Special Needs Kids

When Dr. O’Donovan first opened the practice over 50 years ago, he made a commitment to serving ALL children in Dundalk and the neighboring community, including those with complex medical and behavioral conditions.  Dr. O’Donovan is truly one-of-a-kind. He would have sick patients come to his home rather than send them to the emergency room. Standing on his front porch, he would give an epinephrine shot to a child having an allergic reaction or a severe asthma attack.  Dr. O’Donovan accepted ALL children in the community, independent of their parent’s ability to pay for his services. Many of our current providers were drawn to Dundalk Pediatrics because of its reputation and commitment to caring for children with special health care needs. Some providers have had diverse experiences of serving kids in the school system, caring for children in foster care, and caring for high-risk newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit.  Other providers have had personal and family experiences with asthma, food allergies, mood issues, and ADHD and can speak first-hand to the challenges of managing those chronic conditions.

Our providers and care team have collaborative relationships with pediatric sub-specialists at the major medical institutions in the area (Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical System, and Sinai Hospital).  We often discuss care plans, goals of treatment and therapy with these sub-specialists. As primary care providers, we often relay information from the family to the subspecialist and can help with referrals and follow-up appointments.

Some of the conditions and disorders that our providers see are:

  • Premature infants
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Autism
  • Developmental delays
  • Chromosomal disorders
  • Neurological disorders (epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and chronic headaches)
  • Asthma
  • Allergies (food and environmental)
  • Nutritional disorders (obesity and failure to thrive)
  • Endocrine disorders (thyroid disease, puberty disorders)
  • ADHD/ADD
  • Learning disorders
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Gynecological disorders (irregular, heavy, and painful menses)
  • Sleep disturbances

We recognize that families of children with special health needs can experience tremendous stress and may need extra support from time-to-time.  Our care team includes two parent partners, who themselves have children with special health needs.  They provide direct one-on-one support to families so that they can connect with appropriate resources in the community.  Our parent partners are aware of disability services, funding opportunities, educational accommodations, and guardianship processes for which many of our patients are eligible.  

We recognize that many families in our practice may experience “life challenges” from time to time.  Some families have lapses in insurance, periods of food insecurity, fears of domestic violence, fears of homelessness, and other tough circumstances.  Our staff has compiled a list of appropriate community resources and we welcome families to ask us for help when they are struggling. If we don’t have an answer, we will work together to find an answer.