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Child Development Program


 Read a parent's letter
The Child Development Clinic at Children's National Medical Center evaluates more than 1,500 children each year from birth to 4 years of age with developmental concerns, including:
  • Delays in cognitive, language, motor skills, and attention
  • High risk for delay due to birth-related complications, medical or environmental circumstances
  • Common behavioral problems such as feeding, sleep, and temper tantrums or self-regulation
  • Atypical or uncommon patterns of development
Program Director Johanna (Penny) Glass, PhD, is a renowned expert in infant and child development, recognized for her pioneering research concerning the development of high risk infants. The program staff of developmental and clinical psychologists provides comprehensive evaluations and consultation, parent support and training, and referrals to specialty clinics within Children’s National and to resources in the community. The staff works closely with the child’s primary care provider.

Program Services
There are many reasons why children are referred to our specialists:
• Routine developmental follow-up for babies who are at-risk due to prematurity or medical events around the time of birth.
• Genetic syndromes, chromosome abnormalities, neurological disorders, or traumatic brain injury.
• Baseline developmental evaluations prior to epilepsy surgery or other medical treatments.
• Monitoring developmental impact of chronic medical conditions.
• Parent or pediatric care provider’s concern about delays in motor skills, social communication, cognitive skills, adaptive skills, and social-emotional development.
• Early signs of autism.
• Adoption related questions.

Evaluation Process

Evaluations may involve up to two visits. Parents are in the room with the child. A specialist engages the child with standardized test items and toy materials in a structured manner and also observes the child during unstructured play. The evaluation determines how a child is developing compared to other children of the same age, looking for both special strengths and areas of difficulty. Important insight about the child's behavior at home is obtained by in-depth parent interview. Available records from previous evaluations or other specialists are also reviewed. Immediate feedback regarding the child’s development and specific therapeutic recommendations and any indicated referrals (to specialty clinics or community intervention programs) are provided to the parent, followed by an integrated written report.

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- Departments & Programs - Children's National Medical Center