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Brief Clinic Description


The Civitan-Sparks Clinics have been providing services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for 50 years. Each individual will have customized team evaluations to address the areas of concern and provide recommendations for therapies, treatment, and activities that will help each person achieve their full potential and live a meaningful life.

Common and frequent concerns include questions about:

  • Communication delays
  • Developmental delays
  • Learning challenges
  • Specific school difficulties
  • Behavioral concerns such as attention deficits or hyperactivity
  • Autism
  • Physical concerns such as delayed motor skills, difficulty taking care of personal needs (feeding, bathing, dressing, etc.)
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Possible hearing loss
  • Health/medical issues like muscle concerns, seizures, cerebral palsy
  • Dental care needs
  • Primary pediatric care

Below is a list of some of the specialty clinics offered through the Civitan-Sparks Clinics. 

Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic

The Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic at UAB Civitan-Sparks Clinics began operation in September of 2001 as a collaboration with the UAB UAB Heersink School of Medicine. Children are evaluated by psychologists who have been trained in the administration and interpretation of gold-standard assessment instruments, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), as well as age-appropriate checklists to confirm or rule-out an ASD diagnosis.  Children from 1-16 years of age are evaluated in the context of an interdisciplinary evaluation.  A parent feedback session and a report summarizing assessment results, interpretation, and recommendations for home, school, and community environments are provided to the caregivers of the child following the evaluation.  The ASD Clinic also provides outpatient therapy and consultation, social skills groups, school-based consultation/independent evaluations, and community-based in-service trainings and presentations.

Audiology Clinic

Provides comprehensive hearing assessments and treatment for children, ages birth to 18 years old, specializing in those with developmental delays. We also serve adults with developmental delays through referrals from local group home facilities. Evaluations performed include:
• distortion product otoacoustic emissions
• behavioral audiometry
• auditory processing evaluations
• hearing aid evaluations and fittings
• community hearing screenings

We fit Oticon and Phonak hearing aids and Oticon Medical Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (softband only).

Behavioral Assessment Clinic

Specializes in the evaluation of behavioral, emotional, and adjustment disorders of childhood and adolescence that may be impeding optimal development. A particular emphasis is the assessment of Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Multiple sources of information are solicited and reviewed prior to a child's first visit (e.g., school and medical records, parent and teacher narrative reports of concerns, rating scales, etc.). Comprehensive recommendations and treatment plans are provided to families and primary care physicians. This clinic is staffed by a Child Clinical Psychologist. Follow-up services are available, including individual and family therapy, medication consultation, parent education groups, and social skills training. School consultation services may be available also.

Child Development Clinic

Specializes in evaluations of children, ages 3 and up who are experiencing a possible delay or set of delays. There is an effort to "tailor make" the schedules so that each child is seen by the therapists that can most benefit them. The Child Development Clinic uses an interdisciplinary approach utilizing therapists with expertise in many different areas.

Dental Clinic

Dentistry at the Sparks Clinics provides a wide range of services to the developmentally disabled population throughout Alabama and the surrounding states. Services include routine dental procedures (i.e., exams, cleaning, fluoride treatments, radiographs, restorations and simple extractions) and preventative dental counseling. We provide the majority of care here in our clinic and some special cases are treated in the operating room at The Children's Hospital of Alabama. We treat children and adults with a wide range of disabilities (i.e., intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, deaf, blind, and many other multihandicapping conditions). Dental services are provided by faculty and residents of the Pediatric Dentistry Program at the UAB School of Dentistry.

Infant and Toddler Clinic

Provides interdisciplinary diagnostic services for infants and toddlers and their families. Young children with developmental delays, health related concerns, concerns regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders, and/or significant developmental disabilities are often referred to this program.

Metabolic Clinic

Provides evaluation following diagnosis of infants, children, and some adults with PKU (phenylketonuria), galactosemia, and other rare inborn errors of metabolism. Offers medical, nutritional, and educational assistance to these individuals and their families.

Multiple Disabilities Clinic

Provides team evaluations and consultations for children, adolescents, and young adults who have multiple needs (including intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, sensory challenges) with a primary focus on working with individuals and families to develop recommendations and plans for addressing identified concerns and needs. In addition to center-based evaluations, individual team members may make home, school, and other community visits to address specific questions, such as classroom programming, enhancement of the individual education plan, accessibility, and strategies for ensuring meaningful inclusion in all settings.

Newborn Follow-Up Clinic (Myriam Peralta-Carcelen, MD)

The Newborn Follow-up Clinic is a regional multi-disciplinary developmental clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. Children qualify for this clinic if they were classified as extremely low birth weight (under 1,000 grams or 2 lbs. 3 oz), were born less than 29 weeks, had a severe congenital heart defect, had the procedure of ECMO, and other groups of children with high risk conditions.  They are typically referred to the clinic from various regional NICUs, including UAB Hospital and Children's of Alabama and pediatricians from around the state. The Newborn Follow-Up Clinic has been following groups of high-risk children since its inception in 1977.  The program assesses the progress of these children who have an increased likelihood for developmental problems that may appear gradually over the first few years of life.  Follow-up evaluations are done to identify problems in either physical growth or development.  In a typical clinic visit, the child will potentially see a developmental pediatrician, nurse practitioner, physical therapist, occupational therapist, audiologist, psychologist, optometrist and social worker.  The evaluations done at this clinic will involve "playing" with your child.  Evaluations will be done at each visit and will vary depending on the age of your child.  These evaluations may include tests of physical abilities, intelligence, vision, hearing or nutrition.  The clinic staff can be reached or a referral to the clinic can be made by calling the office number at 205.996.9222.  For more information, please click here.

Neurology Clinic/Rett Syndrome Research Program

The UAB Neurology Clinic for Rett Syndrome in the UAB Sparks-Civitan Clinics has been operational since 1992. The clinic provides comprehensive evaluations for children with or suspected of having Rett Syndrome. The clinic and its research activities are directed by Alan Percy, M.D., Director of Medical Research at the CIRC. Dr. Percy is an internationally recognized expert in the diagnosis and care of children with Rett Syndrome. The clinic has access to a full range of health professionals available within the Sparks Clinics and Children's of Alabama and participates in the multi-site Rare Diseases Clinical Research Center program. In addition, the neurology clinic includes a Behavioral Genetics clinic to provide comprehensive evaluations for individuals with Williams, Angelman, and Prader-Willi syndromes. Also, the neurology clinic is available to Sparks clinicians as a referral source for consultations.

Nutrition Clinic

Provides comprehensive nutrition assessment to evaluate growth and dietary habits in children and adolescents with and without developmental disabilities. Services focus on, but are not limited to, picky eaters, overweight/obesity, failure-to-thrive, growth problems, and inadequate intake due to poor appetite. Adults can also be seen to assess dietary habits in an effort to optimize nutritional status. Assessment results are used to develop recommendations to assist patients, their families and medical practitioners develop effective treatment plans.

Occupational Therapy Clinic

Sparks Clinics provides occupational therapy evaluations for children with physical, cognitive, adaptive, and social-emotional challenges. The goal of occupational therapy is for children to achieve their maximum potential for optimal participation in their occupations, which include self-care (dressing, feeding, bathing, etc), play, school participation, interaction with peers, etc. The occupational therapy evaluation may consist of structured testing, informal observation and/or a caregiver interview. Based on information gathered during the occupational therapy evaluation, occupational therapists develop interventions to facilitate optimal performance in childhood occupations.

Pediatric Communication Clinic (PCC)

Focuses on the comprehensive interdisciplinary assessment of specific speech/language concerns, hearing issues, and related psychosocial and service needs. Individuals seen through this clinic may have a range of speech/language and hearing disorders, including receptive and/or expressive language impairments, pragmatic language disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, sensorineural hearing impairments, and conductive hearing impairments (that may/may not be associated with various middle ear dysfunctions). The primary PCC team includes pediatric speech/language pathologists, pediatric audiologists, and pediatric social workers. At times, there are other diagnostic concerns which impact communication abilities (including those associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental delay, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, etc.). Depending on the needs of the individual and the family, other professionals may be involved in the team process, such as an educator, occupational therapist, registered dietician, clinical psychologist, etc. During the assessment process, families receive information about their child's strengths and needs, as well as available intervention and resources.

Social Skills Groups

Groups focusing on specific content areas will be conducted on a revolving basis, with the topics of the groups varying according to the age/developmental level of group participants and the identified needs of the individuals. The PEERS curriculum, which was developed at UCLA and has been supported as an evidence-based intervention, will be offered beginning Fall 2010.

Psychoeducational Clinic

Provides evaluations for school-aged children with learning and developmental concerns affecting academic performance. A primary function of PEC is to evaluate children suspected of having learning disorders or disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or a slower learning style. Cognitive functioning, academic achievement, language, hearing and vision are typically assessed. For children with significant language concerns, nonvocal or nonverbal cognitive assessment may be done in addition to traditional cognitive assessment or in place of it. Social/emotional, adaptive and motor development may be assessed also. Reading assessment using curriculum-based and criterion-referenced techniques is available for identifying instructional reading level, knowledge of sight-word vocabulary and for making specialized treatment recommendations (e.g., appropriate interventions for improving phonics skills, fluency interventions, and comprehension strategies).

Sparks Pediatrics

Sparks Pediatrics is a primary care pediatric practice providing comprehensive care for children of all abilities. Sparks Pediatrics provides well child care and sick appointments for all children. We strive to be a medical home for all children including those with special health care needs. We provide a team approach utilizing the expertise of pediatricians, nurse practitioners, nutritionists and other specialists. As one of the many clinics at the UAB Civitan-Sparks Center, we are able to provide on site referrals to a variety of specialized pediatric assessment and therapeutic services.

Special Education

The Special Education Evaluator at the Civitan-Sparks Clinics reviews the child's school records and meets with the caregiver to discuss educational concerns. The evaluator provides guidance in special education laws and parents' rights. The child's academic skills are assessed and appropriate educational goals are discussed. After meeting with our interdisciplinary team, the evaluator determines what, if any, school services the child may qualify for, and provides a written report with recommendations for the family and school.

Speech and Language Clinic

Provides evaluations for assessing communication skills in children who have or may be at risk for having developmental disabilities. Individuals seen through this clinic may have a range of speech/language concerns, including possible articulation and phonological disorders, difficulties with receptive and expressive language, and/or pragmatic language challenges. During the assessment process, families receive information about their child's strengths and needs, recommendations for services, and information about local resources.