The Pediatric Psychology Program at Kennedy Krieger Institute includes outpatient, interdisciplinary medical clinic, and inpatient consultation services.
The program applies behavioral science knowledge and methods to the assessment and treatment of learning, behavioral and psychosocial challenges associated with diagnosis, treatment and adaptation to pediatric medical problems. This approach helps to address the numerous behavioral, psychological, social and environmental influences on the ability of children and adolescents and their caregivers to cope with health problems and medical care. As a result, these individuals are better able to benefit from advanced diagnostic procedures and medical therapies.
Primary Program Goals:
The program's primary goal is to promote healthy child development, behavior and psychological adjustment despite the often extraordinary stress and demands placed on children and families by medical problems in today's health care environment. This goal is accomplished by applying principles of behavior, learning and psychosocial adaptation from the fields of behavioral, rehabilitation, and pediatric psychology in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Behavior analysis and therapy are used to teach children skills for cooperating and participating at a developmentally appropriate level with medical care. Therapists in this specialized outpatient clinic also provide consultation to allied health professionals in a variety of inpatient and outpatient pediatric settings at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Johns Hopkins Hospital Bloomberg Children's Center and various schools and community health care facilities. Licensed psychologists and affiliated staff with special expertise in pediatric psychology, rehabilitation psychology, and behavior analysis coordinate services with multidisciplinary health care, rehabilitation and educational teams. Direct clinical services are provided to children and adolescents with or without developmental disabilities having a wide range of medical problems, along with their families and caregivers. Services include:
- Behaviorally-oriented individual child/adolescent psychotherapy with emphasis placed on teaching or strengthening skills for coping with stress, anxiety or pain, and on problem-solving skills for identifying and overcoming barriers to adherence with health care regimens and positive, successful psychosocial adjustment.
- Evaluation and treatment of child/adolescent difficulties with behavior, psychosocial adjustment or emotional regulation related to medical problems or health care procedures.
- Behavioral rehabilitation to improve daily functioning in youth with pain-associated disabilities.
- Parent-child interaction assessment and therapy to improve interpersonal relationships and facilitate adherence with daily health care regimens.
- Training parents and health care professionals to implement behavioral interventions that strengthen child coping, cooperation and adjustment to their medical conditions.
- Use of behavioral techniques to help avoid reliance on sedation or anesthesia for coping, motion control or behavior management during medical procedures.
- Use of behavioral techniques to supplement medical management of pain, anxiety and distress associated with medical disorders, tests and treatments.
- Helping children and families adjust and adhere to prescribed medical treatments and self-care routines, including: taking medicine, repeated blood tests, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, transfusions, dialysis, bowel and bladder management, self-catheterization, tracheostomy care, restricted diet, stoma care, exercise programs, wearing glasses or hearing aids, wound care, dressing changes, intravenous catheter insertion, etc.
- Behavioral and actigraphy assessment for sleep concerns.
- Behavioral intervention for improving sleep habits and patterns, bedtime resistance, independent sleep onset, difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, and other common sleep concerns.
Related Materials and Information:
- The Resource Finder: A Project of Kennedy Krieger Institute
- American Pain Society
- American Psychological Association
- Parenting Toolbox
- National Head Start Association
- Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
- National Academy Press
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Society of Pediatric Psychology (Division 54 of the American Psychological Association)