With assistance from The Valerie Fund, our psychosocial team provides a wide range of services to support children and their families with oncological and hematological conditions.
Children and families coping with medical conditions often benefit from the expertise of a clinical psychologist trained in treating with pediatric medical conditions. Our patients are identified by their medical teams when they have emotional or behavioral needs that could benefit from psychological treatment. Referrals to our clinical psychologist include patients with a range of concerns from adjusting to new diagnoses and treatment, low mood, anxiety, medication adherence difficulties, and behavioral issues.
The first time patients and their families meets with the clinical psychologist, a psychodiagnostic assessment is done. This is an evaluation of the presenting problem, medical background, medical adherence, mood, behavior, developmental history, familial mental health history, and mental status. Treatment recommendations and goals are established and shared with the patient, family, and medical teams, and comprehensive reports are written in the medical record.
Following the first visit, our clinical psychologist meets with patients and their families for therapy sessions. Mood, behavior, treatment adherence, and the presenting problem are monitored during sessions, and therapy is provided. Therapeutic modalities include empirically-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), parent management training (PMT), and motivational interviewing (MI), as well as support for patients at end of life.
A child’s main “job” is to attend school, thus our education liaison is vital to ensuring that our patients continue to make developmental gains similar to that of their healthy peers. She meets with families and helps them navigate education needs ranging from Early Childhood Intervention, to school-based accommodations, to applying for college scholarships, and everything in between. She works closely with patients, families, medical team members, and schools. This includes attending school meetings, setting up homebound education services, establishing 504 accommodations or Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), coordinating neuropsychological evaluations, and working closely with our New York Department of Education clinic and hospital-based teachers.
Some of our patients are either new to the New York area, or develop new educational needs due to their medical conditions that cannot be met in their former schools, thus our education liaison helps them identify appropriate schools and enroll in them.
Children with medical conditions are typically entitled to accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and our education liaison ensures they have all the services they need based on their diagnosis, treatment, and late effects, to meet their full academic potential. She reviews patient report cards, progress reports, and evaluations, and then works with families and schools to set-up medical 504 plans or Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). She also partners with educational attorneys to advocate for services when necessary.
Children with medical conditions can experience cognitive difficulties associated with their illness or its treatment. Neuropsychological evaluations are evaluations of a child’s neurocognitive strengths and deficits. Through neuropsychological evaluations, our patients, families, medical team, and psychosocial team are better equipped to support the patient’s learning needs. This leads to informed school recommendations regarding accommodations, school placements, and career choices.
Evaluations are typically multi-day and include parent interviews, testing, and feedback sessions attended by our education liaison, where recommendations for education supports are made.
Our Child Life specialists help our patients understand each step of their treatment. Using a doll, we may show a child what a port (a line into the body that allows doctors deliver medicine easily) is and explain where radiation will be delivered. Often they accompany children to the operating room, offering gentle reassurance.
Our Child Life Program maintains a playroom and activities area in the hospital, and encourages children to express themselves through art, music, and writing.
Our Social Workers assist families with insurance and travel issues, including small grants to defray the cost of food and parking. They also provide supportive counseling and link families to organizations like Hope and Heroes, and Make a Wish, and additional resources offered by The Valerie Fund.
To request psychosocial services, please speak with your treatment team, or call our main clinic number at 212-305-9770 and request the service you are interested in.
To request Psychosocial Services, please speak with your treatment team, or call our main clinic number at 212-305-9770 and request the service you are interested in.