Open Accessibility Menu

Cardiac Neurodevelopment

About the program

Today, thanks to the many advances in medical care, children with congenital heart disease are living longer and well into adulthood. However, children born with congenital heart disease are at risk for deficits in their growth and development. These issues can affect multiple areas of development including intelligence, academic achievement, motor skills, language, psychosocial adjustment, attention and executive functioning, family stress and transition to adulthood.

Our Heart Center is dedicated to providing comprehensive care to all our patients, including monitoring and treatment for neurodevelopmental disabilities. We provide easy access to screening for all our complex patients, with direct involvement of neurodevelopmental pediatricians.

Our dedicated team offers a program to guide parents and children through developmental challenges. We will monitor your child’s development and coordinate with your pediatrician and other specialists at Children’s to help make sure your child is reaching their normal developmental milestones.

What makes us different?

Our program is a member of the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC). As a member, we participate in research surrounding the advancement of care for single ventricle patients. During the current stage of the collaborative’s project, neurodevelopmental outcomes are the primary focus of study.

Our program is working towards becoming a member of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collective (CNOC) with the assistance of our neurodevelopmental pediatrician, Dr. Howell.

How the program works

Children who have had heart surgery may be referred to the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program, either by their heart doctor or their primary care doctor.

When your child is referred to our program, we will:

  • Provide an initial consultation to screen your child and identify any neurodevelopmental issues
  • Offer standardized testing and scoring of motor development, cognitive and language skills
  • Screen for hearing difficulties
  • Provide a nutritional assessment and counseling as needed
  • Parental support/guidance
  • Complete neurological exam
  • Put a plan in place to help your child meet their specific developmental milestones
  • Recommend therapies for your child to help them reach their full potential
  • Meet with you regularly to monitor their progress and suggest additional interventions as needed

Our goal is to bring together experts from across the hospital to examine your child and offer a comprehensive plan for your child as they grow. The team may include your cardiologist, a developmental behavioral pediatrician, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, psychologist, nutritionist, social worker, audiologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist. This team will be customized for your child.

After your initial appointment, we will see your child every six months for the first few years of life. After that, depending on their progress, these appointments will be spaced out to fit your child’s specific needs. Once they reach 18, we will work to transition them to our Adult Congenital Heart Program.

Related locations
Related providers