The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC
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The CIDD is dedicated to providing exemplary clinical services to children, adolescents and adults who have or are at risk for developmental disabilities. Our interdisciplinary faculty offer numerous clinical services designed to provide diagnostic clarification, interpretation and information, intervention and treatment planning, and support and guidance for families. Our evaluation services may include appointments with individual clinicians, select teams of two or three clinicians, or a full interdisciplinary team representing four or more of the following professional disciplines: Pediatrics, Psychology, Speech-Language Pathology, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychiatry, Audiology, Social Work and Special Education. CIDD intake specialists will determine the appropriate team based on information provided by individuals, families and referring professionals.

As the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities and the North Carolina UCEDD (University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities), our clinical area of emphasis is exclusively on developmental disabilities. This term refers to a physical, mental or medical disorder that significantly interferes with one or more areas of development (e.g., cognition, communication, motor and adaptive skills) and is manifested prior to age 18. Those individuals who have or are suspected of having intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, and genetic or medical conditions which impact development, health, and independent living would be appropriate referrals to the Institute. The CIDD also specializes in serving individuals who may have co-existing behavioral, mental or medical/physical health needs in tandem with developmental delays or disabilities.

The CIDD does not accept referrals for individuals whose primary concerns are related to psychiatric (e.g., ADHD, depression), behavioral or learning concerns in the absence of known or suspected underlying neuro-developmental disorders. In cases where a referral is made and there is no indication of a potential developmental disorder, more appropriate referral and resource information will be provided to the individual or family.

If you would like to make a referral for an appointment, please click here to complete our CIDD Contact Form. If you have questions, please email

Adult Autism Assessment Clinic

The Adult Autism Assessment Clinic offers evaluations and recommendations for adults who have concerns regarding possible autism spectrum disorder. Referrals to this clinic often include differential diagnosis of high functioning autism with individuals functioning in the average or above average range of intellectual functioning, who may have struggled to succeed academically, vocationally and socially. Many of these persons have received incorrect diagnoses which have interfered with obtaining appropriate services. Other individuals come to the clinic with multiple diagnoses, including an autism spectrum disorder, and may be needing assistance with behavioral or other challenges which interfere with functioning. Evaluations often include consultation, and for young adults this may include assistance with transition planning from school and home-based services to adult educational, residential, and vocational services.

Angelman Syndrome Clinic

The Angelman Syndrome Clinic is a once a month multidisciplinary clinic serving individuals with AS and their families across the country. AS is a genetic disorder which results in moderate to severe intellectual disability, mild to extreme ataxia, lack of verbal communication, seizures, sleep maintenance issues, and mild to severe attention and aggression. The clinic team is comprised of psychology, speech/language, PT, neurology, psychiatry, genetics, and genetic counseling. An arena style developmental evaluation is conducted, as well as communication, behavior, and medical consultations. Typically 2-3 individuals and their caregivers are seen each month.

Click Here for more information on the Angelman Syndrome Clinic.

Behavioral Medicine in Developmental Disabilities Clinic

THE BMDDC is an interdisciplinary evaluation and treatment service for children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities co-occurring with complex behavioral and/or psychiatric challenges. The evaluation and treatment team includes a Behavioral Psychologist and a physician trained in both Pediatrics and Psychiatry.

Common referral issues appropriate for this clinic include assistance with self-injurious behaviors, disabling ritualistic behaviors, difficulties surrounding obsessive/narrow areas of interest, and explosive/aggressive behaviors. In addition to addressing the above primary referral concerns the providers in this clinic can consult on or assist in arranging further consultation regarding the following common co-morbid concerns: Anxiety Disorders(with special emphasis on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), Mood Disorders, Tic Disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptoms, Sleep Disorders, Seizure Disorders, Gastro-Intestinal/Toileting issues.

Evaluation services will include multiple disciplines and be problem focused. Diagnostic clarification of the underlying developmental disability will not be an area of focus in this clinic. Underlying developmental disabilities considered appropriate may include Autism Spectrum Disorders (all severity levels) and all developmental disabilities where an intellectual disability is primary feature regardless of etiology. Children and adults with primary Axis I Psychiatric Disorders without a co-morbid developmental disability as described above are not appropriate for this clinic.

Intervention services can include but would not be limited to development of a detailed behavioral management plan, psychopharmacologic consultation and collaborative institution of all recommendations with the family and community providers as appropriate. The period of consultation with the client will vary from one visit to a period of co-management with the family and/or community provider as appropriate.

Hearing and Development Clinic

The HDC offers diagnostic evaluations for infants and young children with known hearing loss in combination with developmental concerns. The primary purpose of the clinic is to determine whether or not a child is experiencing developmental deficits, and if so to provide recommendations for treatment. Typical referral concerns include:

• Speech, language, or learning difficulties
• Concerns regarding developmental delays
• Concerns regarding socialization, communication, or sensory dysfunction

The team consists of audiologists, a speech-language pathologist, a psychologist, a learning specialist, and other disciplines as needed based on referral concerns. At the conclusion of the interdisciplinary assessments an interpretive conference will be provided for parents/caretakers to explain the results of the evaluation and strategies to address referral concerns. A report will be provided along with assistance in identifying local resources.

Let’s Talk About Sexuality Group

While major public policies and societal attitudes toward individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities have evolved, perceptions toward sexuality have lagged behind. The CIDD launched a new psycho-educational series in September called: “Let’s Talk about Sexuality.” This series aims to provide accurate and developmentally appropriate information about sexuality development across the lifespan and to empower youth participants to make good decisions and practice healthy behaviors related to personal relationships and their bodies. Let’s Talk about Sexuality is comprised of a seven week curriculum offered in two concurrent group settings ─ one directed toward youth ages 11-16, and the other toward their parents. Included are weekly “family-focused" segments that provide opportunity for interactive family activities designed to explore and clarify family values and to strengthen communication about sexuality. Through this unique family-system approach, we hope to support positive continuous sexuality education in the home through information, strategies, and resources.

LINK – Autism and Related Disorders Clinic

The Autism and Related Disorders Clinic is one facet of LINK activities related to developmental disabilities. This half-day clinic is dedicated to the assessment and treatment planning for individuals who display communication, social or behavioral characteristics potentially related to an autism spectrum disorder, language disorder, sensory impairment, or other developmental disability. The main focus of the assessment is to diagnose or rule out ASD, to identify other related delays or disabilities, and to explore the use of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) as a means of communication for those with little productive use of language. Evidence-based assessment tools are a standard part of the assessment process, including use of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R). Additional cognitive, language, behavioral, and adaptive behavior testing is included as needed. Results are shared with the parents and recommendations are generated for educational and therapeutic intervention.

Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic

The focus of this clinic is the neuropsychological assessment of children and adolescents with neurological illness, medical illnesses and disorders, genetic disorders, psychiatric illness and behavior problems, brain injury, developmental disabilities, and complex learning issues. Individuals are referred to the clinic from a variety of sources, including neurology, nephrology, oncology, pediatric rehab, and local school systems. Neuropsychological assessment describes brain-behavior relationships by assessing multiple cognitive domains and relating a patient’s performance within these domains to neuroanatomical and neurophysiological principles. A typical clinic day begins with a parent/child interview to clarify questions and concerns, followed by three to five hours of assessment. Interpretives generally take place on another day in order to have time to score all assessments, develop the diagnostic formulation, and select appropriate treatments and recommendations. Trainees participate in all aspects of the clinic, and gradually move into more independence in regards to interviewing, battery development, and formulation. Trainees participating in this clinic will be exposed to a wide range of clinical presentations, semi-structured clinical interviewing, neuropsychological testing procedures, interpretation of data, clinical interpretive with clients and family members, report writing, and community consultation and information sharing as requested by the families.

Prader Willi Syndrome Clinic

The Prader Willi Syndrome Clinic is a once every other month multidisciplinary clinic serving individuals with PWS and their families across NC. PWS is a genetic disorder which results in borderline to moderate intellectual disability, mild to extreme hypotonia, often severe hyperphagia (urge to eat), OCD and autistic-like behaviors, and mild self-injurious behaviors (mostly skin-picking). Many individuals with PWS have obesity-related health concerns as well. The clinic team is comprised of psychology, speech/language, nutrition, PT, medicine and genetic counseling. A medical consultation model is used in providing support to families who come to the clinic. Typically 2-6 individuals and their caregivers are seen each clinic.

Preschool Assessment, Consultation, and Training (PACT) Clinic

The PAACT Clinic offers diagnostic evaluations for children under age 5 years of age. The primary purpose of the half-day clinic is to determine whether or not the child meets criteria for an autism spectrum disorder, provide recommendations for treatment, and refer the family to other resources in their community. This clinic also includes follow-up consultation and parent training for interested families. Common referral concerns include:

• Speech/language delays
• Differences in social interaction with adults and/or peers
• Difficulty with behavior management
• Strong or unusual interests
• Difficulty with change
• Sensory differences
• Repetitive play and/or behaviors

The team consists of a licensed psychologist and a licensed speech language pathologist, as well as graduate students from each of these disciplines. Professionals from other disciplines are included based on the referral questions. The half-day evaluation consists of a thorough child assessment typically using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, a parent interview, and/or other informal tools to assess for characteristics of autism. Developmental, cognitive, adaptive behavior, and speech and language assessments are supplemented as needed. Parents/caregivers are offered an interpretive conference regarding the results the evaluation, strategies to address their referral concerns, and opportunity to return for follow-up consultation and parent training/therapy. A report of the findings and recommendations is tailored to the needs of the family.

School-Age Autism Clinic

The School-Age Autism Clinic offers evaluations and consultation for school-aged individuals (ages 5-17) when there are concerns regarding possible autism. Evaluations typically involve differential diagnosis of High Functioning Autism and Asperger syndrome, and there may be concerns regarding other psychiatric or behavioral disorders (for example, anxiety, depression, ADHD) as well. Individuals who are evaluated receive consultation and recommendations regardless of diagnostic outcomes. Individuals with preexisting autism-related diagnoses may also been seen for consultation regarding intervention planning, behavior supports and planning, educational supports, and transition planning.

School-Age Team

The School-Age Team often consists of clinicians representing all disciplines at the CIDD. Children from pre-school through 12th grade may be referred by parents, physicians, or schools for a variety of issues related to developmental disabilities. The clients referred to this team frequently present complex diagnostic and treatment challenges. The interdisciplinary team members, selected based on the referral concerns for each client, conduct individual assessment sessions targeting those questions and needs. Parents have an opportunity to observe and also participate in consultations with each clinician. Following the full-day evaluation, the team meets to consolidate findings, after which the team coordinator meets with the family for an interpretive conference. The role of team coordinator/family advisor is rotated and the School-Age Team is a major component in the LEND (Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) training program at the CIDD. Trainees observe and participate in the assessments, team conference, and interpretive conferences. A comprehensive report is generated following the evaluation.

Social Skills Groups

The CIDD runs a number of social skills groups designed to help children, adolescents, and adults develop their social communicative skills. The groups are open to those with a formal diagnosis that impacts their social communication abilities (such as autism spectrum disorder), as well as those simply wishing to improve their social skills. The groups are designed for individuals with verbal skills that would allow them to benefit from the back-and-forth conversations that are part of a group setting.

Click Here for more information about Social Skills Groups at the CIDD

Social Smarts Groups

The Social Smarts programs at the CIDD are designed to help improve your preschool or elementary aged child’s social smarts, social curiosity, and social engagement.

Click Here for more information about the Social Smarts Groups
Click Here for more information about Parent/Caregiver Component

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