Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist

Dr. Messina & Associates -  - Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Messina & Associates

Clinical Psychologists & Psychiatrists located in Southlake, TX

Approximately one in every 54 children has autism spectrum disorder — sometimes referred to as ASD or autism. At Dr. Messina & Associates in Southlake, Texas, the expert team diagnoses autism spectrum disorder and offers customized treatment plans to help your child thrive. Call Dr. Messina & Associates or schedule a consultation online today.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Q & A

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder or autism is a developmental disorder that psychiatrists usually diagnose in children between the ages of 2-4. 

The condition affects a child’s behavior and communication skills. While autism is more common in boys, children of any gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status can have the condition. 

The exact causes of autism spectrum disorder aren’t fully understood. However, medical researchers think that factors such as genetics, older parental ages, and low birth weight contribute to your child’s risk of developing autism. 

Additionally, children with other genetic conditions like Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome are more likely to have autism.


What are the signs of autism spectrum disorder?

Autism is classified as a spectrum disorder because of the variation in the type and severity of symptoms experienced by different patients. 

Broadly, children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble with social interaction and communication. They might also have repetitive behaviors, restricted interests, or have a low threshold for sensory stimulation. 

Some of the common signs of autism spectrum disorder include:

  • Absent or little eye contact
  • Doesn’t look at or listen to people
  • Slow to respond to someone calling their name
  • Trouble with back-and-forth conversation
  • Facial expressions or gestures don’t match what they say
  • Sing-song or flat tone of voice
  • Difficulty understanding someone else’s point of view
  • Repetitive movements or behaviors
  • Upset by changes in routine
  • Having intense or restricted interests 


Some children with autism can learn and retain specific information. While it’s common for children with autism to have other learning disabilities, some children are exceptionally gifted in math, science, music, or art. 


How is autism spectrum disorder diagnosed?

Dr. Messina & Associates provides comprehensive psychiatric evaluations and testing to identify autism and other developmental disorders. 

While the testing is exhaustive, your provider does everything they can to help your child feel comfortable. All of the testing is designed specifically for children.


How is autism spectrum disorder managed?

Dr. Messina & Associates creates a customized treatment plan to help your child thrive. Depending on your child’s specific needs, your provider might prescribe medication to manage some behavioral symptoms like aggression or anxiety. 

They also provide structured plans that incorporate your child’s teachers, pediatricians, and you as a parent. This collaborative approach ensures consistency and structure for your child and can help them develop the skills they need to thrive and potentially live independently. 

For example, your child’s plan could include behavior therapy, speech-language therapy, and play-based therapy. 

If you’re concerned about your child and autism, call Dr. Messina & Associates, or make an appointment online today, for assessment and treatment.