Developmental Outcomes Program


Knowing that your baby has a congenital heart condition before they are born can be an overwhelming experience. Thanks to advances in the care of patients with critical heart disease the majority of newborns and children born with these complex conditions now receive treatment early in life and thrive. However, these children have been found to be at greater risk for developmental, learning and/or behavior problems later in life. These issues are often subtle and not easy to recognize at an early age.

At Texas Children’s Hospital, we are committed the best for both the hearts and the minds of your baby. We first evaluate your baby’s brain in fetal life, by use of both obstetric ultrasound and fetal echocardiography to examine the brain anatomy and blood flow to the brain. You also have the opportunity to meet with our prenatal genetics team, who can help facilitate any genetic testing that may help us better understand neurodevelopmental risks for you child.  

Every quarter we offer a class for pregnant families prenatally diagnosed with congenital heart disease, Preparing for Your Newborn's Hospitalization. In addition to providing your family detailed information about the upcoming hospitalization, we discuss techniques for coping with stress that may arise, and how to support one another.

Our hope for this class is that we can provide information to empower families, and therefore help improve family stress levels both before and after birth. It is known that maternal stress, depression, and anxiety in pregnancy can adversely affect neurodevelopmental outcomes for the child, and our aim is minimize these as much as possible with this class and our fetal cardiology visits.

Once your child is born, the Cardiac Developmental Outcomes Program at Texas Children’s Heart Center provides regular neurodevelopmental assessments and referrals for children who have undergone cardiac procedures during the early stages of life.  Our multidisciplinary team will monitor your child¹s brain function and development before, during, and after their heart surgery. This begins before your child is born and extends to their teenage years

With neurodevelopmental evaluations beginning in infancy and continuing throughout childhood, developmental, behavioral and learning issues can often be recognized at their earliest stages, at a time when intervention can make a difference in a child’s developmental progress.

The program provides family-centered care, where the child’s parents or caregivers are directly involved in the child’s assessment and interventions for developmental progress. We also help families find resources that support their child’s development in their local communities.

The Cardiac Developmental Outcomes Program is committed to enhancing children’s opportunities in life by focusing on medical, developmental and social health in order to help them reach their maximum potential.

To refer a patient with heart disease for a developmental evaluation, please call 832-826-5979.

Providers And Services

Sonia Monteiro, M.D.
Lisa Pham, D.O.
Sherry Vinson, M.D.

Developmental Pediatricians

  • Comprehensive and longitudinal neurodevelopmental assessments
  • Extensive medical history and review of medical records
  • Physical and neurological examinations
  • Referral for appropriate medical, early intervention, special education and therapeutic services, as indicated

Lisa Noll, Ph.D.

  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Recommendations for developmental, emotional and/or educational planning

Estrella Thomas
Clinic Coordinator

The class Preparing for Your Newborn's Hospitalization at Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women is designed exclusively for parents whose babies have received a prenatal diagnosis and will be hospitalized in intensive care after birth.

Texas Children’s Heart Center