• Programs and Services

    The Thomas Center for Down Syndrome Services provides comprehensive assessment and treatment plans for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. By providing a range of services within one center, you can now spend less time finding help through multiple agencies and professionals. We provide your family with a full continuum of care, from evaluation, treatment and ongoing research.

    Evaluation

    The center offers assessments by experts in a variety of areas including:

    • Developmental-behavioral pediatrics
    • Nutrition
    • Occupational therapy
    • Physical therapy
    • Psychology
    • Special education
    • Speech-language pathology
    • Social work

    The evaluations provide information on current levels of functioning and recommendations for new or continued intervention. We can order laboratory studies or make referrals to other medical specialists (which may include ENT, ophthalmology, genetics, cardiology, endocrinology, and neurology) within Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

    There are several types of evaluations at the Thomas Center, each aimed at understanding your child’s specific strengths and challenges.

  • We coordinate two-hour visits with a team of staff to accommodate the young children and their family. A team visit involves the developmental-behavioral pediatrician, nurse, social worker, dietitian, occupational therapist, and physical therapist and speech-language pathologist. This visit type allows for maximal information to be assessed taking into account the needs of the child. Early milestones including feeding, moving, and talking are addressed. Recommendations are provided at the end of the visit.

    Learn more about what to expect at this visit.

    We coordinate concurrent evaluations of the child with different staff over the course of a morning. The child and the family meet with the developmental-behavioral pediatrician, nurse, social worker, occupational therapist, physical therapist and speech-language pathologist. Our dietitian and special educator are available as necessary to meet with you during this visit. The family returns in approximately 4 weeks to receive reports and for a review of recommendations.

    Referrals for cognitive or academic testing, or other treatment programs, are then scheduled as necessary.

    Learn more about what to expect at this visit.

    Individual appointments are scheduled with our advanced practitioner nurse specializing in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. Referrals for additional individual evaluations (academic, cognitive, occupational, physical, speech) or treatment programs (behavior, education supports, occupational, physical, speech) are then scheduled as necessary.

    Transition planning to adult medical care and services are facilitated as appropriate for the age of the child. Information regarding SSI, guardianship, Developmental Disability Services, and the waiver system is provided. Referrals for supporting evaluations are made as necessary.

    Learn more about what to expect at this visit.

  • Treatment Programs

    Our staff is available to work with children and their families, as well as professionals and agencies in the community, to maximize the potential for all individuals with Down syndrome. We provide consultation, direct intervention and group treatment in the areas of speech and language, behavior management, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and feeding / nutrition.

  • Some children with Down syndrome need augmentative and alternative communication (AC) when they are physically unable to produce speech or are very difficult to understand. The Thomas Center offers specialty evaluations for AC and treatment with a variety of AC methods. AC can be high-tech, such as a computer that is programmed to talk for the child. AC can also be low-tech by using simple pictures, sign language, or a device that plays recorded messages. A speech-language pathologist with a specialty in AC will assist in the selection of the AC device that best fits the need of the child. Parent training and device programming is also available.
    We work with parents and caregivers in treatment sessions to provide individualized support to manage behavioral concerns.
    As appropriate, our speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist will work with your child in one appointment to address both communication and fine motor skill development. These appointments may be beneficial in addressing sensory-communication needs, endurance to tolerate structured therapy activities, and feeding treatment. Co-treatments with speech-language pathologists and physical therapists are also available.
    We understand that school can be challenging. Our educational support services include special education consultation, diagnostic evaluation, school observation, IEP and curriculum support, and participation in school team meetings. These services are offered free of charge to families using, or who have used within the last two years, other services offered through the Thomas Center. This is to ensure your child’s health care is up-to-date and is not contributing to other concerns such as school behavior. 
    Our occupational therapists will work with your child to help master independence in self-care skills, fine and gross motor skills, school readiness skills, play and leisure skills, community participation and to address sensory processing deficits that may interfere with daily activities.
    Our physical therapist will work with your child to help master gross motor skills of rolling, sitting, creeping/crawling, standing/cruising, walking, running, and balance and coordination. We are also able to assist in obtaining necessary equipment such as walkers and braces.
    Our psychologist will provide support and treat individuals with Down syndrome for a variety of general mental health conditions.
    Our child-centered groups address a variety of age and skill levels.
  • Research

    The Thomas Center aims to stimulate and support clinically relevant research related to Down syndrome. This research is conducted in collaboration with other divisions throughout Cincinnati Children’s. The Emily Ann Hayes Down Syndrome Research Fund, established in 1996, stimulates and supports these research goals.