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Doctor examines teenaged girl

Spina Bifida Transition Program

Doctor examines teenaged girl

For all teenagers, the transition from childhood to adulthood is full of many changes. For teens with spina bifida, these changes can feel more challenging as you move from pediatric to adult healthcare, from the school environment to the workforce, and from your parent’s house to living on your own. The Spina Bifida Transition Program is here to help make this transition as smooth as possible.

Our Providers

Our pediatric specialists provide personalized care for your child’s physical, mental and emotional health needs.

Contact Information

For more information about our Spina Bifida Transition Program, email us or call 202-476-7762.

Choosing the Spina Bifida Transition Program

The Spina Bifida Transition Program at Children’s National helps teenagers and young adults navigate the transition from pediatric to adult care - assuming responsibility for their own health needs. This program helps ensure that patients receive age-appropriate healthcare, develop essential health management skills, and formulate plans for independent living, further education and sustained employment. While transitioning varies based on the individual patient's needs, transition to adult care can occur between the ages of 13 and 22.

Am I ready to move on to adult spina bifida care?

It is never too early to start thinking about transition because preparation leads to success. Your team will work with you to create goals for independence and self-management gradually. The questions below can help you figure out if you are ready for transition soon. If the answer to any of these questions is "no," talk to your transition team for help.


  • Can I explain what spina bifida is?
  • Do I know what type of spina bifida I have?
  • Do I know all of my medication names and doses?
  • Do I know what all of my medications are for and what they do?
  • Do I know all of my allergies?
  • Do I know all of the surgeries that I have had?
  • Can I understand my bowel and bladder plans?
  • Do I know about serious complications of spina bifida if I do not take my medications or perform my bowel or bladder plan?
  • Do I know what is considered an emergency related to spina bifida and what to do?
  • Do I know how to use a thermometer and what to do if I have fever?
  • Can I answer my doctor’s questions during my clinic visits?
  • Can I ask questions during my medical appointments?
  • Do I know how to schedule a medical appointment?
  • Can I keep track of my medical appointments using a calendar?
  • Can I get to my medical appointments?
  • Do I know how to get my prescriptions filled?
  • Do I have a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?
  • Do I plan to graduate from high school/vocational school or obtain a GED?
  • Have I been thinking about the kind of career I would like as an adult?
  • Have I talked to my school counselor or a teacher about my educational/career goals and what I need to do to reach those goals?
  • Have I talked with my parents about my vision for my future?
  • Do I know what kind of medical insurance I have?
  • Do I carry my own copy of my health insurance card?
  • Do I have a good support system of family and/or friends?

How do young adults prepare to transition to adult spina bifida care?

Led by the co-directors of the Spina Bifida ProgramBriony Kate Varda, M.D., MPHa,D and Christina Pham Ho, M.D.,  along with Celicia Little DNP, APRN, and Nicole Allentuck RN, BSN, our program helps you prepare to transition to adult care.

Should colorectal and gynecological transition support be required, our team also partners with pediatric and adult-trained colorectal surgeon, Erin Teeple, M.D., and adolescent gynecologist, Allison Mayhew, M.D.

Our plan to prepare you for the move to adult care includes:

  • Helping you understand your condition
  • Teaching you to answer and ask questions at your medical appointments
  • Making your own medical decisions
  • Making your medicines independently
  • Collaborating with other transition programs within Children’s National’s health system
  • Helping you find an adult provider
  • Sending medical records on your behalf and providing you and your family with a copy of your records
  • Talking about any special needs with the adult provider
  • Helping you find community resources and other sub-specialty care, if needed


Transition Support Videos

This video playlist, made by the American Academy of Pediatrics, contains helpful resources and tips for pediatric spina bifida patients transitioning to adult care.