What to Expect at Your Child’s Neonatal Follow-up Program Visit
Your child’s first visit to the Neonatal Follow-up Program typically occurs within two to three months of discharge from the hospital. The number and frequency of your child’s appointments will depend on their specific needs. The typical schedule, though, includes visits at 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months. Some sites within our network are able to continue monitoring your child until age 5 if needed.
For children born prematurely, visits are scheduled according to the child’s “corrected” age. For example, if your child was born at 28 weeks gestation (three months early), their first visit with the Neonatal Follow-up Program may be when they are 6 months old in chronologic age, but 3 months old in corrected age.
The length of your child’s visit will depend on their age and the health issues that need to be addressed. For infants 6 months and younger, visits generally last about an hour. For older babies and children, appointments typically last two to three hours.
Each appointment is tailored to your child’s healthcare concerns and developmental needs. Most Neonatal Follow-up Program appointments include:
- A complete physical examination and history. This will include review of your child’s medical history and recent illnesses, medications, physical and neuromotor evaluation, and vital signs.
- Early childhood psychological or developmental assessments for early identification of developmental concerns, including autism.
- Growth checks and nutritional counseling.
- Evaluation of need for services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy.
- Assessment of your family’s needs and assistance in accessing available resources.
- An opportunity to answer questions and concerns about your child’s health, development or behavior.
- Coordination of care with your child’s pediatrician and other healthcare providers.
- Referral support to identify physicians, home care services, therapists and education programs in your community.
Results of your child’s evaluation will be discussed with you at each appointment. Your child’s team will also make sure you understand the next steps to take in order to maximize your child’s health and development. This may include referrals to appropriate specialists or services to help manage your child’s specific medical or developmental needs. It will also include steps that you can do at home. We will update your child’s pediatrician about our findings and plans for next steps.