Who We Are:
For patients and families affected by genetic conditions, a diagnosis often raises even more questions. That's why, to complement the diagnostic, medical, and therapeutic care already offered at Kennedy Krieger Institute, we also provide genetic counseling for individuals hoping to better understand what genetic disorders are, how they occur and their impact on families.
Working as part of the health care team, our genetic counselors strive to provide individuals with known or suspected genetic disorders with the answers and guidance they need. Our genetic counselors also act as a resource for other health care professionals who have questions about genetic conditions, whether here at Kennedy Krieger or throughout the community.
Who We Serve:
Genetic counseling services are available in all of our clinics. Individuals who may benefit from a genetic counseling appointment include those who are affected by or have a family history of:
- Down syndrome or other chromosome disorders
- Genetic conditions such as muscular dystrophy, Fragile X syndrome, Osteogenesis imperfecta, or Rett syndrome
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Mitochondrial disease
- Microcephaly and other brain development disorders
We also see patients who lack a specific diagnosis, but whose symptoms might be related to a genetic or inherited condition. This includes, but is not limited to, children with unexplained developmental delays or multi-system disorders.
What We Offer:
Our counselors provide a wide variety of services for families who need guidance from genetics professionals. Genetic counselors can meet with you during your child's physician appointment or as a separate consultation. This flexibility allows patients to receive comprehensive care in one location without the stress of traveling between multiple sites.
A typical genetic counseling session might include:
- Reviewing medical and family health histories.
- Helping families understand genetic conditions and how they are inherited.
- Explaining what we know about how genetic factors contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders and cerebral palsy.
- Addressing questions about the chance of recurrence ini future children, or risks to other family members.
- Guiding families through decision-making about genetic testing.
- Coordinating all aspects of genetic testing.
- Exploring the impact of genetic disorders on the individual and family.
- Assisting individuals and families as they adjust to a diagnosis.
- Sharing information about community resources and support groups.
- Providing referral information to other appropriate medical clinics and programs.
Kennedy Krieger currently employs three genetic counselors who work with various interdisciplinary centers, clinics, and programs throughout the Institute. They are genetics professionals with training not only in medical genetics, but also psychology, counseling, public health and research.