What is Developmental Paediatrics?
Developmental Paediatrics is a specialised field of paediatrics (medical care of children / youth).
Our work involves the assessment, treatment and ongoing management support of children with problematic differences or delays in areas of their development, learning or behaviour.
- We understand and help children within their individual life circumstances: their family, school and community.
- We support children and families over time towards their adult 'personal best' development, function, mental and physical health, well-being and participation in life.
The children we see
The children we see have differences in their developmental journey that make life hard for them, either currently or in the future. They may struggle to function effectively (e.g. communicate), or to manage what is expected of them (e.g. learning, social relationships, behaviour).
This group of children includes, but is not restricted to, those who may be diagnosed with conditions such as Intellectual Disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disorders and others. We see children with issues of development (delays, differences) during early childhood who are likely to benefit from understanding and Early Intervention.
Assessments we provide
The assessments we provide understand each child in the context of their family and community. Assessment provides answers to important questions such as:
- A child's current level of development, and the degree to which this differs from expected.
- The reasons why this has occurred. This includes understanding the child medically, their past experiences and current circumstances. Understanding these reasons provides important information about the future, and how best to help children.
- Resources available to help the child. This includes those that care about the child, the child's strengths and interests, professional services, and those in the community (particularly schools) with active involvement in the child's life.
Management supports we provide
The management supports we provide aim to guide each child towards their best individual future.
This begins with understanding and addressing immediate issues. Over time, we work with each child, family, other providers and their community (e.g. school). The goal is to optimise the child’s development, participation, physical health and particularly a positive experience for the child that strengthens resilience, mental health and optimism as well as capacity to manage their life.
Doctors who do this work
The doctors who do this work are mostly specialist Paediatricians, but may include Psychiatrists, Neurologists, Rehabilitation doctors, and General Practitioners who have a specialised interest in this field of clinical practice.
In Australia and New Zealand, we do not have a training program that formally accredits doctors as 'Developmental Paediatricians'. For that reason we define Developmental Paediatrics according to the work itself.
Doctors may choose to identify themselves as Developmental Paediatricians in order to communicate a specialised clinical interest in Developmental Paediatrics.