Posts for category: Children's Health

By Royal Oak Pediatric Associates
July 21, 2022
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Behavioral Health  

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,

  • Physical
  • Environmental
  • Social
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Socioeconomic

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.

By Royal Oak Pediatric Associates
June 21, 2022
Category: Children's Health

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
  • ADHD
  • 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.

By Royal Oak Pediatric Associates
May 17, 2022
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Anxiety  

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,

  • Avoidance
  • Anger and aggression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as stomachaches
  • Nail-biting and other “nervous habits”
  • Bedwetting
  • Appetite changes
  • Insomnia
  • 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.

By Royal Oak Pediatric Associates
April 05, 2022
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Ear Infections  

Does an ear infection automatically warrant seeing a pediatrician? Here’s what you should know…

Your child is dealing with an ear infection for the first time and just like when they had their first fever, you’re pretty worried. You’re not sure how to handle it—whether they should see their pediatrician or whether it’s something you can treat at home. We understand that when your child’s sick it feels like everything around you stops. Here’s what parents should know about childhood ear infections.

What causes ear infections?

There is one major culprit that causes ear infections: the common cold. When your child comes down with a cold the fluids can sometimes get stuck in the middle ear, which can irritate the eardrum. Since the immune systems of children under 3 years old are still developing, this often means that they don’t have the antibodies necessary to fight off this infection. This means that it’s inevitable that many young children will deal with an ear infection at some point.

What are the symptoms?

It isn’t always easy to tell whether your child isn’t feeling well or what’s going on, particularly if your child is too young to tell you. Of course, there are some warning signs to be on the lookout for. You may notice that your child is irritable and fussier than usual. They may be upset more easily or cling to you. They may also have trouble sleeping. You may also notice them tugging or pulling at the ear.

On top of these common signs, they may also have a loss of appetite, upset stomach, diarrhea, fever or vomiting. If you notice any of these signs then it’s a good idea to call your pediatrician to see whether you should bring your child into the office.

How are ear infections treated?

How an ear infection is handled will really depend on the severity and cause of the infection, as well as your child’s age. In some instances, children between 6 months and 2 years may be prescribed a round of antibiotics while in other situations your pediatrician may just monitor their condition before deciding whether or not to prescribe medication.

Often, children over the age of 2 may not be prescribed medication right away; your pediatrician may take a “wait and see” approach since some ear infections clear up on their own.

If you are ever concerned about the issues or symptoms your child is experiencing, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician for advice on the next steps. This can often provide parents with the peace of mind they need to know they are doing everything for their little one.

By Royal Oak Pediatric Associates
March 18, 2022
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Behavioral Health  

While everyone knows that it’s important to take care of your child’s physical health, it’s important to know that it is just as necessary to care for your child’s mental health. It’s crucial that you address any behavioral issues that your child might be experiencing because they may be a sign of something more severe that your child is dealing with. Your pediatricians at Royal Oak Pediatric Associates in Marion and Abingdon, VA, can help you care for your child’s behavioral health and identify any problems they may be dealing with.

Caring for Your Child’s Behavioral Health

When your child has undiagnosed behavioral issues, they can follow your child into adulthood and cause issues throughout their life. It will help your child in the long run if you’re able to address their behavioral health with their pediatrician in Marion and Abingdon, VA, as soon as possible so that they can be treated and given the proper care that they need.

Some common causes of behavioral health issues include:

  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • Severe phobias

Symptoms of most of these issues may look like sudden outbursts from your child and a lack of concentration in their normal activities. These symptoms can start as early as in their toddler years and should be addressed early on. Your pediatrician can help you determine which form of treatment may work best for your child. This could be through therapy or medication, depending on what your child might be dealing with and how they may handle their emotions.

Contact Your Pediatrician Today!

Make sure that your child is receiving care for their physical well-being and their mental well-being. Contact your pediatricians at Royal Oak Pediatric Associates in Marion and Abingdon, VA, to take care of your child’s behavioral health. Call for more information today at (276) 783-8183 for the office in Marion, VA, and (276) 525-4603 for the office in Abingdon, VA.