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Child Study Center

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.

Who We Help

Thoughts and Feelings

  • 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.

Developmental Delays

  • Delayed development in motor and learning skills
  • Language delays
  • Difficulties with social function
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Down’s syndrome

Behavioral Challenges

  • Aggression and anger
  • Oppositional or acting-out behaviors
  • Mutism (selective or total)
  • School avoidance
  • 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:

  • Psychological assessments
  • Standardized cognitive assessments
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Intelligence testing
  • Detailed interviews sometimes through play with children
  • School observations
  • Behavioral observations
  • 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.
  • Parent-centered services: Parent Management Training, Parent Support, Circle of Security© parenting, Parent Child Interaction Therapy, Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE). We also have a Parent and Family Development Program that provides a range of services for adults seeking help in their own development as parents.
  • 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.

Learn more about how you can help the Child Study Center.