Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program

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Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program

U.S. News and World Report award for Cardiology and Heart Surgery

Helping children with heart birth defects live life to the fullest, we offer occupational, speech and physical therapy under one roof.

Children with heart problems have a higher risk of developmental delays, learning difficulties, and social, emotional, and behavioral concerns. These children may not walk or talk at the same pace as others.

The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program at Children’s Health℠ is home to experts who specialize in identifying and treating these differences, so children can reach their full potential. Our team monitors your child’s development, creates individualized treatment plans, and supports you and your child from infancy through early adulthood. 

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Care During Your Hospital Stay 

Every element of your child’s development; physically, developmentally and emotionally, is important to us. To effectively focus on your child’s developmental progress, our Neurodevelopmental Care Team treats your child during their hospital stay. Learn more about this important component to care, and meet the team who provides it.

Neurodevelopmental care at your child's hospital bedside

For many families, neurodevelopmental care starts when your child is admitted in the hospital. We partner with you and your child’s care team to create an environment that supports their development – right in your child’s room. Our team can visit your child’s hospital room and teach you ways to engage with your child. You will learn how to support your child’s development in the hospital. 

Learn more about the Inpatient Program

Continuing care with outpatient programs and clinics

After your child leaves the hospital, we’ll continue to monitor and manage any developmental challenges – from infancy to elementary school and through early adulthood. Our team includes experts who can identify developmental challenges and match your child with treatments that are right for them. 

Learn more about the Outpatient Program

Specialized neurodevelopmental programs for every age

We offer three clinics to help your child develop and grow – whether they were first treated at Children’s Health or at another hospital. These clinics include:

Developmental Clinic: From 6 Months to 3.5 years

Starting at six months of age, your child may be evaluated through our Developmental Clinic. This will help us identify any weaknesses and create a treatment plan that includes activities and exercises you can do at home. We can also match you with specialists – like physical, occupational, and/or speech therapists – to help your child get back on track.

School Readiness Clinic: From 3.5 to 6 years

Our School Readiness Clinic helps children get off to a strong start in school. We use tests to identify your child’s strengths and any learning difficulties. Then, we show you activities that you can do together to help support your child’s learning and language skills. We’ll also help you create the school environment your child needs. Our specialists make a plan to help your child start elementary school on the right foot. We can also connect you with the right support services – from physical, occupational, and/or speech therapists to special education classes or support in the school environment.

Cardiac Neuropsychology Clinic: From 6 to 25 years

Our Cardiac Neuropsychology Clinic is focused on setting your child up for success now and in the future. Our expert neuropsychologists use tests to look at your child’s focusing, remembering, communicating, and reading. The test results are used to develop treatment plans to help meet your child’s specific needs and goals. Recommendations may include school accommodations, learning strategies, psychotherapy, or medication consultation.

Parent Resources

Visit our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page to learn more about the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental program and what you can expect during your child's developmental testing appointments. 

How to enroll your child

Children who have had complex heart surgery will complete regular developmental screenings between 6 months and 5 years of age in our outpatient cardiology clinics. Children whose screenings suggest the need for additional testing will be referred to our Developmental or School Readiness Clinic for an appointment. However, your child may be referred to any of our clinics at any time.

If screening results do not suggest the need for a testing appointment, we will continue to monitor and screen your child’s development during outpatient cardiology clinic appointments through age 5. 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.

Children’s Health is a proud and active member of both the NPC-QIC (National Pediatric Quality Improvement Collaborative) and CNOC (Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative).

Meet the Care Team