Developmental neurology is a field focused on the spectrum of delays and disabilities that babies and kids can experience in childhood. The nature and severity of these delays can vary; some children will experience a delay in one area of development, while others may experience multiple delays. These issues can make daily activities like walking, getting dressed, communicating and playing more challenging than for other children.
Regardless of the type or severity of delay, evidence demonstrates that all children who have developmental delays or disabilities benefit from early recognition of the problem and timely treatment. The treatment should be tailored to the child’s specific developmental needs. Early identification and intervention can help your child reach her full potential.
Gaining access to developmental support while your child is young helps build a solid foundation for your child’s future learning and success. Our developmental neurology team is committed to partnering with you and your family to help your child reach her full potential and lead a rich and fulfilling life.
We see children for a variety of different concerns, including:
- Global developmental delay
- Speech delay
- Intellectual disability or cognitive delay
- Autism spectrum disorder with specific neurological concerns
- Motor delay
- Coordination problems
- Hypotonia or hypertonia
- Microcephaly or macrocephaly
- Developmental regression
Conditions we don’t treat in our clinic:
- Behavior problems or medicine management for behavior
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Learning disabilities
- Recent trauma, abuse and neglect (within last 12 months)
- Autism spectrum disorder without specific neurological concerns
Children with the above conditions or concerns are better served by:
At Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, our interdisciplinary team provides comprehensive neurodevelopmental evaluations for infants, toddlers, school-age children and adolescents. Depending on the age of your child and reason for the referral, your child may be seen by one or more members of our team, including a child neurologist, developmental behavioral pediatrician or clinical psychologist. Our evaluations are tailored to meet the individual needs of your child and family. All children receive medical evaluations by a pediatric neurologist or developmental pediatrician and, if appropriate, specific psychological and developmental testing. Our team will provide you with comprehensive feedback to discuss your child’s diagnosis, her strengths and weaknesses, and recommendations for medical or neurological testing as well as therapeutic interventions.
Depending on the needs of your child, we may refer your child to be seen in our Neuromuscular Clinic, Cerebral Palsy Clinic or Neurogenetic-Metabolic Clinic. We also work closely with providers in the Children’s and Emory University networks as well as in the community to help provide coordinated care following our evaluations.
Making a referral
The Developmental Neurology Program does not accept self-referrals at this time. Referrals may be submitted by a child’s primary care provider or other specialist and can be made through our online provider referral form. Select “Neurology: Developmental neurology” under the “specialty needed” tab when completing the form.
How do I prepare for my child’s appointment?
These tips will help you and your child prepare for your visit in advance:
- Bring copies of your child’s previous medical records, psychological records or school testing forms.
- Locate our clinic before your visit to reduce stress that day.
- Allow at least 10 to 15 minutes before the start of your scheduled appointment to find a parking space and enter the building.
- Talk to your child beforehand about what to expect during the appointment. Your child will meet with doctors who will ask questions so that they can better understand how to help her. Doctors will interact with her, but she will not be getting any shots during the visit.
- You are encouraged to bring your child’s favorite toy, a drink and snacks to keep her comfortable during the appointment. Expect a wait time of about 30 minutes.
- Leave siblings and other family members at home. Clinic space is limited, and additional family members will be asked to wait in the waiting room during the appointment.
What should I bring to my child’s appointment?
Bring copies of your child’s previous medical records, psychological records or school testing forms. Examples include:
- Individualized education plan (IEP)
- Results from medical testing, such as an MRI or CT scan, EEG, sleep study or genetic testing
- Blood, urine or spinal fluid testing
- Babies Can’t Wait evaluations
- Speech, occupational or physical therapy evaluations
- Psychological evaluations from school or a private care provider
- Neuropsychological evaluations
- Psychiatric evaluations
What can I expect during my child’s appointment?
During your appointment, you and your child will meet with one or more of our team members to discuss your concerns in order to determine the appropriate diagnosis, treatment and intervention for your child.
The length of your child’s appointment will vary depending on her specific developmental concerns and health needs and how many providers she needs to see. When you are contacted to schedule your child’s appointment, you will be advised how long to allow for your visit.
Having a child diagnosed with a neurological condition can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. At Children’s, our top priority is supporting you and your family. Whether evaluating a toddler for a motor delay or treating a teen with autism, we make it our mission to provide the best care—and best experience—for every child. Family is a big part of your child’s well-being. Not only are you a vital member of your child’s healthcare team; you are a source of security and comfort.
Our interdisciplinary team is composed of child neurologists, developmental behavioral pediatricians, clinical psychologists, genetic counselors, nurses and social workers. Our physicians have expertise in a variety of neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, and neurometabolic and genetic disorders.
- Jamika L. Hallman-Cooper, MD, Pediatric Neurologist with expertise in cerebral palsy
- Stephanie R. Keller, MD, Pediatric Neurologist with expertise in neurometabolic disorders
Developmental behavioral pediatrician
- D. David O’Banion, MD, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician
- Laura Dilly, PhD, ABPP, NCSP, Clinical Psychologist
- Stormi Pulver White, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist
- Rachel Logan, MMSc, Genetic Counselor
- Laveda Doxey, MSW, LCSW