NICU Development Clinic

Expert Care for Your Growing Baby

At the NICU Development Clinic of Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, we care about the long-term success of your baby and are here to help keep them on track for a healthy and happy childhood. That’s why our relationship doesn’t end when your baby leaves the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

After your baby comes home, it’s our goal to help safeguard the development of your little one. We’ve found that babies who needed NICU care are at a higher risk to experience developmental and/or growth delays.

By assessing your child and noting any delays or potential barriers to development, we can take the right measures early on to set your baby on a healthy and happy course for life.

How We Work

During your visit, your child will be seen by a nurse practitioner and a team of therapists who will assess your child’s growth and overall development. As part of their assessment, the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development will be performed to determine if there are any delays or concerns with your child’s development.

Motor Skills

Our clinicians will observe your child’s fine and gross motor abilities. We will test your child’s ability to use hands and eyes together to coordinate reaching and grasping for toys during play (fine motor skills) and how they utilize large muscles to move their body when rolling, sitting, crawling and walking (gross motor skills).

Speech and Language Skills

Our team will look at your child’s language skills, including how your child listens and understands language, responds to sounds (receptive language) and is able to communicate (expressive language). Receptive abilities include how your child responds to a person’s voice, distinguishes between sounds and responds to words or requests. Expressive abilities may include babbling, talking, naming objects, answering questions, making sentences of multiple words and communicating needs or wants through gestures.

Cognitive Skills

We also will assess your child’s ability to recognize and explore certain toys, as well as how they engage in pretend play, problem solving and memory tests.

What to Expect

While every baby takes their own unique path of growing and developing, we have found that it’s helpful for parents of babies who have spent time in the NICU to recognize that their child may mature at a different rate.

Most timelines for growth and development are based on the assumption that the child was born on or around the due date. However, research shows that babies born prematurely are best measured according to their adjusted age until the age of 2. To determine this, we take your baby’s age and subtract the number of weeks they were born prematurely. For example, if your baby is five months old (20 weeks), but was born two months prematurely (8 weeks), then their adjusted age is three months (12 weeks).

Explaining Your Visits

Your child’s first visit will be scheduled after they have been discharged from the hospital. Subsequent visits tend to take place every 6 months.

Visits typically last from 60 to 90 minutes. This enables our team to perform a comprehensive assessment, then provide you with immediate test results and recommendations.

During your visit:

  • We conduct a full physical examination and history, including your child’s medical history, any recent illnesses and medications. Your child’s physical and neuromotor skills, along with vital signs, also will be thoroughly examined at this time.
  • We will measure your child’s physical growth and discuss ways to optimize nutrition to meet your child’s needs.
  • Our clinicians will determine if your child would benefit from therapy.
  • To offer your child the best care, we send a copy of their results to your child’s pediatrician.
  • Should you need any additional services, we can identify which specialists would best serve the needs of your child and provide appropriate referrals.

Meet the Team

Your child’s assessment team may include:

  • Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP): Your visit starts with the nurse practitioner, who will measure your child’s growth and overall development. The ARNP collaborates with the doctors and therapists who help evaluate and treat your child.

  • Occupational Therapist: An occupational therapist will evaluate and facilitate your child’s independence in the “occupations” of their daily life. For an infant or young child, this includes reaching and grasping for play, core strength, feeding, and skills that require their eyes and hands to work together.

  • Physical Therapist: The physical therapist will evaluate and provide intervention to give a child the skill, ability and confidence to move and explore their environment. Physical therapists analyze the strength, movement and coordination needed to participate in developmental skills.

  • Speech Therapist: A speech therapist will assess and provide a diagnostic impression of the child’s communication abilities, including cognitive, speech and language skills. Speech therapists provide interventions to stimulate speech and language development, improving the child’s ability to interact and communicate in the natural environment.

Patient Parking

Please note that parking can be found to the right of the front of our building. A parking pass will be provided.

50 Sturtevant St.
Orlando, FL 32806

More parking is available in the parking garage located next to Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children at:

92 W. Miller St.
Orlando, FL 32806

Referral Information

Pediatricians with a patient who needs to be evaluated by the clinic can call (321) 841-8532 or fax a referral to (321) 841-6451.


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