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What is a Developmental Paediatrician?
A Paediatrician is a doctor who has specialised in the care of children. The specialty training program is supervised by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, so we have the same specialty qualification as physicians who see adults.
Paediatricians take referrals from primary care doctors (General Practitioners) for medical problems such as asthma, diarrhoea, seizures and poor growth. We can practice as General Paediatricians or specialise further in areas such as Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology and Neonatal Intensive Care.
Developmental Paediatricians have specialty interest, training and experience in the development of children: how they grow, how they acquire knowledge and skills, how they learn to behave and socialise. We use our training to understand children from a medical point of view, in order to determine the reasons for different problems of development and behaviour.
We now have a professional organisation - the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia.
We can then use this knowledge to help others (parents, teachers) understand children - what they can and cannot do, the reasons for the current difficulties, and provide a sense of what the future may hold.
Our major work is to support and guide parents in the journey of raising their children to achieve the best development and mental health/wellbeing by the time they become adults. This may include the use of medical treatments (such as medication), diagnosis (e.g. for school system), advocacy (to help others understand children and adapt their expectations) and specific recommendations regarding treatments and therapies.
We like to achieve this by being pro-active, working towards the best development possible rather than waiting for problems to occur and responding after they do.