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 Twyla.peoples@cidd.unc.edu.



The Young Adult Program provides evaluations for young adults ages 18-30 who are struggling with learning and/or vocational issues. Typical referral concerns include problems with maintaining academic success in college, difficulty choosing a career path, challenges with functional adult life skills (e.g. paying bills), organization and study skills, and/or maintaining social relationships. Evaluations may include neuro-cognitive and emotional screening, educational assessment, and assessment of the individual’s vocational interests and values. Initial or re-evaluation for learning disabilities, attention regulation disorders, and/or psychiatric diagnosis such as depression and anxiety are frequent evaluation outcomes. Information from all three disciplines is discussed in team meetings in order to develop a career plan for the client. Interpretive meetings are held on the same day as the clinic in order to explain results to the individual client. Parents are typically also involved in providing assessment data and participate in the interpretive session. Reports are targeted to address the referral questions.
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Adolescent And Adult Autism Clinic

The Adolescent and Adult Autism Clinic offers evaluations and recommendations for adolescents, age 14+, and adults of any age. There are three types of evaluations offered: (1) Differential diagnosis of High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Disorder with individuals functioning in the average or above average range of intellectual functioning, who have struggled to succeed academically, vocationally and socially. Many of these persons have received incorrect diagnoses which have interfered with obtaining appropriate services. (2) Other individuals come to the Clinic with multiple diagnoses, including an autism spectrum disorder, who are experiencing significant behavioral challenges which interfere with functioning. The focus of these evaluations is to offer behavior consultation or the development of a formal behavior intervention plan. (3) Transition evaluations are offered for older adolescents or young adults to assist in helping them to transition from school and home-based services to adult educational, residential, and vocational services.
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Angelman Syndrome Clinic

Anne Wheeler, Ph.D., Psychology
Margaret DeRamus, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language
Rob Christian, MD, Pediatrics
Katie Ollendick, PT, DPT, Physical Therapy
Nutrition, Neurology, Genetics, and Genetic Counseling from UNC Hospitals

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.

Day of Week: First Friday every month
Times: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Click Here for more information on the Angelman Syndrome Clinic.
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Autism and Related Disorders Clinic

Pete Duquette, Ph.D., Psychology
* Additional disciplines will be determined as needed

The Autism Clinic offers evaluations and recommendations for individuals, age 5 through adulthood. There are three types of evaluations offered: (1) Differential diagnosis of High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Disorder with individuals functioning in the average or above average range of intellectual functioning, who have struggled to succeed academically, vocationally and socially. Many of these persons have received incorrect diagnoses which have interfered with obtaining appropriate services. (2) Other individuals come to the Clinic with multiple diagnoses, including an autism spectrum disorder, who are experiencing significant behavioral challenges which interfere with functioning. The focus of these evaluations is to offer behavior consultation or the development of a formal behavior intervention plan. (3) Transition evaluations are offered for older adolescents or young adults to assist in helping them to transition from school and home-based services to adult educational, residential, and vocational services.

Dr. Duquette also provides behavioral consultations to families either in their homes or at the CIDD. These might be one time consultations or the development of formal behavior plans to be taught to families and direct care workers, and then monitored over time.

Day of Week: Mondays
Times: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
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Behavioral Medicine in Developmental Disabilities Clinic

Rob Christian, M.D., Pediatrics
Jean Mankowski, Ph.D., Psychology

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.

Day of Week: Thursdays
Time: Full day (multiple appointment slots per day)
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Educational Consultations

Donna Yerby, M.Ed., Education

Educational consultations at the CIDD are highly individualized, based on client needs. Experienced learning specialists assess academic difficulties and possible underlying causes. A 1-2 hour session includes specific assessments, demonstration of strategies (parents have the opportunity to observe), and an interpretive conference for the parent (and child if appropriate) on the day of the visit. Standardized testing to determine appropriate school support and interventions is also available. A comprehensive report includes a learning plan for home and school. Follow-up support is available, including school observations, IEP meetings, advocacy skills, and strategies instruction.

Day of Week: Thursdays and Fridays
Times: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m
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Hearing and Development Clinic

Jackson Roush, Ph.D., Audiology
Jean B. Mankowski, Ph.D., Psychology
Hannah Eskridge, M.A., LSLS Cert.-AVT, Speech-Language Pathology
Margaret DeRamus, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language
Donna Yerby, M.Ed., Education
* Additional disciplines will be determined as needed

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.

Day of week: Mondays (1st and 3rd of the month)
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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Let’s Talk About Sexuality Group

Morgan Parlier, MSW, LCSW
Kylee Miller, Ph.D.

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.
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LINK – Autism and Related Disorders Clinic

Rebecca Edmondson Pretzel, Ph.D., Psychology
Debbie B. Reinhartsen, Ph.D., Speech-Language Pathology
* Additional disciplines will be determined as needed

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.

Day of Week: To be scheduled as needed
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
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Neurodevelopmental Dyads

Donna Yerby, M.Ed., Education
Pete Duquette, Ph.D., Psychology

Neurodevelopmental evaluations are designed to link observable learning challenges with underlying neurodevelopmental functions: attention, language processing, visual processing, memory, problem-solving, and strategy use. A learning specialist and a psychologist provide targeted assessments and collaborate on an individualized learning plan based on the student’s neurodevelopmental profile of strengths and needs. An interpretive conference takes place on the day of the visit, followed by a comprehensive report. Follow-up consultation is available upon request.

Day of Week: Tuesdays
Times: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m
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Neurogenetic Disorders Clinic

Laura Politte, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Heather Hazlett, Ph.D., Psychology
Emily Kertcher, Ph.D., MOTR/L, Occupational Therapy
Debbie Reinhartsen, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathology
*Additional disciplines will be determined as needed

The Neurogenetics Disorders clinic is an interdisciplinary evaluation service for children, adolescents, and adults with genetic syndromes or documented chromosomal abnormalities associated with developmental disability (e.g., Fragile X Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome, 22q11 Deletion Syndrome, and others). Patients with Angelman Syndrome and Prader Willi Syndrome will most often be served by other clinics dedicated to those particular disorders. The clinical team provides assessment of cognitive strengths and weaknesses, neuropsychiatric symptoms, fine motor skills, sensory processing differences, and speech/ language concerns that may be part of a genetic disorder. Ongoing monitoring and consultation will be available for clinic patients if needed. Referral to geneticists, genetic counselors, educational consultants, and other medical specialists may be initiated as needed. At the end of the consultation session, a report will be provided along with assistance in identifying local resources.

Day of week: Wednesdays (1st of the month)
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
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Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic

Pete Duquette, Ph.D., Psychology
Heather Hazlett, Ph.D., Psychology

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.

Day of Week: Thursdays
Times: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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Postsecondary Education and Transition Clinic

Kylee Miller, Ph.D., Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow
Pete Duquette, Ph.D., Psychology
Donna Yerby, M.Ed., Education
Deb Zuver, M.A., Advocacy/Career Coach

Opportunities have expanded for young adults with developmental disabilities to continue their education and pursue careers. To meet their needs, the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities is offering an interdisciplinary evaluation that generates a profile of interests, strengths, skills, and needs, resulting in a plan for next steps.

Most young adults with developmental disabilities share the same goals as their peers: meaningful employment, social activities, independent living, and possibly continuing their education after high school. In recent years, new college options have become available for these students at universities and community colleges and internship opportunities are increasing.

The Postsecondary and Transition Clinic provides an individualized evaluation to develop a plan for young adults with developmental disabilities who have completed high school. The interdisciplinary team consisting of a learning specialist, psychologist, and advocacy/career coach will generate a personal profile and transition plan.

Day of Week: Tuesdays (usually 1-2/month)
Times: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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Prader Willi Syndrome Clinic

Pete Duquette Ph.D., Psychology
Margaret DeRamus, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language
Nutrition, Physical Therapy, Medicine, and Genetic Counseling from UNC Hospitals

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.

Day of Week: First Thursday every even
Times: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m
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Preschool Assessment, Consultation, and Training (PACT) Clinic

Pete Duquette, Ph.D., Psychology
Margaret DeRamus, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
* Additional disciplines will be determined as needed

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.

Day of week: 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
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Raising Special Kids Parenting Group

Sherry Mergner, MSW, LCSW
Ann Palmer

Raising Special Kids is an eight week program for parents of children who have received a diagnosis of a developmental disability within the last two years. These sessions offer insight and guidance for any parent facing the unfamiliar challenges of raising a child with autism, intellectual disability, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy or other developmental disability. This program is designed to assist families by connecting them with other families in their community, by providing perspective on their emotional experience that can lead to acceptance and empowerment, and by helping them understand the goals of healthy, conscious parenting. Activities will focus on:

• Helping parents experience the gifts that their child offers.
• Encouraging parents to practice self-care and appreciate all that they do for their child.
• Strengthening both the parent-child connection and the family as a whole.
• Improving family communication and developing skills to help children reach optimal potential.

Group facilitators, Sherry Mergner and Ann Palmer, will be using the “The Raising Special Kids” program developed by Jared D. Massanari and Alice E. Massanari.
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School Age Team

Medicine, Psychology, Audiology, Physical Therapy, Social Work, Speech and Language, Education, and Occupational Therapy

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.

Day of Week: Second and Fourth Wednesday of each month
Times: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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Social Skills Group Clinic

Gabriel S. Dichter, Ph.D., Psychology

The Social Skills Group Clinic is a recurring 8-week group-based social skills training program. The group runs once during the Fall (usually October & November), once during the Spring (usually March & April), and once during the summer (usually June & July). The class focuses on social cognition (understanding the intentions of others) and social skills (improving social behaviors) and relies on structured didactics, videos, and role-plays. The class is open to those with a formal diagnosis that impacts their social abilities (such as an autism spectrum disorder or ADHD) as well as to those simply wishing to improve their social skills. The group is geared towards older teenagers and young adults, and most participants are in high school. Because much of the class relies on back-and-forth between class members, participants must have sufficient verbal skills to be able to participate in a group setting. The group is co-led by Dr. Dichter and CIDD trainees, and there is a small research component to clinic as social skills measures are administered before and after treatment.

Day of Week: 8 consecutive Mondays
Times: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Click Here to view a brochure about the Social Skill Clinic.
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Social Smarts Camp

Margaret DeRamus, M.S., CCC-SLP
Deb Zuver, M.A., LMFT, RDT/BCT
Morgan Parlier, MSW, LCSW

A week long camp transforms a conference room 101 into a kid-friendly classroom for camp adventures. At Social Smarts camp, campers learned to use their social thinking tools (based on Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® model and using the The Incredible Flexible Youcurriculum) while on fun imaginary journeys to places like a farm and outer space. Campers learn about identifying their emotional states, or “zones" (based on the The Zones of Regulation), and strategies to move from one zone to another to self-regulate.
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Social Smarts Parent Education

Sherry Mergner, MSW, LCSW

“Strengthening Your Child’s Social Smarts: Strategies to Help Children with Social Cognitive Challenges” is a four week, two hour educational series is designed to empower parents to help their child learn to navigate the social world by working on and understanding the thinking behind social skills at home, at school and in the community. Based on Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® framework, which uses a cognitive behavioral approach, this program will provide parents with the tools to assist their child in understanding unwritten social rules, taking perspective of others and becoming more flexible in social situations. Winner's approach teaches kids the social cause and effect of "expected and unexpected" thinking and behavior (Winner, 2000) and how to use social smarts when dealing with life situations. The Social Smarts Education program gives parents an in depth overview of Social Thinking concepts, vocabulary, and strategies such as Social Behavioral Mapping and the Superflex® curriculum (Madrigal & Winner, 2008). The Superflex curriculum allows children to discover their own Superflexible social thinking superhero that then helps them defeat a motley crew of "Unthinkables" (social challenges represented in character form). This creative and innovative approach has proven to be effective both at home and at school and with a wide range of children who struggle with social cognitive challenges. This group is also open to teachers and other professionals who work with individuals with social cognitive challenges.
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