Medical genetics focuses on the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions. Genetic conditions are caused by changes in genes, which are the body’s instructions for growth and development. Genes are passed from parent to child, so some genetic conditions run in families (i.e. are inherited from a parent). There are also many genetic conditions that occur for the first time in an individual within the family.
Our genetics team concentrates on providing diagnoses for children who have a known genetic condition or unexplained health or developmental problems. Knowing a person’s genetic diagnosis can provide more accurate medical management and developmental interventions and can give families more knowledge about their child’s condition. A diagnosis could also answer the following questions: How did this happen? What is the chance I will have another child with this condition? Are other people in the family at risk for this condition?
In the Children’s Health℠ Genetics clinic, we see children up to age 19 who have a known or suspected genetic condition. The most common reasons we see children in our clinic include, but are not limited to:
Every new patient who comes to our clinic is seen by a medical geneticist and a genetic counselor. Our physicians are all certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and have extensive clinical experience. Most patients will also meet with a genetic counselor at their appointment. Every genetic counselor employed by our clinic has a master’s degree in genetic counseling and is board certified or eligible. Experienced social workers are available by request, or when the need arises.
This website provides information about genetic conditions, as well as helpful definitions of ideas you might learn about in clinic, such as genes and chromosomes:
Genetic Home Reference
This website provides information about genetic counseling, as well as ways to make the most from a genetic counseling session:
National Society of Genetic Counselors: Patient Information
This website provides information about resources available to Texas families who have a child with special needs:
Navigate Life Texas
National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) - 800-999-6673
Financial Counseling - 214-456-8640
Ask your child's pediatrician to make a referral to the Genetics clinic by faxing a demographics page, insurance information, and a recent clinical note to 214-456-2567. If you have any other questions, our schedulers can by reached at 214-456-2357.
How can I prepare for my child’s visit?
Make the most of your child’s Genetics appointment by preparing ahead of time. The following can be very helpful:
Research your family history - This should include (at minimum) your child’s brothers and sisters, first cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. You will be asked questions at your visit about any history of developmental delay or learning problems, children born with any type of birth defect (such as cleft lip or a heart defect), any women in the family with multiple miscarriages, and any conditions which appear to be running through the family (such as cancer or heart disease at a young age).
Obtain any helpful medical records - If your child has seen a geneticist before, or has had any prior genetic testing, we will need a copy of those medical records and genetic test reports. If any of your family members has had positive genetic testing for a genetic condition, we will need a copy of their genetic test report.
Bring a family photo - This will help the geneticist with his or her physical exam, as they examine your child’s facial features.
Children’s Health Specialty Center Dallas Campus, Clinic F-4200, 4th floor. Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to allow for registration and paperwork. Specific driving directions and parking information can be found here.
We understand that unexpected things can happen, but please make every effort to be on time to your appointment. If you know you are going to be late, please call and let us know at 214-456-2357. Since other families need to see the same providers, showing up more than 15 minutes late may require the appointment to be rescheduled.
You will need to plan to be at clinic at least 2 hours for the first visit to the Genetics clinic. Please bring toys, snacks, games, and books your child might enjoy.
A genetic counselor discusses chromosomes and genetic recurrence risk, gathers medical and family history information, and answers questions about inheritance.
A social worker provides information regarding community resources, short term counseling about developmental concerns, school needs issues, sibling and family adjustment issues as well as behavior management.