The Yale Child Study Center is committed to the healthy development and psychological well-being of children and families across the developmental lifespan. We see children of all ages, from birth through young adulthood, as well as new parents and families. Because we care about prevention as well as intervention, many families contact us for support during times of upheaval that may impact their child’s development.
Most concerns fall into three overlapping categories: Feelings and thoughts upsetting to the individual, developmental delays, and behavioral challenges disruptive to others.
Anxiety, fears or worries that interfere with day-to-day life
Depression or persistent and severe sadness, hopelessness, or loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
Being the target of bullying
Altered eating patterns or disrupted sleep
Obsessive compulsive disorder or intrusive thoughts and compulsions
Tic disorders (for example, Tourette’s syndrome), involuntary movements or actions that are disruptive to the person
Seeing or hearing things that other people do not
Difficulty adjusting to significant life events such as a move, divorce, death of a loved one, remarriage and blending families, and many more.
Delayed development in motor and learning skills
Difficulties with social function
Autism spectrum disorders
Aggression and anger
Oppositional or acting-out behaviors
Mutism (selective or total)
Hyperactivity, impulsivity, or problems with attention
Bullying (either the perpetrator or the target)
Extreme rigidity, controlling behaviors
How We Help
Assessment and Evaluation
We use many approaches to evaluate all areas of a child’s development. Many of our evaluations are multidisciplinary. They generally include two categories: tests and tasks observed and scored by experts, and detailed histories encompassing medical, developmental, school and family information.
All evaluations result in some form of recommendations. These may range from implementation of school supports to participation in specific therapeutic interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or even parent-centered interventions.
Examples of assessments and evaluations:
Standardized cognitive assessments
Detailed interviews sometimes through play with children
Interviews with parents and other family members
Treatment for Children and Youth
Our philosophy is that all treatment of children should involve parents and families. Research and professional experience show that full participation by the family and child leads to the greatest improvements.
Child and family-centered services: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child Parent Psychotherapy, Habit Reversal Therapy, Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention, psychodynamic psychotherapy, family therapy, social skills groups, group therapy, non-directive play therapy, mindfulness, and more.
School-based advocacy¬: As part of the evaluation or if you choose to have your child and family participate in treatment with us, we may consult with your child’s school and teachers. We may meet with teachers, guidance counselors, and others to better understand your child and to help develop individual education plans (IEPs) or to provide support for the classroom teachers on the challenges your child is facing.
In-home services: Our team may recommend a treatment where services are provided in the home. We offer several in-home services tailored specifically to the needs of children and families.
Prepare For Your Visit
Many parents ask how to prepare for their first appointment. The information below may help answer those questions. Please call us prior to the appointment with any other questions.
For you: Please bring past records, including previous evaluations, and any other important information relating to your child and family.
For your child: It’s a good idea to talk with your child about the visit and offer reassurance that we are there to listen to him or her. Here are some suggestions for discussing the visit.
To a young child you might say: We brought you here because ___. (For example: we want to help you safely express your big feelings like being mad; I know it’s been hard to move from mommy’s house and you may have some big feelings about missing mommy and having all these changes.)
To a school-age child, you might say: Just like you go to see your doctor if your tummy or ear hurts, children see special people, called therapists, when they have big feelings like feeling mad, sad, scared or worried. But, therapists don’t ever give shots! They use talking and playing to help children with these big feelings. And they help mommies and daddies too!
The general idea is to help children understand that it is fine to play and talk about challenging things. They are not here because they are "bad" or "in trouble," but rather because some things are challenging and we are going to wonder together about how to help everyone feel a bit better.