The JUDY Center for Down Syndrome
The JUDY Center for Down Syndrome is a consultative service to families, the community, and other pediatric healthcare professionals at The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. The center is dedicated to the management of the complex health care needs of its patients. Our team of healthcare professionals utilizes a comprehensive range of services to maximize the quality and lives of our patients. We care for individuals with Down syndrome through young adulthood at any age, and partner with the community, schools, and other agencies to promote the best health outcomes. While our focus is on Down syndrome, individuals with other lifelong illnesses can also be helped.
The initial consultation and admission process generally takes approximately two to three hours and may involve two separate visits. Follow-up visits are usually shorter. Information derived from these visits is provided to the family and the individual’s physicians. The JUDY Center follows the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Down Syndrome Society. With the consent of the individual or family, our healthcare professionals can meet with other agencies and health professionals to discuss the treatment and care of our mutual clients.
The JUDY Center has ongoing programs open to the community that involve healthcare professionals in Child Life Services, educational sessions for families managing Down syndrome, and outreach to medical professionals.
Some of the services we provide are:
Medical services to manage specific problems associated with Down syndrome
Individual and family counseling aimed at enhancing coping and adaptation
Outpatient parent support groups
Referrals to community resources to ensure continuity of care throughout the lifespan
Educational services that help families have smooth transitions along the educational pathway
Recreation, wellness, and sports services that encompass a spectrum of activities ranging from recreational activities to wellness exercise programs
Special services that include speech-language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiological enhancements, and others
Long-term planning services that provide an advocacy support system to assist families with projected long-term needs
The core of the team is made up of a receptionist and licensed social worker and a pediatrician. The Judy Center often enlists the help of the myriad of pediatric services offered at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital.
Fred Hirschenfang, M.D., Medical Director