Scott Calig, M.D. F.A.A.P.
Susanne Sager, M.D. F.A.A.P.

The Role of Pediatricians in Early Childhood Development

Monitoring your child’s development is an important part of what a pediatrician does. It’s important to visit your pediatrician, because child development is a complex area and needs the expertise of a specialist.

What You Need To Know About Child Development

There are a lot of developmental milestones your child will achieve. A pediatrician can help determine if your child is achieving them at a normal rate, or if there is some delay in development. When a developmental delay is identified, treatment and management can begin.

American Pediatric Association guidelines state that children should have developmental assessments at 9, 18, and 30 months, as part of a routine well-child visit. The pediatrician will also screen your child for autism at 18 and 24 months, during a routine well-child visit. A developmental assessment can happen earlier if your child is:

  • Not talking or began talking late
  • Having problems remembering things
  • Not able to roll over, sit up, crawl, or walk
  • Having difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Not understanding what others are saying
  • Having difficulty problem-solving
  • Having difficulty being social with other children

If you notice any of the signs listed above, you should schedule a developmental assessment with the pediatrician. Early identification of developmental issues can lead to earlier treatment and a better outcome for your child.

There are several steps which happen during a developmental assessment. Your pediatrician will:

  • Perform a comprehensive review of your child’s illnesses, medications and hospitalizations
  • Observe your child’s behaviors, mannerisms, cognitive abilities, emotional, and physical delays
  • Provide questionnaires, checklists, and surveys to gather important baseline developmental information
  • Interview you and members of your household, your child’s teachers, and others close to your child

Your pediatrician will develop a treatment plan based on the assessment. Your pediatrician may recommend a combination of treatments, including:

  • Cognitive exercises
  • Medication therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy.

To review the American Pediatric Association guidelines for developmental assessment, please click here.

Want To Know More?

To discover more about the role of a pediatrician in early childhood development, call our pediatrician today.

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