Pediatric Rehabilitation

Section 1 was formed to provide organization and structure for pediatric rehabilitation psychologists who have constituted a small but significant portion of Division 22 members. Pediatric rehabilitation psychologists have organized in this way to:

  • Promote healthy child development in children with disabilities through direct psychological services, consultation, advocacy, education and research.

  • Provide a prominent voice for the rights of children with disabilities.

  • Identify and address key factors in the disablement of children.

By forming a section, pediatric rehabilitation psychologists obtain a more prominent forum, representation on the Division 22 Executive Board, and greater input into APA Annual Convention programming. In addition, section status provides a platform for developing collaborative activities with groups within other divisions including Divisions 40 and 54. This section also provides a monetary poster award each year for the best scientific poster presented at the annual Division 22 Mid-Winter Conference. Eligible posters are related to pediatric issues and first-authored by a student. Recent pediatric rehabilitation-related developments have included:

Increasing Focus on Issues of Inclusion In Education And The Community*

At this point, there is a significant literature that documents the stigma of disability in children but also the malleability of children's perceptions based on experience with peers with disability. There has been increasing involvement of consumers in developing community resource and advocacy services and Family-Centered Care has become a leading movement in health services for children. Inclusion issues also were highlighted in the recent Supreme Court milestone decision regarding provision of school-based services to a child with long-term mechanical ventilation (Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F., 1999). The Supreme Court ruled that students with disabilities are entitled to necessary "non-medical" services, irrespective of cost, under IDEA.

Advances In Rehabilitation-Related Research*

  • Generally increased rigor in the study of neuropsychological recovery from TBI.

  • The importance of family context on behavioral and cognitive outcomes from brain injury.

  • Burgeoning interest in pharmacological treatment of cognitive impairments associated with TBI with recent focus on pediatric TBI.

  • Increasingly effective pharmacological and other types of intervention for spasticity that appear to have significant effects on aspects of cognition and functional communication.

*Healthcare news: There is recent precedent in Tucson, Arizona for neuropsychological evaluations being covered under the medical benefits portion of health care insurance. CIGNA and United HealthCare in collaboration with rehabilitation psychologists, neuropsychologists, and legal consultation have developed a local contract in which no pre-authorization is required. Pediatricians and other physicians can directly refer for neuropsychological evaluations without going through the mental health gate-keeping system. Billing is done using CPT codes 96115 (Neurobehavioral Status Exam) and 96117 (Neuropsychological Testing). Clients pay the service provider the medical co-pay, and the insurer pays the rest on an hourly basis at Medicare rates.


Christensen, J., & Pidcock, F. (2009). Special issue: Acquired central nervous system injuries. Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 15, 91-166.

Farmer, J. E., Donders, J., & Warschausky, S. (2005). Treating neurodevelopmental disabilities: Clinical research and practice. New York: Guilford Publications.

Farmer, J. E., Kanne, S. M., Grisson, M. O., & Kemp, S. (2009). Pediatric neuropsychology in medical rehabilitation settings. In R. G. Frank, M. Rosenthal, & B. Caplan (Eds.), Handbook of rehabilitation psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Hunter, S. J., & Donders, J. (2007). Pediatric neuropsychological intervention. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wade, S. L., & Walz, N., C. (2009). Family, school, and community: Their role in the rehabilitation of children. In In R. G. Frank, M. Rosenthal, & B. Caplan (Eds.), Handbook of rehabilitation psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Wagner, J., Hommel, K. A., Mullins, L. L., & Chaney, J. M. (2009). Rehabilitation in pediatric chronic illness: Juvenile rheumatic diseases as an exemplar. In R. G. Frank, M. Rosenthal, & B. Caplan (Eds.), Handbook of rehabilitation psychology (2nd ed.).Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Warschausky, S., & Kaufman, J. (2009). Neurodevelopmental conditions in children. In R. G. Frank, M. Rosenthal, & B. Caplan (Eds.), Handbook of rehabilitation psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Ylvisaker, M. (1998). Traumatic brain injury rehabilitation: Children and adolescents (2nd ed.). Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.


President: Rebecca Wallace, PsyD
OU Children's Hospital and The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital
Oklahoma City and Bethany, OK

Immediate Past President: Carol Rosen, PhD
NYU - Rusk Rehabilitation
New York, NY

Membership Secretary: Christopher Rackley, PsyD
Independent Practice
Florida, USA

Student/Trainee Liaison: Anita Vitale, PhD
Postdoctoral Psychology Resident
OU Children's Hospital
Oklahoma City, OK

Pediatric Rehabilitation Resources

Student Google Group

Request access to this group in order to connect with fellow students and early career professionals interested in Pediatric Rehabilitation Psychology!