of 2016 as Admin Assistant. During the years she got the opportunity to learn and work in different departments such as HR, Finance, Office Manager and Executive Assistant. Last summer TBE bought billing in house and her current focus area is Revenue Cycle Management. She is detail oriented and enjoys working with people. Ashvina volunteers to deliver meals to seniors and local shelters on the weekend. She loves to spend time with her family and grandkids. Ashvina loves her job because she enjoys hearing different points of view, and she feels her contributions help fuel the direction of our company.

Working with children comes naturally to Angela. Her mom was a special education teacher for 30 years and often had Angela join her for Take Your Child to Work Day. And in high school, Angela spent every summer as the nanny for a little boy with an autism spectrum disorder. It was this experience where her passion for working with children with autism started to blossom.

From there, she went on to graduate from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences. She learned about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in a non-normative development class and from that moment knew that ABA would be her life’s work.

Angela moved to the DFW area shortly after and began working at The Behavior Exchange as a therapist. She worked on her Master’s in Behavior Analysis at the same time. A year after graduating, she earned certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Now, as a Clinical Director at The Behavior Exchange, she brings a life-long passion to her work, holding a special place in her heart for children with limited language skills and working closely with families to develop healthy sleep habits.

Danielle’s passion for working with families is deeply personal and from the heart. Her younger brother has an autism spectrum disorder, and through their journey as a family, she found her purpose in life as an advocate for individuals with special needs.

After graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Danielle began volunteering at The Behavior Exchange. She saw passionate therapists, meaningful change for clients, and families with hope for the future. After a summer of volunteering, she officially joined the team as Director of Admissions and found her home with The Behavior Exchange family.

With her extensive experience working as a client advocate with insurance providers, Danielle perseveres to help individuals of all ages and abilities receive the services they need to reach their full potential. She feels truly honored by each and every family who entrusts The Behavior Exchange to be part of their journey and is committed to the organization’s core values, mission, and goal of being a beacon of hope for the community.

Adam has always had a passion for helping individuals of all ages thrive and reach their full potential. He’s also an enthusiastic musician, songwriter, leader, and devoted family man, who has been helping children and team members grow with The Behavior Exchange since 2010.

Prior to joining the team at The Behavior Exchange, Adam was a mortgage loan consultant and grad student, pursuing his master’s degree in Education at the University of North Texas. He graduated in 2013 and also earned a graduate academic certificate in Autism Intervention. The following year, after years as a Behavior Therapist and seeing first-hand the power of ABA and the meaningful impact it can have on children and their families, Adam became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He then commenced from the Stagen Leadership Academy after completing the Integral Leadership Program (ILP), a 52-week practice-based program designed to develop executives serious about transforming themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

Adam is truly grateful to be a part of a dynamic, inspiring and compassionate team, and he’s dedicated to bettering the lives of all children and their families through the delivery of the highest quality of ABA services, while supporting the amazing team at The Behavior Exchange.

Soraya is from South Africa and moved to Texas in 1996. She graduated from The University of Texas and pursued a career, at that time, in Education. Soraya taught at a Montessori school for a few years and then took on a leadership role.

During her time in the education system, Soraya realized her passion was to assist children with special needs. So she joined The Behavior Exchange as a therapist, transitioned into a supervisory role in 2017, and a year and a half later, was promoted to Clinical Operations Manager.

She quickly learned the ins and outs of ABA operations and scheduling and successfully collaborates across departments to ensure The Behavior Exchange continues to provide quality services to clients and their families. She’s thankful to be part of such an amazing organization and excited to see what the future holds.

You could say Walter’s career started when he spent hours as a young child drawing superheroes and coloring maps. This passion, along with extraordinary swimming skills, landed him a full swimming scholarship at Texas Christian University, where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Graphics.

During the next 13 years, his design and art direction skills, conceptual-thinking abilities, and marketing-savvy know-how were honed at a few prestigious advertising and marketing agencies around the Dallas area. In the mid 2000s, he helped his wife Tammy Cline-Soza (founder and CEO of The Behavior Exchange) create a unique and concise brand for her new business. From logos and websites to uniforms, brand voice and visuals, Walter has been the main creative force for all things The Behavior Exchange.

Aside from giving birth to The Behavior Exchange brand, Walter is helping Tammy raise two amazing, beautiful children, River and Sierra. In his spare time (the two minutes he’s got per week), you can find Walter illustrating iconic landmarks of Dallas and Texas or looking around for this next open-water swim. Once he gets back in shape.

After 20 years of building The Behavior Exchange, literally from the ground up,
Tammy couldn’t be more proud of the team, culture, and organization that it has become.

As a family helping families, The Behavior Exchanges looks for opportunities that will make the biggest impact and produce life-changing outcomes – for clients, families, and even for team members. Tammy believes that if a team, a family, a community takes care of each other, the possibilities are endless and the relationships built along the way can make life more enriching and challenges easier to navigate. You could say her goal has been to build a kind of utopia full of support, love, and expertise that brings the best services possible to the community and ensures more families have access to those services.

Tammy and her family have dedicated their lives to the mission of The Behavior Exchange and continue to grow, learn, cultivate, challenge, support, and create better models for success. To that end, she is committed to her own leadership development and actively participates in advanced training, mentoring, and deep self-exploration on how to live out her purpose to love and support her family and help others reach their full potential. She takes her position very seriously and tries to serve as a channel for what the universe wants to come to fruition.

She also loves travel, gardening, being creative, MUSIC!, tennis, yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, being in nature, adventures, and more than anything, spending time with her husband Walter and their two beautiful children, River and Sierra.