Early Intervention Can Make a Dramatic Difference
If you have a child who has had a difficult neonatal course, he or she is at risk for mental and physical developmental difficulties. The good news is that early intervention can often make a dramatic difference in the quality of life for your infant as he or she grows. However, it is frequently difficult for these developmental problems to be detected in a timely manner during a routine pediatrician visit.
The Early Developmental Assessment Center (EDAC) at CHOC Children’s is a vital resource for these young, high-risk children. Our innovative program is designed to detect a broad spectrum of problems early to prevent or minimize severe developmental delays in the future.
At the Center, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment is done during one office visit, offering true convenience for parents and their infants. Your infant is seen at predetermined intervals as he or she grows, allowing our team of experts to assess the child’s progress and make appropriate referrals to community resources.
The EDAC also provides comprehensive assessment to infants and toddlers up to 36 months who may be lagging in their developmental milestones.
Who Can Benefit from the EDAC?
The EDAC is recommended for children with possible concerns about delays, including those who meet neonatal criteria:
|Low birth weight|
|Exposure to substances while in utero|
|Infants and toddlers up to 36 months who may be lagging in their developmental milestones|
About the EDAC
Consultation can occur one time when a concern has been identified, or for those at risk (such as premature infants, failure to thrive, infants who had respiratory distress, etc.), periodic screening over the first few years is recommended.
We will also see infants at other ages who are referred to our Center by their primary care physicians and other sources. These include children up to 36 months old who may be behind developmentally.
During each Center visit, an interview is conducted and a developmental exam is performed. After the examination, a team conference is held to assess your child’s needs and to make recommendations. If necessary, your child will be referred for treatment. Center visits usually take about two hours.
Education also plays a key role in the center, and as a caregiver, you learn about appropriate play, proper nutrition guidelines and other issues that can have a positive impact on your child’s development.
A variety of areas are assessed during the visit. These include:
|Fine and gross motor development|
|Muscle tone and reflexes|
|Medical history and present medical needs|
|Vision and hearing|
The EDAC is also affiliated with the Apnea/Neonatal Follow-up Center at CHOC. This program is a unique resource for babies who are sent home with apnea monitors. Our team of skilled professionals determines how these babies are thriving in the home environment and whether they can safely be weaned from the monitors. The Neonatal Follow-up Program is for babies who have medical problems that need to be assessed and evaluated on a regular basis.
Meet the Team Members
During the EDAC visit, your child will be seen by our multidisciplinary team – all in one visit. This is a real strength of the program. Team members include:
|Neonatal/Pediatric Nurse – Coordinates overall operation of the Center, holding team conferences and sending results of each visit to the appropriate individual or agency.|
|Neonatologist/Developmental Pediatrician – Provides medical assessment and consultation. Monitors general health care in collaboration with the child’s personal physician.|
|Social Worker – Provides psychosocial assessment, referrals to community resources, advocacy and emotional support.|
|Clinical Dietician – Assesses the growth data, nutritional intake for age appropriateness and adequacy, and need for education to optimize the nutritional status of the infant/toddler.|
The Developmental Team: Utilizes standardized developmental testing to evaluate development milestones. Assists team and family with appropriate referrals and family education as needed.
|Psychologist – Evaluates cognitive development, language, social interaction and provides behavioral consultation.|
|Physical Therapists-specializes in gross motor evaluation and motor planning|
|Occupational Therapists –specializes in fine motor development, motor planning, sensory integration and feeding|
|Speech and Language Pathologist – Specializes in cognitive, language development and feeding.|
A Spanish translator is also available for the convenience of our families. In addition, families have access to parent support services and child life specialists.
The Team Evaluation: A Valuable Resource
After your child’s visit, members of the EDAC team participate in a meeting to evaluate your child’s developmental milestones and make recommendations. Together, the team proposes a treatment plan and determines which specialists are needed to provide crucial early intervention. The Center also connects you to vital resources in the community that may be needed.
Once the team has met and made its recommendations, families are encouraged to stay in touch with the center’s nurse coordinator to help answer any questions.
For More Information
At the Early Developmental Assessment Center, our focus is on “early.” Through early screening and evaluation, children can avoid or minimize developmental difficulties and delays.
For more information, call Dini Baker, RN, BSN, program coordinator at (714) 509-8821. To make an appointment, please call (714) 509-4041.
This program receives funding from the Children’s and Families Commission of Orange County and is implemented as a joint program by the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and CHOC. The program is designed to enhance services and improve access for high-risk patients’ 0-5 years. The program is inclusive of infants with risk factors including but not limited to the existing California Children’s Service high-risk infant criteria.