Posts for category: Children's Health
It’s normal for children to act out. You want your child to test boundaries and show independence, which are both normal milestones in a child’s development. If your child is demonstrating inattentiveness, fidgeting, not listening, and other behaviors on a regular basis, your child could have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD.
The Child Development Institute lists the characteristics of ADHD as:
These characteristics can contribute to some noticeable signs and symptoms, including:
- Repetitive motions, like clapping hands
- Continuous fidgeting and squirming
- Inability to remain seated for an extended period of time
- Running or climbing at inappropriate times
- Excessive talking and blurting out comments
- Inability to focus on details
- Problems listening and following directions
- Difficulty getting and staying organized
- Frequently losing or forgetting things
ADHD can be difficult to recognize and can easily go untreated, which is why an ADHD screening from your pediatrician is so important. Your pediatrician has effective screening tools to help identify ADHD. If your child has ADHD, there are several therapies your pediatrician may recommend, including:
Behavioral Therapy, which involves both child and parents; this type of therapy can help establish techniques to limit destructive, aggressive, and inappropriate behaviors.
Lifestyle Modification, which involves dietary and exercise alterations; sugar intake is reduced, and vitamin and nutrient intake is increased. Exercise is increased, to help focus on healthy behaviors.
Medication Therapy, which involves using medications to increase focus, improve brain function, and increase self-control. Medications may include Adderall and Ritalin, among others.
If ADHD goes untreated, it can lead to problems when your child becomes an adult. Some of the ways ADHD can affect an adult include:
- Destructive and harmful behaviors
- Poor grades in school
- Poor performance at work
- Inability to form friendships
- Aggressive, belligerent behaviors
- Moodiness, depression, and frustration
- Physical growth issues
- Difficulty sleeping
If you are worried about your child having ADHD, you need to consult with your pediatrician. An ADHD screening is easy, and can help identify ADHD, so it can be treated. To find out more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of ADHD, call your pediatrician today.
Need help controlling your child’s asthma symptoms? Your pediatrician can help.
We know that seeing your child cough, wheeze and have trouble taking a full breath can be more than a little scary, but it’s essential to know that your pediatrician can provide your child with a custom asthma treatment plan that helps get their symptoms under control. Your pediatrician can provide your child with the care and treatment they need to lead rich, healthy lives without being at the mercy of their asthma symptoms.
So, how will your child's doctor treat their asthma?
First, We’ll Create an Action Plan
Your pediatrician can provide you and your child with the adequate asthma control needed to avoid missed school days, sleepless nights and trips to the hospital. Your pediatrician can create a customized action plan just for your child. This action plan is designed to help you and your child get better control over their symptoms.
This plan will have specific instructions on ways to manage your child’s asthma and what to do when symptoms flare up, so you are never confused about what to do when your child starts to notice symptoms or if their symptoms worsen.
Next, We’ll Prescribe Medication
In most cases, your children’s doctors will prescribe two medications to manage childhood asthma. The medications and doses prescribed by your pediatrician will depend on the severity and frequency of your child’s symptoms. The two most commonly used asthma medications include,
- Controlled medication: This is something your child will take every day, even if they feel fine. This medication helps prevent inflammation in the airways and reduces the risk of an attack.
- Fast-acting medication: Even though controlled medication can significantly reduce airway inflammation and the likelihood of attacks, sometimes triggers such as exercise or stress can still exacerbate your child’s asthma symptoms. When you notice the very beginnings of a flare-up, your child must take this fast-acting medication to alleviate symptoms quickly.
We May Recommend a Flu Shot
If your child has ever had to deal with the flu before, you know from firsthand experience that asthma and the flu do not mix! The flu virus can exacerbate asthma symptoms and lead to more severe complications such as pneumonia. This is why your pediatrician may encourage you to get your child vaccinated against the flu every year.
Is your child acting up? Here’s how a pediatrician can help.
Poor grades, fighting with others, lashing out at parents—If you find yourself dealing with these issues, no doubt you’re concerned about your child’s behaviors. Whether the teachers have complained or you’ve seen these issues in your household, it’s essential to address these concerns with your pediatrician.
Pediatricians and Behavioral Health
While a pediatrician is there to provide your child with medical care, which means that they are focused on physical health, that doesn’t mean they can’t recognize behavioral, mental or emotional issues. Since pediatricians often spend the most time with your children and have seen them grow up through the years, they are often the first to spot problems. That’s why you must have a long-standing pediatrician you know and trust.
When to Be Concerned
It’s natural for a child to be sad when they get sick or lose something important to them or a date with a friend gets postponed; however, if your child is dealing with recurring emotional and behavioral issues that are impacting their daily life, well-being and routine, then it may be time to speak with your pediatrician. Behavioral health concerns that may require a further evaluation with a pediatrician include,
- Anger and irritability
- Outbursts and temper tantrums
- Defying adults and acting out
- Harmful behavior, whether harming themselves or others
- Avoiding social interactions
- Trouble focusing and a drop in academic performance
- Changes in mood
- Sadness or hopelessness that lasts more than two weeks
- Thoughts of suicide
- Stealing, lying and other risky behaviors
How a Pediatrician Can Help
There are many factors a pediatrician will take into account when a child comes in for a behavioral health assessment. Certain factors include,
Any changes to your child’s environment could impact their behavioral health, leading to these problematic behaviors and habits. It’s essential to take all aspects and factors into account so that we can provide the proper diagnosis and treatment plan to help manage behavioral issues. From learning disabilities and separation anxiety to autism and ADHD, a pediatrician can help your child cope with many behavioral health problems.
Yes, kids will be kids, but that doesn’t mean you should let recurring or problematic behaviors slide. If you are concerned about your child’s behavioral health, it’s time you turned to a pediatrician to discuss behavioral health options.
Learn more about developmental and behavioral disorders in children.
A growing child can greatly benefit from visiting their pediatrician regularly for routine checkups. No, a child doesn’t have to be sick to visit the doctor. These regular wellness visits can help our pediatrician spot issues such as developmental delays and behavioral disorders that require special care and treatment. Here’s what you should know about common developmental and behavioral problems in kids and how a pediatrician can help,
Types of Developmental Disorders
Developmental disorders fall under the categories of,
- Cognitive (e.g., mental retardation; learning disabilities)
- Motor (e.g., cerebral palsy; muscular dystrophy; spinal atrophies)
- Behavior (e.g., anxiety disorders; autism; ADHD)
- Vision, hearing and speech (e.g., delayed language acquisition; hearing or vision impairments)
Some of the most common types of developmental disorders in children include,
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Cerebral palsy
- Genetic disorders
- Intellectual disabilities
- Spina bifida
- Down syndrome
Signs of Developmental and Behavioral Disorders
Warning signs and when they appear seem to vary from child to child. Some parents notice developmental delays as early as infancy, while others may not notice these concerns until they start school. Some warning signs include,
- Difficulty learning and academic troubles
- Delayed speech, unclear speech or difficulties communicating with others
- Social withdrawal
- Delay in crawling, sitting up or walking
- Has trouble completing everyday tasks such as grooming, washing hands or getting dressed
- Has trouble focusing on an activity
- Intense or extreme behaviors such as aggression, anxiety, irritability or frequent temper tantrums
When to See a Doctor
If you notice any of these delays, we understand how concerning this can be. The good news is that you don’t immediately need to run to a specialist for help. All you have to do is turn to your pediatrician for an evaluation. A pediatrician can perform a thorough assessment to determine if your child may be displaying signs of a developmental or behavioral disorder. Your pediatrician may recommend more in-depth testing, which may require turning to a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Suppose your child displays behavioral issues, or you notice that they aren’t reaching certain developmental milestones. In that case, it’s important to speak with your pediatrician at their next appointment or to call their office to find out if you should bring your child in for an evaluation.
Be able to spot the warning signs of anxiety in your child.
Anxiety is undoubtedly on the rise, not just for adults but for children. The pandemic has certainly left kids feeling uncertain and worried about the future. It’s important to pick up on the signs that your child might have anxiety so you can talk with their pediatrician about tips and strategies to help them better cope with the issues they’re facing.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
Children with anxiety may display these behaviors or motions,
- Anger and aggression
- Mood swings
- Unexplained physical symptoms such as stomachaches
- Nail-biting and other “nervous habits”
- Appetite changes
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Issues focusing or concentrating
How Can I Help My Child?
It’s important to figure out the type of anxiety your child is dealing with to help them cope with these emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. There are certain habits you can start adopting now that can help your child better deal with their anxiety symptoms,
- Don’t try to reason with your child when they are panicked or anxiety
- Help them take deep belly breathes to help stabilize their sympathetic nervous system
- Validate your child’s fears and listen to them; never dismiss them or tell them to “buck up”
- Don’t avoid the fear, which can often make it worse, but help your child face the fear with baby steps (talk to your child’s pediatrician about the best ways to do this)
These are some helpful tips to get parents started when they notice their child’s “worry brain” taking over. Of course, if you suspect that they could have a true anxiety disorder, it’s important to speak with your pediatrician right away.
How Are Childhood Anxiety Disorders Treated?
In most cases, your pediatrician will provide a referral to a psychotherapist that works with children. The first appointment, or intake session, will allow the therapist to get to know your child and determine if they have an anxiety disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy tends to be the ideal treatment option to help children talk through their fears and discover effective coping strategies to help them face and overcome their fears. Sometimes medications are prescribed in conjunction with therapy and lifestyle changes.
Worried that your child might have an anxiety disorder? If so, this is the ideal time to speak with their pediatrician to find out if they could benefit from additional diagnostic testing or talking to a mental health professional who works with children. A pediatrician can provide resources, support, and referrals.