What is Autism?

Parents in Houston often contact us to look for local resources and to see if their child might have autism. So what is autism exactly?

Autistic persons have trouble comprehending non-verbal cues like gestures or tone of voice. Some autistic persons can’t talk or have limited communication, while others have excellent language abilities but can’t recognize sarcasm or tone. Other issues:

  • taking things literally and not understanding abstract concepts
  • needing extra time to process information or answer questions
  • repeating what others say to them (this is called echolalia)

Autistic persons sometimes have trouble ‘reading’ other people’s emotions and expressing their own. This can make navigating social media difficult. Autistics may:

  • appear to be insensitive
  • seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
  • not seek comfort from other people
  • appear to behave ‘strangely’ or in a way thought to be socially inappropriate
  • find it hard to form friendships.

Autism is a “spectrum” condition because the symptoms vary widely. ASD affects people of all backgrounds. While ASD is a lifelong illness, therapies and services can help reduce symptoms and enhance function. Autism screening is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Autism Resources in Texas

Texas offers services and supports for Texans with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.


Association for Science in Autism Treatment – ASAT’s mission is to share accurate, scientifically sound information about autism and treatments for autism.


Autism Fact Sheet – A web publication by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Its mission is to collect and disseminate research information related to neurological disorders.


Autism National Committee (AutCom) – On this website you will find updates on politics and judicial decisions; commentary by people with autism; information about developmental and relationship-based approaches to early intervention and education; and coverage of issues affecting community living, home-owning, and consumer choice.


Autism Navigator – The Autism Navigator® offers online courses, tools, and resources to support families as well as professionals.  Their first online course, About Autism in Toddlers, is free to the public.


Autism Research Institute – ARI is a non-profit research, resource and referral organization that conducts and funds research to find the causes and develop safe, effective treatments for autism. The website features a large number of resources on topics related to autism, including articles, videos and free webinars for parents and professionals.


Autism Self Advocacy Network – ASAN was created to provide support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum while working to educate communities and improve public perceptions of autism. ASAN’s online library includes policy advocacy toolkits and self-advocacy resources.


Autism Society of America – This is the website of the Autism Society of America, whose mission is to “promote lifelong access and opportunities for persons within the autism spectrum and their families, to be fully included, participating members of their communities.” Also available in Spanish.


National Autism Association – The NAA responds to the most urgent needs of the autism community by providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.


National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (NPDC on ASD) – This is a multi-university center to promote the use of evidence-based practice for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.


Texas Autism Research and Resource Center (TARRC) – The Texas Autism Research and Resource Center is a service of the Texas Health & Human Services Office of Autism Services. The TARRC’s initiatives include: the Texas Autism Research Conference; Autism Spectrum Disorder Recognition and Response Training for First Responders; and the Community Assessment and Planning Toolkit for Autism Services.

Next Steps for Texas Families

Pine Cone Therapies, LLC is a leading provider of early intervention Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and speech therapy. Our clinicians are devoted to helping children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We have practiced in Dallas-Fort Worth for over a decade and have expanded to Houston.

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