NICU Growth and Developmental Support Programs (GraDS) | Your Visit

First visit: One to three months after NICU discharge

Your infant’s first visit will take place within three months of leaving the NICU. If you have been referred after that time, your first visit will take place within three months of referral. You and your child will meet with a pediatrician or neonatologist (specialist in newborn medicine). They will review your child’s medical history with you and discuss any concerns you may have.

Your child will have a physical examination by the doctor. In some cases, a physical therapist will also evaluate your child’s motor development. A social worker will also check in with you about any needs you may have. This visit lasts about one hour.

How can I prepare for the visit?

Prior to your first visit, we will contact you by phone to ensure that we have all necessary documentation. You will be told at that time if there is anything you need to bring, such as written NICU discharge summary or Early Intervention service plan. For those families who are driving to our Longwood Campus, free parking vouchers are provided for families who park in the Boston Children’s Hospital Patient and Family Garage. Parking is always free at our Waltham campus.

What happens during the visit?

Each visit includes a medical and developmental evaluation by a pediatrician or neonatologist (doctor specializing in newborn medicine). Based on your infants age and specialized needs, your visit and may include a consultation with a physical therapist, psychologist, or social worker.

Based on the results of the comprehensive evaluation, the team will provide feedback on your child's developmental progress. This feedback with include areas of strength and weakness for your child, as well as recommendations to enhance their development. Referrals are frequently made to early Intervention programs, medical specialty services and community resources.

Will I have a chance to discuss the results of the visit?

Yes. After your child's exam, the physician will provide you with feedback from the team's evaluation and also answer questions you might have. In addition, a detailed report of the visit will be available to you on your MyChildren’s Patient Portal site and will be sent electronically to your pediatrician, as well as other providers that you identify. Reports can be sent by mail as well. We provide support in coordinating visits with other specialists, as well as with other community services your child might need.

Additional visits: Every six to 12 months

At each subsequent visit, the pediatrician or neonatologist will meet with you and your child to review medical history since the last visit and will do a physical examination. Your child will also meet with a pediatric psychologist who will evaluate their development using standard assessments. You may also meet with a physical therapist and a social worker. At the end of the visit, the doctor will discuss the results of the evaluation with you and made any appropriate care recommendations. Since your child will be evaluated by several specialists, you can expect the visit to last approximately three hours.

Our clinic meets once a week on Monday at our Longwood campus and twice a month on Wednesday and Thursdays at our Waltham campus.

Final visit: Approaching age 3 years

At your child’s last visit to our program, they will again meet with the pediatrician or neonatologist, the psychologist and physical therapist. Age three is when children typically transition from early Intervention to the public school system. This is an opportunity to share any concerns with the transition process and seek help in finding the right programs and services, if needed. If further developmental follow-up is needed, your child may be referred to the Developmental Medical Center at Boston Children’s. This process will be explained to you and this visit is an excellent time to address any concerns you may have. In addition, the program social worker will review your child’s educational plans. Although your child will graduate from our program at this time, we are glad to be a resource for future referrals.