Kristen Wynns Ph.D. - Psychological Solutions for Children, Adolescents & Families
child psychiatry cary resources


Call 919-467-7777
130 Preston Executive Dr, Ste 202 Cary, NC 27513
9207 Baileywick Rd, Ste 203, Raleigh, NC 27615

Autistic spectrum conditions are a group of developmental problems that appear in early childhood – usually before age 3. They include a gamut of psychological conditions characterized by widespread abnormalities of social interactions and communication, as well as severely restricted interests and highly repetitive behavior. The three main forms of ASD are autism, Asperger syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), sometimes called atypical autism.

Autism is a disorder that severely affects a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. Children with autism generally have problems with social interaction, language, and behavior. But because symptoms vary greatly, two children with the same diagnosis may act quite differently and have strikingly different skills.
Many children show signs of autism in early infancy. Others may develop normally for the first few years of life but then suddenly become withdrawn, aggressive or lose language skills they've already acquired. Young children may have a hard time sharing experiences with others. As they mature, some children with autism become more engaged with others and show less marked disturbances in behavior, eventually leading normal or near-normal lives. Others continue to have great difficulty with language or social skills, resulting in the worsening of behavior problems during adolescence. Most children with autism are slow to acquire new knowledge or skills and have signs of lower intelligence. Others have normal to high intelligence, quickly learning but still having trouble communicating, applying what they know in everyday life, and adjusting in social situations. An extremely small number of kids are "autistic savants," having exceptional skills in specific areas such as art, math, or music.

Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects a child's ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Children with Asperger's typically exhibit social awkwardness and an all-absorbing interest in specific topics. It is generally thought to be at the milder end of the autistic spectrum.
Although similar to autism, children with Asperger's syndrome typically have normal language and intellectual development. Asperger's kids also usually make more of an effort than those with autism to make friends and engage in activities with others. Symptoms typically become apparent as children start preschool. Typically, a child must have a combination of several symptoms and severe trouble with social situations to classify as Asperger's.

While there is no cure for autistic spectrum disorder, early diagnosis and intensive treatment can make an enormous difference in the lives of many children. It's often important to obtain a
formal evaluation if there are concerns, to determine if and to what degree your child has an ASD. This typically involves a parent interview, a child interview & observation, parent & teacher rating scales/questionnaires, and I.Q. testing. Once identified, therapy can help teach your child how to interact more successfully in social situations.

Call (919) 805-0182 or email
Info@WynnsFamilyPsychology for more information and to schedule an appointment. Most new clients are scheduled for their first full appointment at the Cary, NC office location within one to two weeks of calling.

Wynns Family Psychology is a child psychologist / therapist practice in the Cary NC area.

Though each child with autism is likely to have a unique pattern of behavior, these characteristics are common signs of the disorder:

Fails to respond to his or her name
Has poor eye contact, especially when making requests
Appears not to hear you at times
Resists cuddling and holding
Appears unaware of others' feelings
Seems to prefer playing alone – retreats into his or her "own world"
Starts talking later than other children
Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
Speaks with abnormal tone or rhythm – may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
Can't start a conversation or keep one going
May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn't understand how to use them
Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning, or hand-flapping
Develops specific routines or rituals, and becomes disturbed at the slightest change in them
Moves constantly
May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car
May be unusually sensitive to light, sound, and touch, yet oblivious to pain

Children with Asperger's syndrome may:

Dislike changes in routine
Appear to lack empathy
Not pick up on social cues such as reading others' body language
Have trouble with starting, maintaining, or taking turns in a conversation (one-sided conversations are common)
Speak formally or use more advanced words for his or her age (e.g. uses the word "beckon" instead of "call" or "return" instead of "come back")
Be unable to recognize or use tone, pitch, or accent that subtly alters speech (e.g. your child may not understand a joke or take a sarcastic comment literally)
Avoid eye contact or stare at others
Have unusual facial expressions or postures
Verbalize internal thoughts
Talk excessively about, be preoccupied with, and be very knowledgeable about a favorite subject or a few select interests
Be overly interested in parts of a whole or in unusual activities or subjects such as designing houses, studying astronomy, or drawing very detailed scenes
Have delayed motor development (e.g. late in learning to use a fork, ride a bike, or catch a ball)
Have an awkward walk
Have poor handwriting
Have heightened sensitivities and become overstimulated by loud noises, lights, strong tastes, or textures (sensory integration dysfunction)



Wynns Family Psychology is a child psychologist / therapist practice in the Cary NC area.