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Autism Specialist

Cornerstone Pediatrics, PLLC

General Pediatrics & Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics located in Clarksville, TN

If your child struggles in social situations, autism spectrum disorder might be to blame. At Cornerstone Pediatrics, PLLC, in Clarksville, Tennessee, pediatrician Gary Griffieth, MD, and his staff can diagnose and offer treatments for autism to help your child thrive. Schedule an appointment with Cornerstone Pediatrics, PLLC, by phone, or book online today.

Autism Q & A

What is autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a condition in which abnormalities in your child’s brain affect how your child interacts socially and communicates with other people. You might notice repetitive behavior or communication problems that range in severity from mild to severe. 

While there’s no cure for autism, seeking treatment can improve your child’s quality of life and help them function better at home, school, or work.

What are the symptoms of autism?

While everybody is different, some common symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in children include:

  • Problems communicating 
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Has few friends
  • Repetitive movements
  • Behavior problems at school
  • Repeating words or phrases
  • Speech delays
  • Prefers to play alone
  • Doesn’t understand jokes
  • Excessive organization
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Avoiding physical contact

At the first sign of autism spectrum disorder, see Dr. Griffieth for a developmental-behavioral evaluation.

What causes autism?

The cause of autism isn’t entirely clear, but certain factors increase your child’s risk. Examples include older parental age, being male, family history of autism, and preterm birth. Both environmental and genetic factors may play roles in its development.

How does my provider diagnose autism?

To diagnose autism and its severity, Dr. Griffieth and his staff check your child’s vital signs and complete a physical exam. They observe your child, talk with them, and ask questions about their social, emotional, and behavioral skills. 

Dr. Griffieth has you complete a questionnaire regarding your child’s developmental milestones and behavior. He might also recommend genetic testing for your child. Dr. Griffieth can refer you to a specialist as needed for further diagnostic testing or treatment.

What are some autism treatment options?

Common treatments for autism in children include:

Lifestyle changes

Setting a regular routine, getting enough sleep and exercise, and eating healthy foods can optimize the way your child grows, develops, behaves, and interacts with others. 

Family therapy

Family therapy helps family members of autistic children learn how to optimize social skills at home and at school.

Behavioral therapy

A therapist can help your child improve communication and behavioral skills in social situations to help them thrive.

Speech or occupational therapy

Occupational and speech therapy can help your child enhance their fine motor and communication skills.


While medications don’t cure autism spectrum disorder, they can reduce certain symptoms. For example, medicines might help reduce hyperactivity, behavioral inconsistencies, or anxiety. 

Dr. Griffieth follows up with your child to ensure their autism treatment is effective. He can alter their treatment regimen as needed.

Whether you suspect your child has autism, or they’ve already been diagnosed, Cornerstone Pediatrics, PLLC, is here for you. Schedule an appointment by phone, or book online today.