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Center for Children with Special Needs

 
L.I.F.E. Program Clinic
The LIFE (Long-term Infant Follow-up Evaluation) Program at the Children’s Hospital at Providence provides early identification of developmental strengths and possible needs of infants who are graduates of a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
 
The assessment team consists of a developmental pediatrician; pediatric occupational therapist; pediatric physical therapist; and family care coordinator all with extensive experience working with high-risk newborns and their families.
 
The assessment consists of standardized developmental testing by the therapists; followed by physical exam, review and discussion with parents about child’s neonatal intensive care course, risk status, and developmental progress by the developmental pediatrician.
 
The family care coordinator connects family to appropriate supportive community services and resources and collaborates with the “team” of community providers who offer ongoing support to child and family.
 
Evaluations usually take place at the corrected ages of 4-5 months, 12 months and 24 months.  Other ages will be considered on an individual basis.  Referrals are routinely made through the NICU although family or medical providers can contact the clinic directly.
 
Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Clinic
The Pediatric Neurodevelopment Clinic at the Children’s Hospital at Providence provides a neurodevelopmental assessment, which is a thorough evaluation of a child’s health and development.  It involves an extensive review of the child’s medical and developmental history, and a physical exam.  A developmental pediatrician with special training in diagnosing children with different developmental patterns performs the assessment.
 
The children seen may experience developmental delays and/or conditions such as autism, pre-natal alcohol/drug exposure, cerebral palsy or other neuromotor delays.    The children often have complex medical conditions; are generally young, although occasionally teenagers are seen if they are experiencing very significant neurodevelopmental difficulties.
 
Children who primarily experience learning disabilities or attention deficit disorders are generally not seen at the clinic.  As a specialist, the Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician consults with the primary medical provider who continues to coordinate and provide ongoing medical care.
 
A parent or provider may call the office to refer a child.  The family will be sent a questionnaire, which needs to be filled out and returned.  Once the questionnaire is returned, records are gathered and reviewed.  The family will then be contacted to set appointments dates or referred to services more appropriate to the child’s needs.  In some cases, additional testing or evaluations may be recommended prior to the assessment.
 
The assessment has two parts – an evaluation and a family conference.  During the first appointment, the child’s health history, development, behavior and parental concerns are discussed.  The child is given a physical exam.  At the family conference, parents meet with the neurodevelopmental pediatrician and the family care coordinator.  The physician’s impressions/diagnoses are discussed and recommendations are offered, taking into consideration the needs of the child and family.  The family care coordinator will be available to help families connect with appropriate services and other supports in their home communities.