A pediatrician who believes your child has developmental challenges will likely refer you to a developmental and behavioral pediatrician. Like PCPs, developmental and behavioral pediatricians are medical doctors who can diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe medication. This doctor, however, has additional training in learning disabilities, developmental disorders, and other behavioral challenges, and may provide a more specialized evaluation, counseling, and treatment plan than your family doctor can.
One quarter of people surveyed by ADDitude said their child has saw a developmental and behavioral pediatrician for diagnosis; 15 percent of families surveyed continued to see one for treatment as well.
During a typical evaluation, the developmental and behavioral pediatrician will examine your child’s nervous system, noting physical strength and coordination as well as behavior, social responsiveness, and speech. They are trained to look for learning disabilities, attention and behavioral disorders, sleep disorders, tics, and other developmental and behavioral symptoms that go beyond ADHD. If your child requires further specialized testing, this doctor can usually help you coordinate it.
Medical coverage varies, but many services provided by a developmental and behavioral pediatrician are covered by insurance.
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