Autism starts when a child is very young. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have:
- Language that develops slowly or not at all
- Lack of social play, eye contact, smiling, or cuddling
- Behaviors that are repeated over and over again or intense reactions to changes in routine
Children with ASD may also have very strong reactions to certain things they touch, taste, or hear. They may get upset easily or have a lot of tantrums.
The Need for Help
Today, we know that autism spectrum disorder is more prevalent than we once thought. In Iowa alone, there are thousands of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Families often have to decide what services to arrange for their child and where to find these services locally. They are also expected to communicate the results of their child’s evaluations and coordinate care between service providers. The complicated process often leaves families feeling frustrated and helpless in meeting the needs of their child.
That's Where We Come In
The Autism Center at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital was developed to make access to services and resources easier for families living here, in the Iowa City area, and elsewhere in the state of Iowa.
Because ASD affects so many aspects of life, children are best served by a team of experts working together. The Autism Center combines expertise from the Center for Disabilities and Development, the Department of Pediatrics, and the Department of Psychiatry. It is lead by co-directors Scott Lindgren, PhD, and Thomas Wassink, MD.
Based on family needs and solid research, we have identified the most effective services for individuals with ASD and their families. Our goals are to:
- Provide effective clinical services for individuals with ASD and their families
- Partner with and support autism services across the state
- Provide training for those who serve individuals with ASD
- Carry out world-class research on causes and interventions for ASD
We offer the following clinical services:
- Team diagnostic evaluations: Assessing whether your child has autism and providing recommendations.
- Medication management: Recommending and adjusting medications used by children with autism.
- Behavioral assessment and consultation: Assessing challenging behaviors and identifying ways to help, including feeding problems.
- Early Intervention: Teaching play and communications skills to young children with autism.
- Evaluation of academic and learning problems, including intellectual disability
- Evaluation of speech and language, feeding and sleep disorders
- Evaluations of daily-living skills (eating, dressing, walking)
- Evaluation of assistive technology needs
- Evaluation and treatment of adults with autism spectrum disorders
We work hard to make your visit convenient and efficient, and we communicate with your family doctor or other health care providers to make sure everyone understands the care your child needs.
Depending on a patient’s needs, appointments with the Autism Center may be provided by one of four services:
- Center for Disabilities and Development
- Pediatric Psychology
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic
- Adult Psychiatry Clinic
To request an appointment at any one of these four services, please call 855-842-8847.
Resources and Community Support
We help connect families to resources and support in their communities, like respite care and child care, safety equipment, support groups, vocational programs, self-advocacy support, trainings, home and community based services and more.
Here are some local resources we like:
- Disability Resource Library
- Safety Store
- Autism Society
- Iowa Compass
- Iowa Area Education Agencies
- Regional Autism Assistance Program
Here are some national resources we like:
- Autims Speaks
- National Autism Center
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Autims Internet Modules
- American Academy of Pediatrics
View and print materials commonly distributed prior to a visit, during a visit, and after a visit to the Autism Center:
- Autism Center Brochure
- What Is an Autism Spectrum Disorder?
- I Think My Child May Have Autism...
- Helpful Resources Before Your Child's Appointment
- What to Expect When you Come to the Autism Center
- What Is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)?
Education and Training
We provide education and training about autism to parents, teachers, students, social workers, and doctors through seminars and conferences held on the UI campus and around the state. Early identification, practical help for challenging behaviors, and putting into practice proven methods for treating autism are emphasized.
We are actively researching the causes of autism, as well as new and better treatments. Genetic testing, behavior therapy, and the use of telehealth services for families in far-away communities are just a few of the areas we are exploring to provide the latest and best care for those with autism.
Still have questions about the Autism Center?
See if our Frequently Asked Questions section can help.
Improving Parents as Communication Teachers (Project ImPACT) is a 13-week intervention program designed to improve the social skills of young children who have an ASD. Learn more about this program.
Understanding Autism: Practical Help for Parenting Children with Autism 2015 Workshop Series
Caregiver Wellness and Stress Reduction Techniques
Thursday, April 9th from 6:30-8pm
Understanding Autism Through the Lens of Genetics
Thursday, May 7th from 6:30-8pm
Iowa City, IowaCenter for Disabilities and Development and Pediatric Psychology
100 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Parking: Parking and Wayfinding. Once an appointment is scheduled, you will receive information on exactly where to go and where to park.
Monday through Friday
8 am to 5 pm
- Phone: 855-842-8847
Iowa City, IowaChild and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic or Adult Psychiatry Clinic
200 Hawkins Drive, Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City, Iowa 52246
Parking and Wayfinding. Once an appointment is scheduled, you will receive information on exactly where to go and where to park.
In House Directions: Take Elevator I to Level 1.
Monday through Friday
8 am to 5 pm
- Phone: 855-842-8847
Nancy Beyer, MD
Laura Bohnenkamp, MA, CCC-SLP
Joni Bosch, PhD, ARNP
E. Taylor Buckingham, MD, MPH
Linda Cooper-Brown, PhD
Jo Ellen Crowe, ARNP
Peter Daniolos, MD
Debora Downey, PhD, CCC-SLP
Patricia Espe-Pfeifer, PhD
Laura Fuller, PhD
Gary Gaffney, MD
Todd Kopelman, PhD
Matthew Kressin, PsyD
Samuel Kuperman, MD
Scott Lindgren, PhD
Deborah Lin-Dyken, MD
Dianne McBrien, MD
Royann Mraz, MD
Mary Nixon, ARNP
Matthew O'Brien, PhD, BCBA-D
Kelly Pelzel, PhD
Susan Pike, MD
Andrea Reasoner, MD
Angela Smith, PsyD
Jodi Tate, MD
Koenraad Van Braeckel, PhD
David Wacker, PhD
Thomas Wassink, MD
Ellen Weber, ARNP
Other Team Members
Autism Center Coordinator
- Mary Roberts
- Joanna Bartlett, MA
- Nancy Millice, MA