Children with a history of congenital heart disease (CHD) are at an increased risk of developmental disorders or developmental delays. The American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics have called for developmental monitoring, screening, evaluation, and reevaluation throughout childhood. Routine surveillance and evaluation throughout childhood may enhance identification of significant deficits and lead to improved developmental outcomes.
The Neurocardiac Program’s multidisciplinary team of specialists work together to follow the child’s development from birth. Developmental screenings take place during clinic visits to help identify developmental differences as soon as possible. If the cardiologist or neurologist determines the patient has a developmental concern, the physician will refer the patient for a comprehensive neurodevelopmental evaluation with a pediatric neuropsychologist.
Neurodevelopmental evaluations can last between 90 minutes to three hours, depending on the child’s age. Following the neurodevelopmental evaluation, the neuropsychologist will provide recommendations, plan treatment and work with your child’s cardiologist and neurologist. The ultimate goal of our neurodevelopmental evaluations is to ensure early intervention services begin before your child is old enough for school.
Developmental screenings and evaluations can provide families with referrals to a variety of early intervention programs and services, including:
- Early Steps
- Speech Language Pathology
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy
- Pediatric Psychology (e.g., parent-child interaction therapy, parent management training)
- Pediatric Audiology
- UM-NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD)
- FIU Center for Children and Families (FIU CCF)
A neuropsychologist will meet with your child regularly to assess cognitive, psychosocial and behavioral abilities. These assessments typically begin once the child is about five years old. The neuropsychology team will follow the child regularly during neurocardiac clinic visits and outpatient comprehensive evaluations will continue through the child’s transition to adulthood.
Our experienced neuropsychologists are trained to:
- Evaluate a wide range of cognitive skills and abilities and provide a detailed profile of your child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses
- Assist with academic and vocational planning (e.g., attend IEP meetings, assist with guardianship planning and transition into adulthood)
- Help determine the most appropriate intervention services
- Provide recommendations for parents to implement within the home setting
- Skills and abilities often tested include:
- Processing Speed
- Executive Functions
- Visual Spatial Processing
- Fine-Motor Speed and Dexterity
- Adaptive Abilities