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The Down Syndrome - Autism Spectrum Disorder (DS-ASD) Clinic at Children’s Mercy offers specialized services to children with the dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder and their families. The multidisciplinary team led by Medical Director, Nasreen Talib, MD, MPH, and psychologist, Darren Olsen, PhD, includes professionals from several specialties, including pediatrics, behavioral psychology, nutrition, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Down syndrome and autism

Best estimates find that somewhere around 16-18% of individuals with Down syndrome also have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Individuals with Down syndrome and autism have unique needs and the professionals in the DS-ASD Clinic are trained and experienced in providing care for these individuals.

What we offer

  • Generally, families are seen in the clinic approximately once a year.

  • Appointments with multiple providers occur during a single visit.

  • Services provided include consultations by a psychologist, nutritionists, occupational therapists, speech therapist and pediatrician, depending on needs.

  • Appropriate referrals can be made for ongoing care to other specialties within and outside of the hospital that would benefit the patients and their families.

  • For ongoing behavioral needs such as tantrums, aggression and noncompliance, parents may be referred to the RUBI Autism Parent Coaching Program to help the parents decrease problem behaviors and teach adaptive skills to their children.

How to make an appointment

If your child with Down syndrome has already had a diagnosis of autism:

  • Call the Down Syndrome Clinic at (816) 960-2856 and speak with our team about potentially being referred directly into the DS-ASD Clinic.

If you suspect your child with Down syndrome may have autism and does not have a diagnosis:

  1. Call the Down Syndrome Clinic at (816) 960-2856 to set up an appointment.

  2. During your Down Syndrome Clinic appointment, a provider will screen your child for common symptoms of autism.

  3. A referral can be made for evaluation with a psychologist within Children's Mercy, depending on the results of the screening.

  4. A follow-up in the Down Syndrome Clinic and/or DS-ASD Clinic will be provided upon results of evaluation.

Resources for families and caregivers