Care for Children with Behavioral Problems and Developmental Disorders

You want the best for your child, and you're concerned about his or her development, behavior or learning. Maybe he or she's crying a lot, having trouble with understanding and using language, socially withdrawn or is having a hard time concentrating on schoolwork.

While this can be very troubling, the sooner your family seeks help for a suspected problem, the better it will be for your child. Research shows that early intervention can improve the outcomes for children with developmental, behavioral and learning disorders.

Our developmental and behavioral physicians are highly skilled subspecialists with fellowship training in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, neurodevelopmental disabilities and pediatric advocacy. They have been honored with numerous awards for advancing holistic approaches to the management of developmental and behavioral disorders in infancy and childhood.

Our goal is to ensure that children with complex challenges are identified as early as possible. Our experts want to make sure children receive the best interventions and family support to optimize their development, behavior, learning and socialization.

At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's, we help families understand their child's developmental or behavioral issues. Our experts can assist your family and your child's primary care physician in the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of complex developmental, behavioral, learning and genetic disorders. Whatever your child's particular challenges, our team will seek your input in designing an effective management plan — one that can ensure the best possible future for your child.

Developmental & Behavioral Conditions We Treat

Our Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics Services

Our expert developmental and behavioral pediatricians are knowledgeable about the continuum of services and support available to your family. We will evaluate your child's strengths and challenges and work with you to develop a care plan for your child's ongoing developmental, behavioral and learning successes. When appropriate, our caring staff can provide recommendations for habilitative therapies (speech, occupational, developmental and physical therapy), tutoring and family support services.

We also will help you understand how to access these services through early intervention or special education programs, depending on your child's age. For children with complex challenges, we will monitor their development over time so they have measurable successes developmentally, educationally and socially.

Adoption Center

When adopting a child overseas, a family sometimes must make a choice based on limited medical and social information about the child. We can review the child's file and give you a better understanding of his or her health and development. Once you bring an adopted child home, our adoption center can provide an initial examination, as well as follow-up services as needed.

Why Choose Comer Children's for Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics?

Our doctors are also actively engaged in teaching and research so that families will benefit from the best clinical and scientific advances with the highest standards of ethics, professionalism and advocacy. Our community partners include:

  • Ounce of Prevention
  • Easter Seals
  • Pathways Awareness Foundation
  • Local chapters of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity (CHADD)
  • Local chapters of Down Syndrome Congress
  • Local chapters of Family Voices

Services are available through several clinics and programs dedicated to your child's particular needs. These include:

  • Adoption Center at DCAM
  • Birth to Three Diagnostic Clinic: For clarifying children's developmental delays, providing developmental diagnosis, and supporting families of children at risk and those with evolving developmental disabilities
  • Child and Family Connections, an early intervention program in collaboration with community partners
  • Developmental and Behavioral Diagnosis and Management clinics at the Comer Center for Children and Specialty Care, Friend Family Health Center, and the University of Chicago Pediatric Specialists Clinic in Palos Heights
  • Developmental Follow-Up Clinic: For children who were in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in collaboration with our neonatology team's Center for Healthy Families
  • Developmental Follow-Up Clinic: For children who were in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in collaboration with pediatric critical care specialists
  • Developmental Follow-Up Clinic: For children seen in the Child Protection Services Program
  • Fussy Baby Program at DCAM: For infants and toddlers ages birth to age 2 with colic, sleep difficulties and regulatory challenges in collaboration with the Erikson Institute
  • Hyperactivity, Inattention, Learning and School Problems Clinic in collaboration with psychiatry experts
  • Woodlawn Early Childhood Intervention Center: For children ages birth to age 3 with motor, communicative, developmental or socio-emotional delays

If we determine that your child could benefit from other specialties — such as psychiatry, psychology, counseling, neurology or genetics — we will refer you to experts in these fields. Our team also works with other medical specialties to provide comprehensive medical management and follow-up support for children with medical or social issues that may affect their development and behavior. These at-risk children may have been born prematurely or have conditions such as asthma, congenital heart disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, failure to thrive, seizure disorders, genetic disorders or sickle cell disease.

In addition, we provide medical, developmental and behavioral consultation to families with children receiving residential services, such as those at the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education, and to families with children in schools designed to meet their special needs.