Pediatric Services

Adolescent Addiction Psychiatry

Most people who struggle with addiction begin using substances in adolescence. Addiction experts with the Adolescent Dual Diagnosis Clinic at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health help families through this difficult time with innovative, evidence-based treatments targeted to teens. IU Health Neuroscience is one of the few sites in the country, and the only provider in Indiana, with a comprehensive cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)-based program for adolescent addictions. CBT is an individually delivered psychotherapy that seeks to change unproductive thought patterns and undesired behaviors by helping teens learn about their addictions, including what triggers drug and alcohol abuse, and how to cope with these triggers.

In addition to clinically treating substance-use disorders in teens, our specialists use functional MRI, or brain mapping, to research the adolescent brain as it relates to developing addictions. With funding from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA), researchers collect brain scans and saliva from 10- to 14-year-olds and follow them as they age to track drug and alcohol use. Doctors hope to use these genetic and brain patterns to help predict and prevent substance abuse in at-risk youth. Research into effective family therapies for adolescents with substance-use disorders is also underway.

HANDS in autism- Expertise in the Community

As pioneers in autism treatment, the experts at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health play an important role in ensuring families and individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD) receive the support they need in their own communities. The HANDS in Autism Program and Resource Center was established in 2004 to extend the expertise of the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and improve the education of students with special needs. Today, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), the HANDS in Autism Program provides free training and resources to school staff, community organizations and caregivers across the state. HANDS in Autism is one of only six IDOE-sponsored Indiana Resource Network centers and the only one focused on autism.

Through community-based workshops, hands-on sessions and online learning, HANDS in Autism provides research-based training to help schools and communities provide academic and behavioral support to students with ASD. HANDS in Autism also provides parents of children with ASD community-based support and resources. Using the latest research, the knowledgeable experts at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health equip individuals, families and schools with a range of tools to support the growth and development of individuals with ASD.

Pediatric Psychology Testing Clinic

The Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic conducts in-depth psychological testing of intelligence, memory, attention, academic, behavior, and personality functioning in children, adolescents and young adults. The most common diagnoses evaluated in the clinic are attention deficit disorders and learning disorders, dyslexia, pervasive developmental disorders, and disorders of executive functioning.


All tests are directly supervised by a pediatric psychologist with more than 20 years of testing experience with children with medical, learning and behavioral disorders. The clinic houses one of the most extensive and modern sets of cognitive and personality tests in the region.

Testing Breakthroughs

The IU Health Pediatric Psychology Testing Clinic has developed and presented new tests for measuring attention problems, learning disorders, emotional outbursts and behavior during hospitalization. These innovative measures are now used at other testing centers throughout the country.

Riley Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics and Consultation/Liaison Service

Riley Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinics offer evaluation, assessments, and behavioral and medical treatments for a wide range of emotional and behavioral disorders of children and teens. Care is available from child and adolescent psychiatrists, child psychologists, social workers and counselors. Both general and specialty clinical care is offered at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and our north side office at the Meridian Crossing facility.

Children diagnosed with a medical illness often face difficult issues as they adjust to long-term diagnoses, complicated medical treatments and the need to be in the hospital for long periods of time. They may also be affected by school absences due to hospitalizations and restrictions on activities because of health problems. When a child is physically ill, parents often have feelings of helplessness and stress as they try to balance the demands of their child’s medical treatment with other responsibilities, such as caring for siblings, work obligations and their own health issues. The experienced IU Health team of experts provides comprehensive psychiatric services to medically ill children and their families during their stay.

Pediatric Mood Disorders

The Pediatric Mood Disorders Clinic at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health treats children ages 3-18 with suspected mood disorder symptoms. Mood disorders are less common in children than adults, but symptoms typically first appear in late adolescence to early adulthood. Early recognition and treatment is essential, as mood-related problems can become more severe and more difficult to treat over time.

Most children are seen by of the region’s top experts in interpersonal pediatric therapy (IPT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for mood disorders. IPT is a form of short-term psychotherapy in which a therapist helps the child focus on his social development and evaluate his interaction with others. Some children are also referred for longer-term psychodynamic psychotherapy. This approach uses self-reflection to focus on the psychological roots of a child’s emotional suffering, often unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships.

Many children and adolescents also benefit from medications administered either in our clinic or through one of our clinical trials. Our highly skilled doctors specialize in treating children who have depression and bipolar disorder but have failed to respond to treatment elsewhere.

Pediatric Obesity

Lifestyle changes, including modification of eating and activity habits, are the key to obesity intervention in children and adolescents. The Pediatric Obesity Education and Research program (POWER) unites the skills of many different healthcare specialists in caring for children and their families as they work to make these lifestyle changes. The POWER team includes pediatric and psychiatric faculty, as well as nurses, dieticians and physical therapists. The team is committed to providing evidence-based intervention to families, as well as to educating the next generation of healthcare providers in pediatric obesity intervention.

Pediatric Psych-Oncology

The Pediatric Oncology Behavioral Clinic (POB) is a unique program designed to provide a wide range of psychiatric, psychological and support services to children with cancer and their families. The clinic is run by a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist and a licensed clinical child psychologist, both of whom have expertise in treating the special needs of children with cancer and blood disorders. As a leading-edge center, we provide the most innovative and evidence-based treatment options for these patients.