Children with special health care needs are “those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition, and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.” (U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau, 2009).
Nearly one in every five children in the United States is a child with special health care needs, and about 2/3 of these have complex medical conditions that need services, including health care, public health, education, mental health, genetics, orthopaedics and social services. Achieving the best health outcomes requires a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach that integrates patient care, education, community programs and research, including the family as a key partner in decision making.
The goal of the neurodevelopmental pediatrics program at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield is to provide age-appropriate consultation services for infants, toddlers, school age children and adolescents with motor, speech or social delays, developmental delay or cerebral palsy. The goal is to assess a child’s development and provide education to the family regarding the current and future consequences of the condition to better prepare the family for the challenges that can be associated with complex medical conditions.
Appointments are scheduled for 60–90 minutes to provide adequate time for assessment and education. From this consultation, a written care plan is provided for families, primary care providers, schools and specialists to assist with transitional care planning across developmental periods from childhood to adulthood.
To schedule an appointment, call new patient access at 413-735-1234 or 800-322-5905.