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Integrated Center for Child Development (ICCD)

We are a multi-disciplinary center offering neurological, behavioral, medical, occupational, speech, counseling and educational assessments in Boston and the greater New England area. ICCD also offers consultation, and treatment options outside our clinics to schools, medical centers and individuals nationally or internationally.


Dear parents, caregivers, and family members of our patients,

By this point you have likely received a number of email messages reminding you of how to behave and prepare in this new world of contagion. Washing our hands, coughing in our elbows, and trying to maintain social distancing have been properly ingrained in our minds and psyches by now. We at ICCD have enacted and adhered to these standards, as have all responsible environments, while still caring for our patients who need services. We have increased our cleaning protocols with professional services and scheduled staff disinfecting procedures throughout each day. To the extent possible, we have transitioned all feasible services to Telehealth models and asked our families to limit the number of members that are brought to appointments. Our administrative staff has been asked to fulfill their duties remotely in an effort to minimize contact. These are a few of many procedural changes implemented to ensure that we can continue to serve our families in the most responsible way possible. However, because those useful directives to remain healthy represent a well-trodden space, we wanted to communicate with you a different perspective in this difficult period for your family.
The children whom we serve at ICCD, those with developmental, genetic, neurological or significant learning challenges represent approximately five percent of the population, an eerie coincidence with the number of individuals that will be most severely impacted by COVID-19. For the other 95%, this period will be manageable; for the rest of the child population this hiatus in what is normal will be difficult but tolerable. This is not always so for our most affected children and their families. Without minimizing the challenge that this poses for us all, for them this in an unimaginable disruption that cannot be easily explained because often they do not have the capacity to grasp it. We are aware of the difficulty that you will face in the days to come and had hoped to give you another set of principles to live by while maintaining your physical health.
Tenderness – As we protect our children and each other from social exposure to others, our capacities and emotions as parents and caregivers are bound to be tested to their limits. At those limits, we should invoke tenderness above all. The customary drive and passion that we try to instill in our children so that they can overcome their challenges do help us at other times, but those traits move at the speed of life; tenderness instead slows down life to the very instant in which is delivered. In this regard, I think of the most affected of our children, the ones that I lovingly refer to as our “walking angels”. They will miss the routines of their schools and programs the most, and their reaction will likely result in trying behaviors.  For both their parents and siblings, sheltering in place will include assisting with those highly fatiguing moments, but let tenderness reign in your responses.
Patience – As for the other suggestions to be offered for this unusual time, I am calling for the broader sense of the word. I am calling for the “good patience”. Not the one that is ordinary as when we wait in line for our turn to be helped; I am referring to the kind of patience that allows us to see the challenges of others and sit with them in the moment. I am reminded when I think of this patience of moments when somebody in our lives has passed on. In the hours and days that follow, our experience of the world seems to magically slow down and one can observe how everything else still moves at the same speed as always, but, for a brief time, we are able to extract more of the beauty of the scenes that pass in front of us. Regrettably, a return to our routine robs us of that wonderful perspective. The days ahead will call for a “forced” assumption of such an experiential stance in which patience and all the good consequences that come from it should guide our actions. Our children will protest, perseverate, and act out as a result of the upheaval that surrounds us. At those times and from afar, we wish to arm you with the good patience.
Community – Realizing the possible counterintuitive nature of this part of our advice with all efforts focused on social distancing, we would insist that there is still a community for all of us out there to think about. Among the many difficult actions that I have personally experienced this week, it was to be able connect personally with all of my colleagues and employees that I view as the silver lining of this very trying time. In one of those conversations, I experienced the difficult trade-offs and complexities that this crisis brings for all of us. One of our clinicians who had selected to continue to see her more needy patients, who by the nature of their significant challenges would not be amenable to telehealth, could in turn not see her mother who just finished chemo. For now, she found solace in Facetiming her, but the pain of her challenging choices was palpable. During this time, make sure your child receives or makes a phone or Facetime to a classmate, friend, cousin or grandparent.  Search for your level of community, act on it, and treasure it. Your voice will carry six feet and further, and so will your solidarity.
Hope – While a return to full normality seems presently a long way away, it is our responsibility to inject hope in the daily lives of the children. As adults, we know that as frightening and unprecedented this is, “this too shall pass”. Letting them know that as a society, we have overcome obstacles such as this one and larger, and that there will be a new day where their schools, friends and activities are once again what will surround them. Use the opportunity to let them know that one day they will be able to use their gifts to be the ones in the front lines of solving challenging problems like this one. Speak with joy about that eventual horizon and let them be nourished by positive yearning. But even when this tragedy is long gone, encourage them also to not fully forget it, and ask them to remember the principles that guided us through it.
So, as you wash your hands or cough in your elbow in the days to come, remember to also say to yourself: Tenderness, Patience, Community and Hope.

All of us at ICCD wish you and your family health and serenity.

Integrated Center for Child Development

Expanding late Spring 2020 to East Providence

20 Catamore Boulevard,
East Providence, Rhode Island, 02914