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Common Developmental Issues: When should you worry that your child may have a delay in development?

Are you concerned that your child is not meeting their developmental milestones within the normal age range? Does he or she seem to be lagging behind other children of the same age? These are common worries among parents, but before you jump to conclusions, it's best to ask your pediatrician
Common Developmental Issues


Talking to friends and family members about your concerns is normal, but you may not get the answers you need. Everyone knows someone who knows someone whose child had a certain type of delay or disorder that may sound like what your child is experiencing. But the best thing to do is to discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician. 

The First Step: Make an Appointment with your Pediatrician

Unless you have a well-child checkup coming up soon, make a specific appointment with your pediatrician to discuss the concerns you have about your child. Your pediatrician will know your child’s medical history and can take that into consideration when it comes to evaluating your child’s development. If your pediatrician performs an evaluation of your child’s developmental progress and determines that there is a problem, they may recommend that you call Early Intervention or may ask you to see a developmental-behavioral pediatrician.


What is Early Intervention?

Early Intervention (EI) is a group of services provided for infants and children under three years old who have developmental delays. Every state has an EI system, which often provides services for free or at a discounted cost. Whether one of our pediatricians diagnoses your child with simple speech delay or more complex disabilities, EI is often the first step in getting services for your child, even if they also need to see a developmental-behavioral pediatrician. In New Jersey, the statewide Early Intervention number is 888-653-4463. Any caregiver can call that number and request an evaluation for their child.


What is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician?

Doctors who specialize in evaluating, counseling, and treating children with developmental and behavioral difficulties and disorders are called developmental-behavioral pediatricians. These doctors complete a three-year training program in developmental-behavioral pediatrics after completing their general pediatrics training. Finally, they must pass an examination in order to be classified as a developmental-behavioral pediatrician. If one of our pediatricians thinks your child will benefit from a more comprehensive developmental evaluation, we will often recommend you see one of these sub-specialists. . 


What Types of Disorders Might a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician Treat?  

* ADHD and attention issues

* Emotional disorders including anxiety, depression, and oppositional-defiant behavior

* Learning disorders including dyslexia, math, writing, and other academic issues

* Tourettes, ticks, and other habits

* Autism, Aspergers, and spectrum disorders 

* Feeding disorders

* Bathroom-related issues including bed wetting and soiling and delayed toilet training

* Severe physical disabilities including spina bifida and cerebral palsy

* Hearing impairment

* Vision impairment

* Speech disorders

* Mental retardation and Down’s Syndrome

*Development delays that result from medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, and others


Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians Work as a Team with other Professionals

Successful treatment of many of the disorders listed above may require a team of specialists. Such specialists may include: 

* Speech language pathologist

* Sleep specialist

* Psychologist

* Psychiatrist

* Occupational therapist

* Physical therapist

* Neurologist 

* Education diagnostician

* Clinical social worker

* Other specialists as needed


Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians Work Closely with Families 

When a child has a developmental disorder of any kind, no matter how severe, it affects the whole family. Parents, siblings, and any other family members living in the home may need help to successfully cope with the situation. Family members in a caregiving role need to know how to properly care for the child. Family members that are not providing care, such as younger siblings, may still need to be educated on how to best support their brother or sister who has special needs, while making sure their needs don’t get overlooked.


In addition to providing care, especially in situations where there is a profound disability, caregivers and other family members may need help coping with their own emotions. Family and individual counseling can be helpful. 


Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians Work Closely with Schools 

A child’s school plays an important part in their development. When it comes to diagnosing a learning or behavioral disorder, it may be necessary to consult with a child’s teacher, such as requesting that they fill out a Vanderbilt assessment or Conners scale for ADHD. Once a child is diagnosed with a developmental disorder of any kind, it may be necessary for the teacher and other school personnel to make adjustments to help the child, which are typically outlined in an IEP or 504 plan. 


Worried about your child’s development? Contact Advocare Haddon Pediatric Group

It’s perfectly normal to have concerns about your child in regards to their physical, mental, and emotional development. But it’s always best to ask a pediatrician about those concerns. Call (856) 547-7300 today to schedule an appointment at our Haddon Heights office or (856) 294-5600 for our Mullica Hill office.
Posted: 1/27/2020 4:28:50 PM by Paul Matz | with 0 comments

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