Complex neurological conditions can affect a child’s brain development, which can lead to challenges related to thinking and problem-solving. Some conditions can also affect attention, memory, school performance, emotional functioning and behavior. The pediatric neuropsychologists at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital can help.
Our team primarily offers inpatient pediatric psychology and neuropsychology services to children hospitalized at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Outpatient appointments may be available to patients referred directly by one of the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital specialty programs. Please contact our office at 954-265-6966 for more information.
What is a pediatric neuropsychologist?
The Pediatric Neurology department at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital employs a pediatric neuropsychologist to only care for children with complex neurological conditions, which may include epilepsy, stroke, and chronic headaches. They also evaluate children and teens who may have autism to confirm whether the child has autism or another neurological condition affecting development. Evaluations require a referral from a pediatric neurologist. Neurologists use these evaluations to develop a treatment plan and provide follow-up care.
Children with many types of conditions may benefit from neuropsychological care. These conditions may include:
- Arteriovenous malformation
- Congenital heart disease
- Inhalation injury causing brain injury
- Near drowning
- Neuromuscular disease
- Traumatic brain injury
Where do pediatric neuropsychologists see patients?
Pediatric neuropsychologists see children in many care settings. At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, this includes the inpatient Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Inpatient Rehabilitation units, and our outpatient cardiac clinic and neurology clinic.
Other doctors sometimes ask neuropsychologists to evaluate patients in other areas of the hospital. These areas include the pediatric cancer and blood disorders program and the Pediatric Neurology department (for children with epilepsy or stroke). Neuropsychologists may also evaluate children who have had a concussion.
How do pediatric neuropsychologists evaluate children?
Pediatric neuropsychologists evaluate children with complex illnesses or injuries. Age-appropriate tests and measures may involve games, activities and tasks that assess what the child can learn, pay attention to and remember. Neuropsychologists use these measures at the child’s bedside or in an outpatient setting. They paint a clear picture of the child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses to help guide recommendations for intervention. Other doctors use these results to maximize a child’s recovery.
How can a pediatric neuropsychologist help children?
Pediatric neuropsychologists may care for a child over a long period of time. Their care can begin with the initial injury or illness and it can last until the child returns home and to school activities. Some of the issues they focus on include:
- How the illness, injury or treatment affects a child’s ability to think and learn.
- Helping other care team members understand a child’s cognitive challenges.
- What family members can do to help the child fulfill their potential at home and school.
- Which medications may help maximize recovery.
- Strategies to help the child reintegrate into everyday life.
- Recommendations to help teachers support the child’s academic goals.
Neuropsychology Support for Children with Autism
The Pediatric Neurology department at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital employs a pediatric neuropsychologist. They evaluate children and teens who may have autism. This service is available only for children with complex neurological conditions. These conditions include epilepsy, stroke and chronic headaches. Evaluations require a referral from a pediatric neurologist. The evaluation confirms whether the child has autism or another neurological condition affecting development. Neurologists use these evaluations to develop a treatment plan and provide follow-up care.