Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Initiative (CaNDI) Provides Ongoing Evaluations & Treatments
Research shows that children who undergo cardiac surgery during the first year of life are at higher risk for developmental, learning and/or behavioral concerns later in life. Ongoing evaluation for these children is highly recommended to ensure early diagnosis of developmental delays.
Your child’s health is important. Don’t delay care.
With early identification, there is the opportunity for early interventions and services, which can have a significant impact on how children develop long-term. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Initiative (CaNDI) offers a complete developmental assessment and referral program for children from infancy through age 18 years who had heart surgery prior to one year of age. Our program assists families with early identification and continuous monitoring of concerns to target appropriate interventions and services.
Neurodevelopmental Assessments as Your Child Grows
With the UH Rainbow CaNDI program, you and your child have access to ongoing neurodevelopmental care as your child grows and develops over time. Our approach ensures that each child can receive evaluation and management at each stage of development.
- Infancy – Toddlerhood (Birth to age 4)
Your child is scheduled for an assessment to evaluate his/her development and provide you with a recommendation/referral if needed. You will be asked to complete questionnaires ahead of your appointment to provide a brief introduction to how your child is doing. We will review these questionnaires at the beginning of the appointment and provide assistance if you had trouble understanding/answering any questions. We will engage your child in play activities to evaluate his/her problem solving skills, language development and physical movements. Children typically enjoy these play activities. For children age 12 months and younger, we will also do a physical exam and neurological screening. This gives us information about your child’s developmental strengths and weaknesses. After this assessment, you will receive feedback during the appointment.
If additional developmental services would be valuable to assist your child, our social worker will work with you to identify a program near your home for any needed therapy.
- School Aged (ages 4+)
School age children are scheduled for a neuropsychological evaluation to assess cognitive skills. A typical neuropsychological evaluation includes a detailed developmental history and clinical interview with a neuropsychologist, observation of the child, and formal testing to identify your child’s strengths and obstacles for learning.
Parents and teachers will also be asked to complete questionnaires to obtain a better understanding of the child’s functioning in different environments, including behavioral, emotional, and social skills.
A few weeks after completion of the evaluation, the results will be reviewed with you and we will provide more information regarding your child’s functioning. We will help to determine if additional treatments and/or interventions will be beneficial.
Therapies Available through the UH Rainbow CaNDI Program
After their initial assessment, it may be determined that your child would benefit from physical, occupational or speech therapy. These therapies are available at multiple community locations.
Types of Therapies
- Occupational Therapy
Pediatric occupational therapy promotes optimal functioning for infants and children by working on fine motor skills. In infants and young children this includes feeding. Our dedicated therapists at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s evaluate and treat infants, toddlers, children and adolescents.
- Physical Therapy
Pediatric physical therapy helps infants and children improve strength and mobility. Physical therapists typically work on large or “gross” motor skills including sitting, crawling, standing, and walking. Our highly skilled pediatric physical therapists at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s evaluate and treat infants, toddlers, children and adolescents.
- Speech Language Therapy
Pediatric speech therapy helps children improve communication at home and in school. Pediatric speech-language pathologists at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s provide assessment and treatment of speech and language disorders for infants and children of all ages.
The speech language pathologist’s role is to evaluate your child’s speech, language and communication development. At your initial evaluation appointment, the speech language pathologist will obtain medical and family history information about your child. The visit may take up to 60 minutes. There may also be standardized testing and a review of results. You will be encouraged to ask questions, so that you and the speech language pathologist can develop a treatment plan in the event that follow-up therapy is recommended.
After assessing children with communication problems, our skilled speech-language pathologists work closely with each child and family to address individualized goals which may include improving language use and comprehension, vocal quality, clarity of speech, and safe feeding and swallowing. These therapists involve parents and family members in helping their child to succeed by providing education and instruction in home programs.
Additional Developmental Testing for Your Child
In addition to the evaluations recommended for children who have undergone cardiac surgery in the first year of life, there are several assessments that are recommended for all children to ensure they are reaching the appropriate milestones at each stage of development. Learn more about the behavioral and development assessments offered by pediatric specialists at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s.
How to Schedule an Appointment or Make a Referral
Children can be referred to this program in multiple ways:
- A child may be referred at the time of his/her cardiac operation prior to hospital discharge, or when seen by his/her cardiologist at follow-up appointments.
- Parents can request an assessment at any time.
Because there is value in identifying subtle changes in the pattern of your child’s development over time, even children without any obvious developmental or learning problems can benefit from participation. The assessment will provide you with more information about your child and help determine if additional developmental services would be beneficial. If additional services are needed, we will help identify and connect your family to services at a location as close as possible to your home.
If you have questions about this program, would like to schedule a neurodevelopmental assessment for your child, or if we can be of further assistance in any other way, please call 216-844-5437.
For Referring Physicians
If you have questions about this program, would like to schedule a neurodevelopmental assessment for a patient, or if we can be of further assistance in any other way, please feel free to contact Sarah Plummer, MD, UH Rainbow pediatric cardiologist.