Learning Leader

Center for Autism and Related Conditions: A Comprehensive Approach to Diagnosis

The UT Physicians Pediatric Center for Autism and Related Conditions at the Children’s Learning Institute (previously known as the Autism Center at CLI) has expanded and refined its approach to supporting families with concerns about their children’s development. Under new medical director Dr. Anson Koshy, the Center for Autism and Related Conditions at CLI provides language and cognitive evaluations that prioritize data-driven, multidisciplinary, and family-centered practice. This unique combination ensures that diagnoses and treatment recommendations are the results of careful consideration of the many factors that affect a child’s learning and development.


Effective evaluation considers multiple types of data that contribute to a broader and deeper understanding of development. Center clinicians combine feedback from parents and teachers, direct observation, and standardized assessments to capture a complete picture of a child’s strengths and weaknesses.

Using standardized assessment tools might sound formal and intimidating, but our clinicians filter these tools through engaging social and playful interactions with the children they assess. Parents are able to sit in during evaluations to provide feedback on any variations in children’s behavior. Teacher feedback forms are also used when necessary to compare children’s behaviors in the clinic to their behavior in the classroom environment.  

These different types of data combine to form a comprehensive picture of the child’s abilities—and exactly what type of medical or therapeutic intervention is warranted.  


While clients are most often referred for autism evaluations, the Center evaluates language and cognitive development independent of an autism diagnosis. “We recognize that the challenges faced by children with developmental concerns are not always linked to a simple medical diagnosis. These are complex neurodevelopmental issues in which multiple developmental concerns likely overlap and require a comprehensive look at every child,” writes Dr. Koshy.  

The assessment team includes Dr. Koshy, a board certified developmental pediatrician, Dr. Cathy Guttentag, a licensed clinical child psychologist, Dr. Alayna Townsend, a certified speech and language pathologist, and Laura Deming, a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner. This team collaborates regularly to support the ongoing care of the children and families they work with.   


In addition to encouraging parents to play a key role in the evaluation process, the Center recognizes that any successful treatment or intervention includes a strong set of supports for the family. Ms. Deming guides families to community resources and support services and also assists with practical obstacles such as insurance requirements and working with school districts.

The Center for Autism and Related Conditions strives to make the evaluation process as comfortable as possible for children and families. We encourage you to contact the clinic if you have concerns about your child related to social communication, developmental delays, suspected or diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or attention and/or hyperactivity. We view the opportunity to work with your child as a privilege and a responsibility.

Contact us today for more information or to make an appointment:

Rosemary Leauvano
Patient Access Representative



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Children's Learning Institute at UTHealth
7000 Fannin, Suite 2300, Houston, TX 77030

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