Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Stony Brook Medicine

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    Overview The intersection between a child's development, behavior, and emotional and physical health is the province of developmental and behavioral pediatrics. Is a baby extraordinarily fussy and difficult to comfort? Is a preschooler having "accidents" long past potty training? Does a grade schooler have difficulty focusing and paying attention in class? How is chronic illness affecting a young teen's readiness for high school?


    Any of these issues are a valid reason for consulting with your child's pediatrician. If concerns persist, or the pediatrician advises it, a consultation by a developmental and behavioral specialist may be in order. At Stony Brook Children's Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, we assist families and primary care physicians in the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of a broad range of developmental, behavioral, learning, and genetic disorders. In addition to providing clinical care and consultation, our team is actively involved in research and education, contributing significantly to local, regional, national, and international conversations addressing children's medical status, emotional health, development and behavior.

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    CONTACT US Stony Brook Technology Park
    37 Research Way
    East Setauket, NY 11733
    (631) 444-KIDS
    Fax (631) 444-6016



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    Our Team Our developmental and behavioral pediatrics team consists of three Developmental Pediatrics subspecialists and one psychologist. All four professionals collaborate with other specialists and subspecialists within our academic medical center to seek the best possible outcomes for each child. In addition, we work with child's family, school and other agencies to obtain the input necessary to address each patient's unique needs and problems.


    Janet Fischel, PhD – Division Chief
    Patricia Bigini-Quinn, MD
    Jaeah Chung, MD
    Alfred Scherzer, MD
    Michele Kelly, NP

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    Services We provide comprehensive care for:



    • Developmental delays and atypicalities

    • Behavior problems

    • Aggressive/acting out behavior

    • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    • School-related problems

    • Pain disorders (headache and stomachache)

    • Disorders of sleep (delayed onset and night wakening)

    • Disorders of elimination (soiling, bedwetting, etc.)


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    Patient Resources Within the developmental and behavioral pediatrics division, we assess each child's needs and challenges and work with the family to develop a care plan leading to developmental, behavioral and learning success. In addition to evaluation and clinical care consultations, we also can recommend therapies (physical, occupational, and speech), tutoring, and family support services such as those available through Stony Brook's Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

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    Research and Education Each member of the developmental and behavioral pediatrics team serves as an educator and a researcher as well as a clinician. The Division teaches medical students and residents enrolled in the Stony Brook University School of Medicine. Dr. Janet Fischel also serves as Vice Chair for Education for the Department of Pediatrics.


    Through research and publications, the team makes vital contributions to the body of knowledge within their field.



    • Dr. Janet Fischel's research interests include developmental language disorders, emergent literary skills, reading interventions, attention deficit disorders, and early interventions to enhance emergent literacy skills. Dr. Fischel works with the US Department of Education's Technical Work Group on After School Best Practices, consulting on academic and cognitive goals for after school programs. She also belongs to the technical group for ECLS-K:11—the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study from Kindergarten through Age 11, which seeks to define new pathways for skill development.

    • Dr. Denise Dixon's research interests include cytokines and their relationship to major life stress events. Her work involves psychoneuroimmunology; childhood developmental disorders; pediatric and adult obesity; psychosocial resilience and immunity in vulnerable and underrepresented populations; and behavioral management, stress responses and immunity in chronic illness and critical injury. Dr. Dixon has been Principal Investigator for several major National Institutes of Health-sponsored studies.

    • Dr. Alfred Scherzer has studied and written about dozens of pediatric developmental and behavioral topics, with a particular focus on cerebral palsies and neuromuscular issues. Throughout his career, he also has been interested in the implications of pediatric developmental issues worldwide, especially for children in developing countries. His paper, Experience in Cambodia with the Use of a Culturally Relevant Development Milestone Chart for Children in Low- and Middle-Income Countries appeared in the Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities in 2009. He has longstanding involvement with the development and training program for pediatricians at Angkor Hospital for children in Siem Reap, Cambodia.


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    Advances and Recognitions The behavioral and developmental division provides input and steering on wide-ranging issues affecting children's health, education and welfare nationally.


    Dr. Janet Fischel is one of nine members of the National Early Literacy Panel of the National Institute for Family Literacy. The panel's report, Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel, was published in 2008. Based on this report, the National Center for Family Literacy published an introductory teacher guide, What Works, for early language and literacy instruction, in 2009.


    Dr. Fischel was interviewed for an April 2010 news item in New York Parent on high-need babies:
    http://www.nymetroparents.com/newarticle.cfm?colid=23467

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    Definitions Psychoneuroimmunology - This refers to the study of the interaction between psychological processes and nervous and immune systems.



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