What We Treat

The Psychology Program works with families who have a child diagnosed with cancer or blood disorder.

  • The program has specialists who work in two primary domains: pediatric psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.
    • Pediatric psychology addresses emotional and behavioral concerns related to having medical problems (sadness about diagnosis, worry about symptoms) and promotes healthy behaviors (exercising, taking medicines) for families of children, adolescents and young adults in pediatric hospitals and doctors’ offices.
    • Pediatric neuropsychology focuses on understanding how your child’s brain affects their thoughts, learning, feelings and behaviors. We provide specialized assessment and recommendations to maximize school and community success now and in the future.
  • Oftentimes, a diagnosis of pediatric cancer or blood disorders will mean a lifetime of medical follow-up. Pediatric psychology is available to provide emotional and behavioral support at the time of diagnosis, through their treatment and into their transition to an adult healthcare setting.

Services We Offer

Psychological services for patients and their families help children, adolescents and young adults learn to cope with and manage their disease. We understand that you know your child best. We work closely with families to help make sure your child’s individual needs are met. Our focus is always on the well-being of our patients. We believe children should have a high quality of life, despite medical challenges.

Utilizing problem-solving, skills-based and system-focused strategies, our team provides:

Assessment of emotional and behavioral functioning

  • Inpatient and outpatient evaluation of patients having difficulty adjusting to the demands and consequences of treatment
  • Inpatient and outpatient assessment of patients experiencing behavioral concerns that make managing their illness difficult

Intervention

  • Inpatient treatment plans are provided for patients and families to help cope with their medical condition
  • Individual and family outpatient therapy is offered at all three Children’s hospital campuses for patients with cancer or blood disorders who are in need of ongoing follow-up and support to overcome obstacles related to their medical condition

Coordination of care

  • Consultation with medical providers—inside and outside Children’s—on psychological or behavioral issues affecting care or patient management
  • Coordination of services to community mental health professionals for patients living outside metro Atlanta that are unable to follow-up at Children’s

Neuropsychological assessment and academic supports

  • Outpatient neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessment of children and adolescents at risk for cognitive or learning difficulties based on disease and/or treatment
  • Liaisons at schools to assist in setting up and maintaining a patient’s individualized education programs (IEPs), 504 Plans or school-based interventions and accommodations

Multidisciplinary collaboration

  • Psychologists work closely in multidisciplinary care across primary hematology/oncology, psychiatry and subspecialty teams
  • Coordination of clinical care with the family support team, including social work, child life, music therapy, school program and chaplaincy services
  • Coordination of clinical care with allied health professionals, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy and other rehabilitation professionals

Innovative clinical research

  • As faculty members at the Emory University School of Medicine, Children’s psychologists are frequently engaged in clinical and translational research designed to improve patient outcomes in the context of chronic illness
  • Psychologists are dedicated to advancing the field of pediatric psychology and engage in research to help make sure every child facing medical challenges can receive the care they need to thrive
  • Clinical researchers are studying health behavior outcomes, pain and self-management, quality of life, adherence to treatment and transition to adult care

High-quality training

  • Children’s works with some of the best psychology programs in metro Atlanta to closely supervise and train advanced gradated students to provide compassionate and skilled care to patients and families facing medical challenges
  • Children’s also has a nationally recognized postdoctoral training program in pediatric psychology that attracts many of the best and brightest fellows from across the U.S.
  • As leaders in the field of pediatric psychology, Children’s is committed to help make sure children continue to have better access to the care they need to lead healthy, productive lives during medical challenges

Our Unique Approach

Research has shown that children do better during and after a medical treatment when they are cared for by professionals who specialize in pediatric care. Our team, which includes pediatric psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychometrists and licensed professional counselors, is specially trained and experienced in caring for children with cancer or blood disorders and their families.

Our approach is family-centered and our work extends beyond the inpatient and outpatient settings to include assistance in a child returning to school and getting back to a happy and healthy life. We often work with allied health professionals, social workers, child life specialists, nurses, music therapists and hospital chaplains to provide comprehensive psychosocial care that is tailored to the needs of each patient and family.

In addition to clinic visits and hospitalizations, the Psychology Program offers traditional therapy sessions at the Egleston, Scottish Rite and Hughes Spaulding hospitals. Senior and board-certified psychologists who are nationally renowned for their work in pediatric psycho-oncology and psycho-hematology specialize in the treatment of pain, medicine adherence, self-management, medical decision-making and helping patients transition from pediatric care to adult care.

Children’s will also provide your family with the information, resources and skills needed to feel confident in caring, advocating, coordinating or managing the psychological, behavioral or school-based needs that may arise as a result of treatment.

Families may request to meet with a pediatric psychologist during their child’s inpatient hospital admission or outpatient medical visits. Speak to your hematology/oncology treatment team and they will be happy to address your concerns. You may also request pediatric neuropsychology services.

Our team is here to make sure your child is cared for by skilled, compassionate experts in a child-friendly, family-centered setting.