The Penn State Health Children’s Hospital Approach to Developmental Pediatric Care

Our team of experienced providers are here to evaluate children with suspected autism, learning, speech-language and attention problems.

Team Approach

Every child has different needs when they are experiencing behavioral or developmental concerns. At Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, we understand it takes a team trained in diagnosing and caring for your child. Your child benefits from the combined experience of our multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurse practitioner, nurse care manager, education specialists, speech therapist and support staff.

Patient-centered Care

Our dedicated team of pediatric behavior and development experts will listen to your goals for your child and create a treatment plan designed to meet your child’s specific needs. We understand that no two children are alike, and believe each therapy plan should be personalized to help your child reach their potential.

Matches Found

Our Experts in Pediatric Behavior and Developmental Care

The experts at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are committed to providing our pediatric patients with comprehensive and multidisciplinary care.

Refer a patient

We want to make it easy for physicians to refer a patient to Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, get a consult, request a transfer and access your patients’ records.

To refer a patient with suspected autism, learning, speech-language or attention problems:

  • Call 717-531-5880 to start the referral process.
  • Fax office notes pertaining to the referral to 717-531-0221.
  • We will then send the family a packet with questions for the parent/guardian and the child’s preschool/daycare/school to complete.
  • If the referral is accepted, a provider will be assigned and the family will be put on a waiting list for an appointment. New patients are typically scheduled within four to five months.
  • If the referral is not accepted, we will notify the referring office and recommend the child be seen by a different service.

Pediatric Behavior and Development Support Staff

Todd Gorshe, MEd

Education Specialist

Todd Gorshe

Brandon Henken, CCC/SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Brandon Henken, speech-language pathologist

Lori Norris

Administrative Assistant

Lori Norris, Administrative Assistant

Julie Vallati, LPN

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Julie Vallati, LPN

Renee Yale

Pediatric Psychometrics, Reading Specialist

Renee Yale

Why Choose Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for Pediatric Behavior and Development

While we do not see children primarily for behavioral concerns, we do address behavioral problems that accompany other diagnoses. We specialize in autism, attention deficit disorder, sleep disorders, learning problems and developmental delays in the division of Pediatric Developmental Medicine.

Penn State Health provides only the best for your child. We are committed to providing only the highest quality treatment and support, focusing on the unique needs of your child - physical and emotional.

Nationally Recognized Care

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital is routinely ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation due to our focus on patient care, safety and research.

Developing Your Child’s Potential

When you recognize delays or behavior issues in your child, you want a care team that offers advanced evaluations and treatment options. At Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, our team is experienced in early diagnosis, which can lead to better treatment and improved outcomes. We want to make sure your child has every change to live his or her best life.

Conditions Treated

Penn State Health Development and Behavior specialists provide care for many issues including:

  • Attention problems
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Behavior problems that accompany developmental disorders
  • Global developmental delay
  • Intellectual disability (when a child learns slowly and has trouble learning important life skills, such as self-care, social skills and personal safety skills)
  • Learning and school problems
  • Medication management of problems associated with autism and attention deficit disorder
  • Speech and language disorders

Patient Education and Resources

Books

ADHD

  • ADHD, What Every Parent Needs to Know, 3rd Edition by Mark L. Wolraich, MD, FAAP and Joseph F. Hagan Jr, MD, FAAP

Autism/ASD

  • A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive by Geraldine Dawson, et. al. This book offers practical problem solving ideas, real-life stories, and useful strategies to help children with AS interact more comfortably with siblings and peers, and understand the rules of appropriate behavior.
  • Asperger's Huh?: A Child's Perspective by Rosina Schnurr. This book is geared towards children ages 6-12 and is written from the perspective of an 11-year-old child.
  • Asperger Syndrome: An Owner's Manual - What You, Your Parents and Your Teachers Need to Know: An Interactive Guide and Workbook by Ellen Korin. This interactive workbook provides opportunities for self-reflection and insight into the ways that Asperger Syndrome may be affecting the child's life in different ways.
  • Asperger's - What Does It Mean To Me?: Structured Teaching Ideas for Home and School by Catherine Faherty. This workbook has sections for children, parents and teachers. The book will provide insight into your child's mind, and make him or her more self-aware, learning what autism means in relation to crucial areas of life: friendships, fears, abilities and much more.
  • Asperger Syndrome Books for Parents - A Guide to Asperger Syndrome by Christopher Gillberg. This book provides an informative overview of autism. It’s meant for all kinds of readers, including those affected, their families, and clinicians working with children, adolescents, and adults with Asperger Syndrome.
  • Asperger Syndrome by Sarah Sparrow. This book covers the clinical and research aspects of Asperger Syndrome.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder, 2nd Edition by Alan I Rosenblatt, MD, FAAP and Paul S. Carbone, MD, FAAP
  • Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian by John Elder Robison. A very positive book by a man with AS.
  • Cats Have Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann. This picture book with captions is heartwarming, has a nice message and is easy for young children to understand. It is not intended to be a technical guide to autism.
  • Different Like Me by Jennifer Elder. This book is about famous people with AS.
  • Freaks, Geeks, And Asperger Syndrome by Luke Jackson. This consumer-oriented narrative is written by a 13-year-old-boy with Asperger Syndrome. Draws upon personal experiences and family members to inform the general public about living the adolescent years with this condition.
  • Getting the Best for Your Child with Autism by Bryna Siegel, PhD. This easy to read book has nice practical information for families raising a child with autism.
  • Turn Autism Around by Mary Lynch Barbera, PhD, R.N., BCBA-D

Anxiety

  • Freeing your Child from Anxiety: Powerful Practical Solutions to Overcome your Child's Fears, Worries and Phobias by Tamar E. Chansky
  • The Anxiety Cure for Kids, 2nd Edition by Elizabeth DuPont Spencer, MSW, Robert L. DuPont, MD and Caroline M. DuPont, MD
  • What to do When you Worry Too Much: A Kids Guide to Overcoming Anxiety: What do to Guides for Kids by Dawn Heubner and Bonnie Matthews,
  • Worried No More: Help and Hope for Anxious Children, 2nd edition by Aureen Pinto Wagner, PhD

Behavior

  • 1-2-3 Magic by Dr. Thomas Phelan
  • Applied Behavior Analysis by Albert J. Kearney
  • Early Intervention Every Day,by Merle J. Crawford and Barbara Weber
  • Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare
  • How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk by Adele Faber
  • Interoception The Eighth Sensory System by Kelly Mahler, MS, OTR/L
  • Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay and Charles Fay, PhD
  • SOS: Help for Parents by Lynn Clark
  • The ADD Answer Book by Susan Ashley
  • The Explosive Child by Ross Greene, PhD
  • The Explosive Child Is Trying to Tell You by Douglas A. Riley, EdD
  • Treating Eating Problems by K. Williams
  • Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis, 2nd Edition by Albert J. Kearney

Apraxia

  • Speaking of Apraxia by Leslie A. Lindsay, RN, BSN
  • The Late Talker by M. Agin

Sleep

  • Sleep What Every Parent Needs to Know by Rachel Y. Moon, MD, FAAP

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

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Childhood Apraxia Support Group

Share stories and concerns with other parents whose children have been diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech. The group meets quarterly at Penn State Health...

Share stories and concerns with other parents whose children have been diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech. The group meets quarterly at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital room P1100 from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 717-531-6807.

View All Support Groups

Our Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

Find a Location Near You