What is a paediatrician?

A key role of the paediatrician is to acknowledge and respond to developmental and behavioural concerns as early as possible. This involves a partnership with parents and starts with an assessment of a child’s general health and development. Dr Deirdre White http://www.speld-sa.org.au/index.php?

Sometimes families may be recommended by their child’s doctor, therapist or school to see a paediatrician with their child. Paediatricians are medical specialists that specialise in working with children. They are able to provide an overall evaluation of your child's health and development, provide ongoing care for any medical needs your child has and provide coordination of services if your child has complex needs with many professionals involved. They can also refer to other specialists or therapists or arrange any further tests that may be needed.

A paediatrician will assess a child’s development, behaviour and health needs by:

  • Taking a detailed medical and family history
  • Gathering information from other sources such as teachers, carers and therapists
  • Performing a physical and neurological evaluation
  • Performing a developmental screening

A paediatrician may also:

  • Refer for vision and hearing assessments
  • Refer to other professionals for more detailed assessment of certain areas such as speech or motor skills
  • Refer to other medical specialists if needed
  • Arrange blood, urine or genetic testing to exclude medical or genetic factors which may be effecting development

A paediatrician can:

  • Provide ongoing care for children where there are medical conditions
  • Have a coordinating role for children with complex needs
  • Prescribe medication if needed
  • Arrange carer’s allowances and Medicare plans when appropriate

Paediatricians are specialists in the diagnosis and management of:

  • Developmental Delay
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Medical conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, obstructive sleep apnoea, genetic syndromes and cerebral palsy

Some have specialist interest and expertise in:

Developmental special needs, such as

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities

Behavioural special needs, such as

  • Conduct Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Emotional special needs, such as

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self esteem

Where can I find a paediatrician for my child?

Paediatricians work in public hospitals as well as in private practice.

How can I access a paediatrician?

You will need to see your family doctor and ask for a referral. Your doctor will recommend a paediatrician they feel is suitable for your child.

Is there a cost involved?

Paediatrician’s are medical doctors so they are covered by Medicare but in private practice they may charge a gap so it is a good idea to ask about this when booking.

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