Pediatric Developmental Disorders Clinic

Kennedy Krieger Institute • 720 Aliceanna Street, 2nd Floor • Baltimore, MD 21202


Nancy Grace, PhD

About Our Program:

The mission of this clinic is to provide consultation and intervention to caregivers of children with a wide variety of developmental disorders (e.g., pervasive development disorders spectrum, intellectual disabilities). Intervention focuses on empirically based approaches to behavior management and addresses both behavioral excesses (e.g., aggression, self-injury, tantrums ) and behavioral deficits (e.g., compliance, self-help skills, toileting). For children with language delays and behavior disorders, there is a strong emphasis on providing training to develop verbal behavior (vocal and/or sign language). Services are provided primarily to families and school staff. Sessions are conducted primarily in the clinic, but also take place in the school and the child's home, when indicated. Education of the caregivers is also considered an integral function of the clinic including provision of information pertaining to community resources, child development and special education.

The Pediatric Developmental Disabilities Clinic provides a range of behavioral services for children, adolescents and adults who are diagnosed or suspected of having broad-range developmental disorders. Behavior problems treated at this clinic include: self-injury (head-banging, biting, scratching); physical aggression (hitting, scratching, biting, spitting); disruptive behaviors (screaming, repetitive speech); noncompliance (not following directions, unable to stop an activity when told to stop); elopement (leaving the room or home without permission); property destruction; communication deficits; toileting and other self-care deficits; habit disorders (thumb-sucking, trichotillomania) and problems associated with concurrent mood and anxiety disorders.

The clinic also provides intensive, specialized services to pre-school age children with language delays and associated problematic behaviors (i.e., physical aggression, self-injury, property destruction, etc.) to target increasing basic communication skills and to decrease problematic behaviors.

Assessment and treatment involve active participation of the client, parents and/or other caregivers. Frequency of visits is determined to some extent by the type of behavior problem. Families usually have visits more frequently at the beginning of treatment and fewer visits as the behavior begins to improve. Short-term treatment for a specific behavior problem may involve four to eight sessions. More intensive intervention for ongoing behavior problems or for gradual acquisition of skills may involve a more frequent and lengthy course of treatment and maintenance.

This clinic emphasizes a behavioral approach to assessment and treatment, with an attempt to address the multiple factors that may affect the behavior (e.g., motivation for the behavior; psychosocial family stressors). Emphasis is placed on measurable success in attaining clinical goals, as defined through a collaborative process between clients, families and clinicians.

Services provided at the Pediatric Developmental Disabilities Clinic offices focus on identifying the environmental variables that motivate and maintain problematic behaviors. To promote more positive behaviors and decrease or eliminate problematic behaviors, treatment generally involves learning and using new skills and various behavioral programming strategies by parents, other caregivers and, in some cases, the client.

School-based assessment and intervention is provided as indicated. Assessment typically involves data-based, direct observation of the client in one or more school settings. In some cases, effective intervention is first developed in the clinic setting and then generalized to the school. An emphasis is always placed on working collaboratively with relevant school personnel and parents. Home-based services are available on a limited basis to facilitate the transfer of parent and client skills to the home setting. However, this service may vary based on staff availability.

The clinic emphasizes working with the client as part of a team. The "team" may include as few people as the client and his or her parents/caregivers, or it may extend to the use of interdisciplinary services from other providers as indicated, such as psychiatrists, pediatricians, social workers, educators, occupational therapists and others.

Primary Program Goals:

The clinic aims to provide a range of behavioral services for children, adolescents and adults diagnosed or suspected of having broad-range development disorders. To achieve its goals, the clinic focuses on identifying environmental variables that motivate and maintain problematic behaviors; it emphasizes a behavioral approach to assessment and treatment and it supports active participation of the client, parents and/or other caregivers.

Hours of Operation:

Monday - Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Fridays, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


To make a referral or request an initial evaluation:
Contact our Care Management Office
Toll-Free Referral: (888) 554-2080
Local Referral: (443) 923-9400

For follow-up appointments only:
Phone: (443) 923-7510

Related Materials and Information
Additional Diagnoses Served: 
Speech and language delay
Asperger's disorder
Intellectual Disabilities
Stereotypic Movement Disorder
Various genetic and chromosomal disorders
Bipolar disorder
Oppositional defiant disorder
Developmental disabilities