It is a unique subspecialty that focuses on children experiencing developmental issues and with special needs. A recent survey conducted showed that lesser than 30% of cases of developmental issues in a child are reported before entering the school. Although these kids receive routine pediatric care but due to lack of experienced pediatricians and reduced awareness among the parents the early signs often go unnoticed. Children with developmental issues need different types of learning techniques and special attention at home, school etc.
Developmental-behavioral pediatrics focuses on strengths and weakness of the child. They evaluate counsel and provide treatment for children, adolescents along with their family members to overcome these challenges.
What are Developmental Disabilities?
Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to impairment in physical, language learning or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, but may impact day-to-day functioning and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime. Since every child develops at their own pace it becomes difficult to tell exactly when a kid will learn a particular skill. But skills such as taking the first steps, waving a hand, and smile etc can be set as a developmental milestone. Below are a few conditions which are seen in cases of developmental disabilities:
- Cerebral palsy, Autism, spinal Bifida, mental retardation, visual and hearing impairments, Tourette syndrome, Down syndrome.
- Difficulty in the day to day work like sleep disorder, feeding problem, complicated toilet training issues.
- Learning disorders like dyslexia, writing difficulties and other school related learning activities.
- Delayed development in speech-language and motor skill and thinking ability.
- Attention and behavioral disorders including attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder.
Whom to Consult?
When you and your pediatrician have a concern that your child may need special care for their development then consult a developmental behavioral pediatrician. A developmental-behavioral pediatrician provides diagnostic services and provides a family-centric care. The team comprises of professionals like a psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, Behavioral therapist, child psychiatrist, pediatric neurologist, physician, neurodevelopment disability pediatrician, and nurse.
The team works together and seeks to understand the problem in the context of the family. They try to understand the problem from family’s point of view and what impact it has on them. Health conditions like asthma, eczema and skin allergies are found more common in kids with developmental disorders. Hence, they educate and train parents and caregivers to address various issues that may arise while when caring for a child with special needs.