Virtual clinic focuses on reducing wait times for autism evaluations nationwide

Organizations working together to provide services for families who have children with autism

SAN ANTONIO – During National Autism Awareness Month, KSAT 12 is exploring how organizations are working together to provide services for families who have children with autism.

Dr. Tracy Burton is a pediatrician and the assistant medical director at As You Are, a virtual clinic whose aim is to help reduce wait times for autism evaluations nationwide.

“As You Are is a virtual clinic that (sic) we do autism evaluations,” Burton said. “Everything is done via telehealth, and we will assess each child from 16 months to 10 years old for signs of autism.”

Burton said intervention is key for helping children with autism.

“So much data has come out that starting therapies early and starting any sort of early intervention really can help the child learn how to manage their symptoms and help with family life and school functioning,” Burton said.

The Centers for Disease Control said about one in 36 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Burton outlines some warning signs if your child may have autism.

“If your child is not responding to their name. They’re not making great eye contact. They haven’t developed a lot of speech by a certain age,” Burton said. “Those are pretty big red flags.”

Burton said As You Are is changing lives and shares her frustration with the delays in autism diagnosis and treatment.

“I think where families very much struggle is finding access to those therapies, finding access to evaluations,” Burton said. “It is probably the only medical diagnosis that is out there that takes three years to actually diagnose with such a long waitlist.”

As You Are works closely with the nonprofit Any Baby Can San Antonio, which has an autism services program designed for families raising a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Any Baby Can said the wait time for diagnosis or treatment can vary.

“We would tell them that Any Baby Can really could provide great services like parent training classes to guide them through the next part of this journey,” Burton said.

Autism services at Any Baby Can include parent training to support groups.

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

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