✓ Who is a Neurodevelopmental pediatrician?

A pediatrician specialized in child development and behaviors. We as a team of professionals evaluate, counsel, and provide treatment for children, adolescents, and their families with a wide range of developmental and behavioral difficulties.

 ✓ What are the common referrals that come your way?

Communication delays- speech delay, motor delay, Autism, Spectrum Disorder ADHD, learning difficulties, intellectual disabilities and Behavioural challenges.

✓ Do parents have to prepare before coming to see you?

Parents give us a lot information and insight into the child. A very detailed history of the child including a detailed pedigree, family and social history, birth and medical history, along with the a developmental history.

✓ As a parent, if I am coming to see you for a developmental assessment, what can I expect?

Firstly a detailed consultation, examination and observation of the child which gives us a fairly good understanding of the child.  Gives us a clinical cue of the possibility of diagnosis and further sessions of assessment to confirm the diagnosis.

A counselling and feedback session with the family trying to bring more awareness of the child’s condition and how we wud be approaching ahead with appropriate assessments, and individualised interventions.

✓ Autism and ADHD, the two common group of conditions have presumably increased in prevalence. What’s your take on this?

Certainly, studies show an increased prevalence of these conditions. ASD currently being 1 in 44, and ADHD around 5% globally.

There are many reasons explaining this-

Availability of better analytic tools, changes in diagnostic criteria, better identification and screening methods, increased awareness among parents and clinicians, and changes in the availability of services. Giving us more information of people with these conditions.

Also the increase in these numbers where Recent research suggests that these disorders are associated with genetic predispositions triggered by possible environmental factors which are under investigation.

✓ How would a thorough developmental assessment help my child?

It gives us a thorough and accurate understanding of the child’s development across all areas. Motor, language and communication, socio-emotional, cognitive, learning , execution functions and behaviours.

This helps us evaluate their individual strengths, challenges and diagnose. This is a strong link to building a unique program for the child based on their requirements.

✓ How do you diagnose and treat a child with Autism? Run us through the process (as its not a single step)

Firstly a details consult with parents to understand the child’s developmental abilities and challenges. An informal observation of the child. ( school sos )

Assessments – Gold standard Autism Assessments and developmental evaluation over few sessions.

Detailed feedback to the family of the results and making a combined plan on the further management strategies including an inter-disciplinary management

Regular follow ups and reviews of the progress.

✓ Why is MDT approach and IDT approach important?

Developmental work is always a team work. Not just among specialities and inter-departmental therapies, but we also need the parents, the school/nursery/ learning support, therapist, and everyone involved in the child care be on the same page.

This helps build a lot of strong connect and network and help the child generalize the skills. It brings lot more positive results and serves as a strong foundation for learning.

✓ Sometimes parents ask if the developmental pediatrician is only going to observe and play with child, and no other investigations have been carried out. How do we justify this to parents?

Developmental pediatrics is about understanding the functioning / working of the brain, their abilities and behaviors.

So we do not understand this by merely looking at the structure- through a scan or imaging, but by performing specialized assessments. Most of these need expertise and training to understand the brain function. The best way to engage and get the best out of the child , and learn more about them is through play. So most of the assessments are designed in a play based pattern, which gives us lot of information into various areas of their learning.

 ✓ As a first time parent, when should I seek advice for my infant or toddler or when should I be concerned about my child’s development?

For every parent, I would advice tracking their child’s developmental milestones. Right from birth. Lot of online apps and standardised referral data is available for having valid information about the expected milestones and red flags.

At any point the concern due to lack of expected skill or behavior, or presence of unusual behavior should raise the need to seek an opinion for further discussion.

One of the first red flags is PARENTAL CONCERN. so any concern regarding your child’s development, is a valid reason to seek medical advice.

✓ Whats you advice on excessive screen usage and the ‘screen pandemic’?

Screen time is a huge topic in itself. Various studies show how the current screen usage versus screen time expectations as per guidelines have a huge mismatch.

We are seeing a lot of impact of this as negative effects across various aspects of a child’s life. Physical, mental, socio- emotional, learning abilities and behaviors.

I would Strongly advice the parents to follow the recommendations and guidelines laid on the quality and quantity of screen time.

For more information on screen time refer to our blog on screen time !

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