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Clara’s story

Born 99 days premature, 19-month-old Clara spent her first five months in our Newborn Critical Care Center, earning her the loving nickname "Grandma." As mom, Courtney, reflects, the journey's ups and downs have taught the family a priceless lesson about living in the moment.

A team approach to care.

Special Infant Care Clinic

If your baby is at high risk for developmental problems, find extra care and attention at UNC Children’s Special Infant Care Clinic. You’ll receive services designed to complement the regular, ongoing care provided by your pediatrician, so your child can grow and develop to his or her fullest potential.

High-Risk Care

High-Risk Infant Follow-Up Care

Children scheduled into the Special Infant Care Clinic are referred to us when they leave a neonatal intensive care unit based upon their risk for developmental delay. We see Newborn Critical Care Center graduates, as well as babies and toddlers from other hospitals throughout North Carolina upon referral by their community health provider.

Your child may benefit from our program if s/he has been diagnosed with a condition that indicates an increased risk of developmental problems, such as:

  • Prematurity (born at a gestational age of 29 weeks or earlier)
  • Very low birth weight or severe in-utero growth restriction (your baby’s body is smaller than it should be for its age)
  • Neurological conditions such as seizures or hydrocephalus
  • Genetic syndromes associated with neurodevelopmental delays
  • Congenital infections such as cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Congenital anomalies (also called birth defects) such as complex congenital heart disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Breathing problems, including chronic lung disease and conditions that required treatment with nitric oxide, high frequency oscillator ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) during the NCCC stay, or if your child was discharged home on oxygen or with a tracheostomy.
  • Feeding difficulties or a condition that required feeding tube insertion
  • GI conditions such as short bowel syndrome

One-Stop-Shop

One-Stop-Shop Multidisciplinary Care

We’ll make the most of your time at UNC Medical Center. You may see several Special Infant Care Clinic providers in the same visit. Your team includes:

  • Physicians, including board-certified neonatologists and a developmental pediatrician
  • Nurse practitioners with expertise in newborns and infants – Assist with conducting assessments, developing care plans, providing education and coordinating care
  • Social workers – Provide emotional support and connect you with community resources
  • Physical therapists – Assist your child with strength, balance and coordination
  • Occupational therapists – Help your child gain skills to perform everyday activities like regulating state, socializing and using hands to explore the environment
  • Speech pathologists – Help your child develop communication skills and safe feeding skills; and
  • Dietitians – Address nutrition or feeding concerns

Consultations with specialists from other areas are available as needed.

What to Expect

Your First Appointment: What to Expect

Most babies first visit us when they are 6 months adjusted age. (Adjusted age is the age of your baby based on his or her due date. If your baby is 5 months old, but born two months early, his adjusted age is 3 months.) Very high-risk infants may need to see us earlier.

During your appointment, you and your baby will meet multiple specialists. They’ll assess your child’s needs and talk with you about any concerns you have. The visit may include evaluations of your baby’s:

  • Physical growth and nutrition
  • Neuromuscular function, including posture, strength and motor skills
  • Social interaction skills
  • Language development
  • Hearing and vision
  • Family and community support

You and your baby will remain together throughout the appointment. Plan on 90 minutes for your first visit.

Early Intervention for Maximum Growth

We’ll discuss the results of your baby’s evaluations with you at your first appointment. Then we’ll create an individualized care plan, which we will share with your pediatrician. Your plan may include advice or help with feeding, information to support your child’s growth and development, or referrals to early invention programs, therapy services or pediatric specialists.

Appointments will automatically be scheduled for your child if they are referred to us. The number and frequency of your follow-up visits will depend on your child’s health and development.

Contact Us

If your child is a patient of the Special Infant Care Clinic and you have questions, call us at 984-974-3476.

Visitor Restrictions

Beginning November 14th, children age 11 and younger currently are not permitted in the Newborn Critical Care Center, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at UNC Hospitals. Read more >>

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