From the day your baby is born, you want the right level of follow-up healthcare to monitor his/her growth and development. All babies admitted at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital are screened to determine whether they are at risk for any developmental delays.
Although every child is unique, your baby’s follow-up care typically goes in one of three directions:
- Routine infant follow-up care. Families with healthy babies take their children to their primary care physician or pediatrician to monitor normal growth and development.
- Specialized follow-up care. Some infants have special needs that warrant immediate follow-up care. Specialists in Developmental Pediatrics follow children with known genetic or developmental conditions and/or feeding difficulties to get them on the right path. These infants need special follow-up care early in life and perhaps all through childhood.
- High-risk follow-up care. Some babies have medical conditions or environmental circumstances that put them at a higher risk for developmental delays. Some factors that may increase a child’s risk for developmental delays are very premature birth, extremely low birth weight, congenital heart disease, neurologic conditions and gastrointestinal conditions, abdominal wall defects, brain conditions and injuries, and significant infections such as meningitis. These babies need to be closely monitored during their early development.
Who We Serve
Our Newborn Follow-up Program is designed to monitor children in the third group—those who need high-risk follow-up care. Babies in this group have an elevated risk for developmental delays. Although many develop and grow without any problems, other high-risk babies may benefit from early intervention when they fall behind in some part of their early development. The purpose of our program is to help families track developmental milestones, identify concerns as early as possible and refer children for appropriate services.
How Newborn Follow-up Care Works
We make it easy for families to enroll and participate in the Newborn Follow-up Program, which provides as many benefits for parents as it does for babies. Eligible families are contacted when their baby is discharged from the hospital. If you decide to participate, we stay connected with you during the first two years of your child’s life by your choice of phone, mail or email. Every four to six months, we gather feedback from you through a series of questionnaires about your baby’s developmental milestones.
- The first questionnaire arrives when your baby is 2 or 3 months old.
- Each questionnaire asks straightforward developmental questions such as “Does your baby smile when you talk to her?” and “When laying on his tummy, can your child hold his head up for several seconds?”
- After each completed questionnaire, a member of our team contacts you to discuss the results and answer any questions you may have about your baby’s development. We may also recommend activities you can do at home to encourage your baby’s development.
This pattern continues every four to six months for two years. If we identify any developmental concerns during that time, we guide you to an appropriate resource for follow-up services. Our recommendations are based on the feedback you give and conversations we have with you.
At the end of the program, every family can bring their child to Riley at IU Health for a free evaluation with our multidisciplinary team of specialists. This includes a thorough exam of your child’s cognitive abilities, language development and motor skills, as well as screening for autism, cerebral palsy and behavioral and sleep problems.
What Families and Infants Get
Members of our team include a physician, a psychologist, three social workers and two family liaisons. To provide the best care to you and your child, one person from our team becomes a primary contact who supports your family over the first two years.
Our primary goals are to:
- Develop a positive relationship with your family and your child
- Provide information that can help you keep a close eye on your child’s development—and identify when your child may be falling behind on an area of development
- Encourage interaction between parents or caregivers and their babies for optimal development
- Resolve uncertainty about your child’s development due to mixed messages or comparisons with other children—which often fail to consider your child’s unique situation
- Serve as a sounding board for parents who may have questions or concerns
- Direct your child to the appropriate level of care at the right time
If your child needs a referral, we recommend services that are specifically tailored to your child’s needs, which could involve many related professions, including medical specialists, audiologists & speech therapists, physical & occupational therapists, nutritionists or nurses. Some families benefit from a referral to First Steps, an Indiana program that helps meet the developmental needs of toddlers and infants through a range of services.
Conditions & Services
Our pediatric specialists provide patient- and family-centered care for most related conditions. The links below provide more specific information about some, but not all, of the conditions that we treat.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
Program Forms & Resources
Program Forms & Resources
The Newborn Follow-up Program at Riley at IU Health provides the following forms for parents, healthcare providers and personnel. We have also curated relevant resources from other websites and provided links with brief descriptions of the information that is available.
We provide multispecialty care for a number of conditions. Below are links to our related departments.
For Health Professionals
Refer A Patient
Riley at IU Health works with referring physicians in Indiana and beyond.
Researchers at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the Indiana University School of Medicine are leaders in large-scale studies that explore causes and treatments for developmental disorders and delays that are related to other conditions such as congenital heart disease and cancer. Ask your physician if you would like to know more about clinical trials that may be of interest to your family, or visit the Indiana Clinical Trials and Translational Institute to search for related studies.
Riley at IU Health and the Indiana University School of Medicine work together to help Indiana’s physicians and interdisciplinary healthcare professionals improve skills that benefit children with known or suspected developmental delays, behavior or learning problems. We offer workshops, conferences and training that prepare these professionals to lend a high level of competence to diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care—a battery of skills that may be necessary all through a child’s life. This includes a fellowship program for pediatricians in Child Development and Developmental Pediatrics and residencies in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.