Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outpatient Care

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Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outpatient Care

As your child grows, develops and moves beyond their heart surgery, we continue to provide neurodevelopmental care for a lifetime of success.

Children who have had cardiac surgery during infancy may experience differences affecting their learning, thinking and movement (gross and fine motor) abilities. Close developmental follow-up is recommended by the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics to track your child’s growth and develop a plan to support their needs.  

If you have concerns about your child's development, talk with your primary care doctor, pediatrician, or cardiologist about developmental screening or a referral to our Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program.

Continuing care after the hospital with outpatient programs and clinics for every age

Beginning at 6 months through age 6, our patients complete developmental screening at their outpatient appointments. This allows us to monitor your child’s developmental progress over time and provide referrals as needed. 

Your child’s Outpatient Neurodevelopmental Care Team includes:

Developmental Clinic (6 months - 3 years)

The first three years of life are critical for brain development and overall functioning. The Heart Center’s Developmental Clinic offers close developmental screening at outpatient cardiology appointments, developmental testing, and follow-up to help support your child’s development and growth. Identifying developmental differences early will help your child receive intervention services that can improve your child’s developmental skills and quality of life.

During a Developmental Clinic appointment, our Heart Center Psychologist will meet with you and your child at the Children's Health℠ Heart Center in Dallas. Each appointment lasts approximately 1 1/2 -3 hours and involves playful activities, similar to games you play with your child at home. After testing, you will meet with the Heart Center Psychologist to talk about your child’s development and recommendations. At that time, resources and referrals will be provided and you can ask questions.

School Readiness Clinic (3 - 6 years)

Ages 3 to 6 years are a critical time for the development of learning, language, social and playful skills. The Heart Center’s School Readiness Clinic offers close developmental screening at outpatient cardiology appointments, cognitive testing of preschool abilities and behaviors, and resources to assist in supporting your child’s transition into a learning and social environment. The School Readiness Clinic will assist in identifying your child’s strengths and areas for growth in these areas.  

During a School Readiness Clinic appointment, you and your child will meet with the Heart Center Psychologist who will complete the testing at Children's Health Heart Center in Dallas. Each appointment lasts approximately 2-3 hours and involves playful activities with your child and gives you the opportunity to complete questionnaires. After testing you will meet with the Heart Center Psychologist to discuss your child’s results and recommendations. Additionally, the Heart Center School Services liaison will be available to provide information on school transition and school support services, and answer school-related questions. 

Cardiac Neuropsychology Clinic (6 - 25 years)

The Cardiac Neuropsychology Clinic focuses on testing the cognitive, psychosocial and behavioral abilities of children, adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease. Our goal is to make your child’s life better by supporting a successful transition into adulthood. 

Our experienced Neuropsychologists are specifically trained to:

  • Evaluate a wide range of skills and abilities
  • Help determine the most appropriate intervention services
  • Assist with academic and vocational planning
  • Provide caregivers with strategies to improve patient outcomes

The skills and abilities often tested include:

  • Intelligence
  • Academic achievement
  • Attention
  • Executive control
  • Language
  • Visual-spatial processing
  • Adaptive abilities

Typically, testing appointments occur every few years and evaluations are scheduled across two sessions. The first session may last 6-8 hours and often includes an interview, testing and caregiver questionnaires. The second session lasts 1–2 hours and includes a review of results and recommendations. Referrals may also be provided. In some cases, feedback is provided during the first session, immediately following testing. Findings are shared with the patient’s medical team and Cardiologist. 

Meet the Care Team