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Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics 101

Your 2 year old does not not talk yet.

Your 4 year old’s preschool teacher says that he is hyperactive and does not listen.

Your 8 year old is struggling with reading.

If one of these scenarios, or one of many other similar issues, describes you, then you are in the right place. Maybe you discussed your concerns with your pediatrician, who then made a referral. Maybe your child’s teacher or counselor at school recommended it. Maybe another parent mentioned that their child benefitted from seeing one.

And now you ask - what is that and what do they do? You are not alone in asking these questions. Many people have never heard of developmental-behavioral pediatricians, as it is a subspecialty that is relatively newly recognized by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Developmental-behavioral pediatricians are pediatric sub-specialist doctors. In order to become a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, a person must first attend medical school for 4 years, then complete residency training in general pediatrics for 3 years. Finally, they pursue additional fellowship training in developmental-behavioral pediatrics for 3 years.

Developmental-behavioral pediatricians are experts in diagnosing and formulating treatment plans for disorders that effect a child’s physical, mental, and social development. The most common disorders diagnosed by developmental-behavioral pediatricians are autism spectrum disorder, speech and language disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, intellectual disabilities, and oppositional behaviors, among many others.

The majority of patients present with one or more of the following complaints: speech delay, hyperactivity, inattention, learning problems, and behavior problems. By taking a careful history and completing focused standardized assessments, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician will determine the cause of your child’s difficulties. If your child struggles with one of these symptoms, I will be able to help!

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