UCP of West Central Wisconsin coordinates health clinics for both children and adults with disabilities. The comprehensive clinics are based at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire.
A Family’s Introduction to the West Central Wisconsin’s Neurodevelopmental Evaluation Clinic
What is a Neurodevelopment Evaluation Clinic?
The Clinic is a gathering, in one place, of specialists who are all concerned with various aspects of developmental delay and, a delay that has neurological causes. (The name of the Clinic should not be confused with “Neurodevelopmental Therapy,” which is only one of several types of treatment programs used to remediate a delay.) A family may bring a child for any or all of three reasons:
(1) to receive, confirm, or discount a particular diagnosis
(2) to identify a treatment program; learn its techniques, and receive assistance in locating community resources to carry it out
(3) to pursue follow-up assessments in order to modify recommended treatment programs to change with the development of the child
The Clinic’s overall mission is to ensure that each child referred reaches his/her maximum potential.
Who Should Be Seen?
Although the Clinic was founded addressing just the diagnosis of cerebral palsy, as years progressed it was recognized that the evaluation provided would address the needs of a much larger population. Some neurodevelopmental diagnoses receiving attention include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Seizure disorder
- Impairment in speech sounds or language
- Visual difficulties
- Hearing impairment
- Learning disabilities (often related to visual-motor perception)
- Behavior problems related to brain dysfunction
- Fine and gross movement delay, motor (Muscle movement) delay or spasticity
At the Clinic, the staff assesses the presence of all these disabilities, especially when several occur in the same person.
Although the West Central Wisconsin Neurodevelopmental Evaluation Clinic is held within medical settings, the working philosophy of the evaluation team is family centered and their recommendations are carried out in each family’s own community. Participating facilities include:
- Sacred Heart Hospital
- Midelfort Clinic
- Marshfield Clinic
- Mayo Clinic (Rochester)
Clinic coordination services by United Cerebral Palsy are partially funded by several area United Ways and county Human Service Agencies:
UCP – Understanding Disabilities Creating Opportunities
Your local Department of Human Services
Meet the Team
During your initial visit to the Clinic and on succeeding visits, you will be meeting with seven professionals. It is your right to understand why each of these is seen.
1. Developmental Pediatrician
Because general good health is vital to the well being of every child, successful intervention of any suspected delay must begin with an overview of your child’s physical status. The pediatrician’s examination will consist of a general health assessment and search for all diagnoses which would explain your child’s condition.
Many forms of developmental delays have causes arising from damage to the central nervous system. Therefore, comprehensive management of the conditions may include neurological follow-along. The neurologist’s examination consists of an assessment of the status of your child’s nervous system (e.g. reflex testing), an investigation of possible causes and sometimes a prescription of medication to improve functioning.
Effective maintenance of conditions such as cerebral palsy often require artificial support to skeletal muscles, surgical release of tightness, and monitoring of overall posture. The orthopedist’s examination consists of an assessment of the structure and function of bones and muscles and may include issuing prescriptions for mobility devices such as bracing, walkers, or wheelchairs.
4. Physical Therapist
An important part of teaching a child to maximize her self-help will entail certain exercises and strengthening procedures. The Physical Therapist will evaluate developmental progress of the large (gross) muscles of the body and then will recommend therapeutic procedures as well as adaptive equipment needed to reach the next development stage.
5. Occupational Therapist
The effects of cerebral palsy and other delays often include impairment of “fine motor” development that impedes such activities as feeding and dressing. The Occupational Therapist will assess development of the body’s smaller (fine) muscles and suggest methods for further progress and adaptation.
6. Speech and Language Therapist
Movements of the tongue, lips and throat are also frequently affected. The speech therapist will evaluate language development, speech patterns, problems in feeding and swallowing, and language comprehension. She will have suggestions on feeding and communication and may recommend an augmentative communication device.
7. Other Consultants
Also, available as needed, consultants include ophthalmology, orthotics, nutrition, pediatric dentistry, audiology, and educational assessment.
For more information about Children’s Heathcare, please contact UCP at (888) 845-5775 or send an e-mail.