Developmental Disabilities

At Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network, we understand the challenges of caring for children with developmental disabilities. We are here to help give you the comprehensive care and support you need to ensure your child’s best quality of life.

Why Choose Mary Bridge for Developmental Disability Treatment?

Parents of children with developmental disabilities come to us because we offer:

  • Expert teams: Our team includes board-certified pediatric neurologists experienced in treating developmental disabilities. We see thousands of patients every year, giving us a depth of expertise not found at many facilities.
  • Advanced diagnosis: Our hospital offers a full range of lab work and tests to accurately diagnose developmental disabilities.
  • Care coordination: We provide referrals for additional support and therapy and help with school accommodations for your child. Our complex care team helps coordinate treatment for children with developmental disabilities. We make it easy to get everything your child needs.

Types of Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disabilities occur early in life and can affect daily function throughout a child’s life. Some developmental disabilities occur due to pregnancy or birth complications, while others have no known cause.

Our specialists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating developmental disabilities and related conditions such as epilepsy. Developmental disabilities we treat in our pediatric neurology clinic include:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Children with ADHD have difficulty with paying attention, hyperactivity and impulse control. Learn more about ADD and ADHD.
  • Autism: Autism is a disorder that causes communication, socialization and behavior problems. Find out more about autism.
  • Cerebral palsy: Children with cerebral palsy have trouble with movement and muscle coordination. Learn more about cerebral palsy.
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome: This disorder can occur when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Symptoms include abnormal features such as small head size, as well as behavior and coordination problems.
  • Hearing loss and vision impairment: Early diagnosis and treatment of hearing and vision problems is critical to helping children reach their potential.
  • Intellectual disability: We treat intellectual disabilities in children, which can make daily functioning and learning difficult.
  • Fragile X syndrome and other genetic disorders: Fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder can cause developmental delays, learning disabilities and social issues.
  • Tourette syndrome: This disorder causes children to make involuntary movements and/or sounds called tics. Find out more about Tourette syndrome.

Learn more about neurological conditions we treat.

Diagnosing Developmental Disabilities

Our skilled, board-certified pediatric neurologists use a variety of evaluations and tests to diagnose developmental disabilities, including:

  • Developmental evaluation: We assess function in areas like motor skills, vision, hearing and speech to identify the disorder affecting your child. Developmental disabilities often come with related neurological conditions, which is why it is important that a pediatric neurology expert performs the evaluation.
  • EEG (electroencephalogram): An EEG measures brain activity with small electrodes (discs) placed on the scalp. We offer inpatient and outpatient EEG testing. Outpatient EEG takes 1 to 2 hours, while inpatient EEG can last up to 24 hours. If your child needs monitoring that lasts longer, we offer ambulatory or in-home EEG to make extended testing more comfortable for your child. In these cases, your child will need just a short clinic visit to set up EEG equipment.
  • CT (computerized tomography) scan: This procedure combines X-rays with computer technology to create detailed brain images. During the scan, your child will need to lie on a small table that slides through a large donut-shaped machine.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This type of scan uses radio waves and powerful magnets to create detailed brain images. For an MRI, your child will lie on a small table that slides into a tunnel-shaped machine. An MRI takes approximately 40 minutes, possibly longer when a child requires sedation. We have technology available so your child can watch a movie during the MRI.

We help put your child at ease during the diagnosis process. Child life specialists explain procedures in child-friendly language, while our sedation services team can help make your child comfortable. Learn more about diagnosis and testing.

Comprehensive Developmental Disability Treatment at Mary Bridge

While developmental disabilities have no cure, early treatment can help your child develop important skills. We help you access everything your child needs to reach his or her fullest potential, including:

  • Medication management: Medications can be effective at helping control some symptoms of developmental disabilities. For example, anticonvulsant medications such as Trileptal® (oxcarbazepine) and Keppra® (levetiracetam) can help control seizures common in children with certain developmental disabilities.
  • Pediatric rehabilitation: Our  Rehabilitation Medicine program offers tailored therapies to help children with developmental disabilities with daily functioning. Physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy are available at our  Children’s Therapy Unit (CTU) to help improve your child’s skills and abilities.
  • Equipment specialists: CTU equipment specialists ensure your child has necessary equipment such as braces, wheelchairs, walkers, and breathing or communication devices.
  • Complex care team: This team includes a physician, nurse and social worker to coordinate services such as home care, rehab and equipment specialists. 
  • School accommodations: Our nurse navigators and social workers work with your child’s school to manage issues and ensure appropriate accommodations are in place.
  • Respite care: If needed, we can point you to local resources providing respite care to give parents a break from the stress of caring for a high-needs child.
  • Personal health partners (PHPs): Our PHP teams include a nurse and a social worker to help families navigate the medical system. Your PHPs can help coordinate care, access community resources and transition to adult services. Learn more about our  support services.

Contact Us

Call us at 253-792-6630 to make an appointment with one of our specialists.