The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC
The Carolina Institute includes:


Who We Serve

UNC’s Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) dedicated to providing exemplary clinical services to individuals of all ages who have concerns about or are at risk for intellectual and developmental disabilities. Thus, our specialized clinics focus exclusively on disorders that affect cognitive, social, communication, motor, and adaptive skill development. The CIDD also specializes in serving individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who may have co-existing behavioral, mental health, or medical health needs. Individuals who have or are suspected of having intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, and/or genetic or medical conditions, which impact development, health, and independence would be appropriate referrals to the Institute.

Please note: Given the specialized nature of our services, there are limited appointment slots and many have lengthy waits. We do not accept referrals for individuals whose primary concerns are related to psychiatric (e.g., ADHD, depression), behavioral, or learning concerns (e.g., specific learning disorder) in the absence of known or suspected developmental disorders. In cases where a referral is made for a diagnostic evaluation, psychoeducational testing, or treatment when there is no indication of a potential developmental disorder, a more appropriate referral may be made.

Clinic Services

Our interdisciplinary faculty offer numerous clinical services designed to provide diagnostic clarification, consultation, as well as intervention and treatment planning for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Our evaluation services may include appointments with individual clinicians or an interdisciplinary team representing two or more of the following professional disciplines: Psychology, Speech-Language Pathology, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Audiology, Social Work, and Special Education. The composition of the team depends on referral needs. Click here to learn more about our clinic services.

What We Do:

• Evaluations to assess development or functioning levels for individuals when there are concerns about developmental delays/disabilities or a preexisting
    intellectual/developmental disorder
• Diagnostic evaluations to assess for possible neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism or intellectual disability
• Evaluations and consultation for individuals with neurogenetic disorders that affect development
• Offer consultation, psychiatric, psychotherapy and behavior support services to individuals with intellectual/developmental disorders
• Offer social skills groups to individuals with social communication difficulties

What We DON’T Do:

• Evaluations for ADHD (although we do offer psychiatric medication management services for ADHD), anxiety, or other diagnoses when there are no concerns regarding an intellectual or developmental disability
• Educational testing for a specific learning concern in the absence of intellectual/developmental disability concerns (referrals for standard psychoeducational
  evaluations should go through an individual’s school program first given that educational assessments are typically not covered by insurance)
• Offer treatment to individuals who do not have any concerns regarding an intellectual or developmental disability
• Offer acute care or crisis intervention services, or serve as a primary care provider
• Offer ongoing speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy (though we currently offer evaluation and consultation services for speech-
  language and physical therapy)

If you have questions about our services, intake process, or other referrals, please contact the CIDD Intake Team via email at

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The National CADDRE Study: Child Development and Autism

The Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology were established in 2001 to investigate causes and correlates of autism. The focus of the current funding cycle is to conduct a multi-site collaborative epidemiologic study to investigate risk and causal factors for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and phenotypic subgroups of ASDs using a population-based case-cohort study design. Six sites (California, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Georgia) will collaborate to enroll 2700 children and their families over the 5-year study period. Each site will include approximately 150 children with ASD, 150 with other neurodevelopmental disorders, and 150 general population controls to address specific hypotheses in six broad domains: 1) phenotypic variation in ASD; 2) gastrointestinal features that may be associated with ASD, 3) candidate genes and genetic variation among individuals with ASD. and how they interact with environmental risk factors, 4) potential for parental infection, immune function, and autoimmunity to be associated with increased ASD risk, 5) potential for parental hormonal and reproductive characteristics to be associated with increased ASD risk, and 6) potential for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors to be associated with increased ASD risk. To address these goals, this study will conduct developmental assessments on the children and collect extensive data on the pre- and perinatal health and environment of the children and their parents via interviews, medical record review, and the collection of biologic samples. CIDD faculty and trainees will work closely with the project to conduct the developmental assessments.

For more information, please contact: Rebecca Pretzel, Ph.D., Psychology

Learn more about how to contact for services with the CIDD.

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