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Center on Human Development and Disability


Adults and Elders

Autism Center

Barnard Center
for Infant
Mental Health
and Development

Center for
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Haring Center/

Genetics Program

Autism Genetics Clinic

Contact: Fuki Hisama

Core Function: Clinical Services

The purpose of the Autism Genetics Clinic is to evaluate and diagnose the cause of autism in children and adults. Autism is a clinical diagnosis, and has many potential causes. A subset of patients has an identifiable genetic cause, and for those families it answers the question of "why" the child has autism. A specific cause can provide the family with information about prognosis and enable precise determination of recurrence of autism in other children in the family. The outpatient clinic visit for a new patient takes place with a physician who is a specialist in Neurology and Genetic Medicine and a genetic counselor. A three-to-four generation family pedigree is taken. A complete medical history of the child is also taken, and a physical examination is performed. Copies of any prior laboratory results (especially genetic or metabolic test results, such as a chromosome study report, or Fragile X test report, blood amino acids or urine organic acids), as well as any neuroimaging studies, are obtained and brought to the visit where they are reviewed. Clinic personnel then discuss their assessment and recommend any further clinical genetic tests which are typically done on blood or urine. Results are discussed with the family at a follow-up visit or by telephone, and a summary is sent to the child's primary doctors and other providers as requested by the family. Families who seek a clinical genetic evaluation often do so for the following reasons: (1) there is family history of multiple people with autism spectrum disorder; (2) other medical problems (epilepsy) or distinctive features are present; (3) patients have an outside abnormal genetic test result or have a test result that is difficult to interpret; or (4) a patient's family is interested in genetic research studies, and comes to the clinic in order to exclude known genetic causes prior to or concomitant with enrolling in a research study.

University of Washington • Center on Human Development and Disability Box 357920 • Seattle WA 98195-7920 USA • 206-543-7701 •