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Children’s National has some of the world’s foremost experts in care for children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders affecting the brain and central nervous system. Because we care exclusively for children, our specialists also understand how these conditions influence cognitive and neurological development in a child or teen that is still growing.

Neurodevelopmental conditions and traumatic brain injuries can affect how a child thinks, learns and behaves, and a treatment plan involves a multidisciplinary approach. Our care team includes specialists from various fields who work with you to develop a unique care plan for your child. We also consult with our colleagues in other divisions at Children’s National, and professionals and clinicians throughout the nation. Conditions we care for include:

• Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
• Autism and autism spectrum disorders
• Brain tumors
• Concussion/traumatic brain injury
• Epilepsy
• Hydrocephalus
• Learning disabilities
• Neurofibromatosis
• Sickle cell disease
• Stroke

Evaluation Services
The neuropsychology team can diagnose and treat children and teens with a known or suspected dysfunction of the brain. Each year, more than 1,000 children and teens are evaluated by our experts in the Neuropsychology Outpatient Evaluation Program.

Our Executive Function Clinic assesses children with particular behavioral and emotional difficulties that interfere with performance and social interactions. An assessment and evaluation are usually completed within a day. We use the results to develop practical recommendations for helping the child overcome these difficulties.

Children’s is Changing Care for Kids
Division Chief Gerard Gioia, PhD, is a world-renowned expert in traumatic brain injuries, and his research has influenced the way mild traumatic brain injuries in children are treated.

An example of how our work is impacting care, Dr. Gioia helped launch the SCORE Program to help parents, coaches, and the medical community, recognize a potential concussion and know what to do when a concussion is suspected. It is one of the only programs in the greater Washington, DC, area that specializes in the evaluation and management of concussions in children and teens.

We also are helping to improve quality of life for young patients with an autism spectrum disorder. Patients and their families have access to additional resources and support through the division’s Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD).

Professional Training Programs

The Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center offers extensive professional training opportunities. We work with graduate student externs, pre-doctoral interns and postdoctoral fellows to train the next generation of pediatric neuropsychologists. We offer programs such as:

• Clinical Externships in Assessment Pediatric Neuropsychology
• Clinical Externships in Evaluation, Consultation and Treatment
• Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuropsychology
• Psychology Externships Brochure 2013 - 2014 (PDF)
• Other training opportunities

Research at Children’s National
The Children’s Research Institute is located on the top floors of the hospital. This makes the translation of research to practice easier and enables doctors and medical professionals to provide the most advanced care possible.

To learn more about enrolling your child in a clinical trial, speak with your child’s physician. Current studies include the following:

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Research in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Integrating brain imaging and genetic analysis of ADHD

  • This is a collaborative study with Dr. Chandan Vaidya at Georgetown University to examine neuroimaging and genetic factors in children with ADHD, combined type.
  • Laura Kenealy, PhD, Principal Investigator; Gerard Gioia, PhD, Co-Investigator
  • Funding: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Neurobiologic origins and Innovative treatments of autism

  • This is a multi-center collaborative study with Georgetown University and the Kennedy Krieger Institute to examine the neurocognitive underpinnings and neuroimaging data in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
  • Lauren Kenworthy, PhD, Co-Investigator; Dr. Angela Bollich (Co-Investigator), Dr. Joette James (Co-Investigator)
  • Funding: NIH/National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


Research in Epilepsy
Plasticity of language in epilepsy

  • The overarching goal of this study is to demonstrate that localization related epilepsy causes reorganization of language function in children during periods critical for language development.
  • Madison Berl, PhD, Co-Investigator; Gerard Gioia, PhD; Co-Investigator
  • Funding: NIH, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


Research in Neurofibromatosis
Early identification of cognitive deficits in children with Neurofibromatosis Type 1

  • This study will longitudinally follow children with NF1 from infancy through early childhood to identify neurocognitive deficits.
  • Karin Walsh, PhD, Marla Shapiro, PhD, Co-Investigators
  • Funding: Department of Defense (DOD)

Traumatic Brain Injury

Research in Brain Injury and Recovery
Outcome measurement of mild traumatic brain injury in children and adolescents

  • This is a collaborative study with the University of Pittsburgh Sports Concussion Program and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Its main goal is to develop a psychometrically-sound test battery for children to detect and monitor the neurocognitive and behavioral outcome of mild traumatic brain injury.
  • Gerard Gioia, PhD, Principal Investigator
  • Funding: Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
  • Additional Funding Sources: USA Hockey Foundation Child Health Center Board
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging in children with mild traumatic brain injury
  • This study explores the functional neuro-anatomy and microscopic white matter changes in children with mild traumatic brain injury
  • Lauren Krivitzky, PhD, Principal Investigator; Gerard Gioia, PhD, Co-Investigator
  • Funding: Children’s Research Institute RAC Grant, Medstar Intramural Award

Urea Cycle Disorders

Research in Urea Cycle Disorders
Rare Diseases Clinical Research Center--Urea Cycle Disorders

  • This multi-center study will investigate the longitudinal neurocognitive effects of Urea Cycle Disorders and follow changes in cognition in affected children over time.
  • Lauren Krivitzky, PhD, Co-Investigator
  • Funding: NIH

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