Developmental-behavioral paediatricians evaluate, counsel, and provide treatment for children, adolescents, and their families with a wide range of developmental and behavioral difficulties. They guide families about questions related to their child's development, suggest appropriate therapies and interventions when needed, regularly monitor a child's progress, and help families cope better overall with their child's developmental disability.
Common concerns are:
- Delayed development in speech, language, motor skills, and thinking ability
- Autism spectrum Disorder
- Intellectual disability
- Down syndrome
- Learning disorders and other school-related learning problems
- Attention and behavioral disorders including ADHD
- Difficulties in Sleep, feeding, toilet training, and discipline difficulties
- Developmental difficulties in cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairments
- Behavioral difficulties
A developmental-behavioral paediatrician will focus more on the developmental and behavioral aspects of children with other concerns as well. For instance, children with recurrent seizures or epilepsy may have associated delays in their development. While the paediatric neurologist will manage the seizures and neurological aspects, the developmental aspects related to understanding, language, motor, and social skills, academic issues come under the purview of developmental paediatrics. Similarly, children with chronic conditions may have associated developmental concerns, in which case consultation with a developmental paediatrician is always helpful.
Developmental paediatricians are adept at handling concerns and questions about overall parenting as well- especially if parents have concerns about children who are shy, clingy, or not very social to aggressive and non-compliant on the other hand.
What does a developmental-paediatric assessment look like?
The developmental assessment usually has 3 components-
(a)A detailed developmental history
(b)Observation of the child during the session- both informally and during structured tasks
(c)Discussion of diagnosis/ progress and way forward, including any tests, strategies for home and appropriate therapies.
How to prepare for a developmental paediatric assessment?
When you book a Developmental paediatric (DP) consultation, you are encouraged to do the following things:
1.Both parents are encouraged to come. If not possible, the parent who can provide the most information about the child should be present for the meeting.
2.If you have a young child or a child with severe behavior issues who may not allow you to discuss with your DP, it may be good to bring another family member/ nanny/ older sibling along who can keep the child occupied during the consultation.
3.Please bring some snacks and water for your child.
4.Please try to ensure that your child has rested properly the night before and do not bring a sick child for the assessment.
5.If you have concerns about specific behaviors that only happen in certain settings, you can bring short videos (45-60 seconds long) of the concerns to show to your DP.
6.If you have concerns about academic issues, please carry mark sheets of the last 1-2 academic years and a few school worksheets/notebooks to show the child’s current academic status.
7.Please carry previous reports and all current therapy plans, if any.
8.NEVER scare your child before the visit or frame the visit as “a consequence of bad behavior”. Instead, prepare him/her by saying that “we are going to visit a doctor who works with children and teenagers on things or activities that they may find hard or difficult”.