When it comes to the health and wellbeing of their child, parents around the world would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the best available care is provided to their ailing son or daughter. However, it can often be hard to understand exactly what kind of care a child needs at any given time.
This problem is even more complex for parents who are raising children with special needs. Certain neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and cerebral palsy can be hard to manage on a day to day basis without the proper medical attention.
For this reason, it is essential for parents to understand the differences between the various types of doctors who are licensed to see their child, and the major benefits and drawbacks of each option. This knowledge will enable parents to make informed decisions when it comes to the health of their children.
Family Doctors Versus Special Needs Pediatricians
To gain a clear understanding of the different types of available care for special needs children, parents must first comprehend the various medical professionals from whom they can seek treatment. The two major types of doctors who treat children are family doctors and pediatricians.
A family doctor has been trained to care for and treat the entire family. Hence, they will be responsible for the care of elderly people, middle-aged individuals, as well as children. On the other hand, pediatricians only treat patients who are underage. That is to say, they treat infants, toddlers, children, teenagers, and anyone else who is under the age of eighteen.
Family doctors receive training that enables them to provide primary care to patients belonging to all age groups. On the other hand, pediatricians play a more specialized role in the healthcare industry, providing care only to those who are yet to attain adulthood. Due to this specialization, pediatricians usually receive extensive training in the realm of child development and behavior.
Therefore, when it comes to the care and management of a special needs child, there are certain advantages associated with choosing a special needs pediatrician over a family doctor.
One of the factors that parents must remember is that special needs pediatricians are experts in their field of study. While family doctors typically undergo a few months of pediatric training, a special needs pediatrician would have spent years studying the subject. Moreover, they would have more extensive experience in the domain, as they are working with special needs children almost every single day.
On the other hand, family doctors have to maintain a wide array of medical knowledge as they treat patients belonging to all age groups, suffering from all types of ailments. Their knowledge of the issues affecting a special needs child, while thorough, would be more surface-level than that of a special needs pediatrician. Therefore, the latter can diagnose and treat complex issues faster and with greater accuracy and efficiency.
Child Behavior and Development
The two most important aspects of a child’s health are behavioral and developmental in nature. A special needs pediatrician will be able to immediately recognize any delays in the behavioral and developmental milestones of a young child, due to their extensive experience and education in the field.
Hence, if there are any emergent issues in the young patient’s linguistic, cognitive, social, or fine motor skills, then a special needs pediatrician would be able to recognize them faster than a family doctor. Any delays in age-appropriate milestones will be flagged immediately and treated accordingly. This quicker diagnosis and resultant treatment may help prevent recurrent or chronic problems in the future.
When providing medical care for a special needs child, one of the most important factors to consider is the comfort and wellbeing of the patient. Depending on the type of condition they have, special needs children can often get nervous and stressed in unfamiliar or noisy environments. The office of a good special needs pediatricians would usually be tailored to the needs of such patients. Such a child-friendly atmosphere will help the kid relax and relieve some of the tension, thus making the treatment process infinitely easier from the get go.
The office of a family doctor, by contrast, will not have any such special provisions and will naturally have a more chaotic and fast-paced atmosphere, as many of the patients visiting are adults. A special needs pediatrician would also be better trained in the art of communicating with children and understanding their issues, which is a skill essential for the diagnosis and treatment of special needs children.
Mentioned above are some of the advantages of choosing a special needs pediatrician over a family doctor for the care and treatment of children living with neurodevelopmental disorders. For the best results, parents can attend well-known symposiums and conferences geared towards helping them avail the best pediatric care for their kids.