Parents with a child with a disability are used to going to doctor appointments. But things can become confusing and overwhelming when visits to the specialists begin. And if our child has complex or multiple diagnoses, trips to the specialists are common.
Here are some of the more common specialists that many of our children are referred to. The titles of the specialists are sometimes hard to say, let alone understand what they treat.
My daughter’s neurologist follows her neurodegenerative muscle condition closely. He treats her nerve pain and tight muscles with medication. We go to appointments with him every 6-9 months.
Developmental Pediatrician usually follow and treat symptoms of children with a lot of different syndromes and disabilities. There are no cures for these disorders, but there are medications that can help alleviate some of the symptoms. These doctors will also keep track of the child’s development and milestones.
Developmental pediatricians originally followed my daughter when she had her first diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. (We do not see this doctor any longer.)
Psychiatrists treat mental illness. Sometimes it is difficult to find a pediatric psychiatrist, but if your pediatrician suspects a mental health condition, hopefully they can refer you to one.
My daughter is seen and treated by a psychiatrist for her Bipolar disorder, psychosis, sleep disorder, and anxiety. She has appointments with him every 3 months.
Gastroenterologists (GI) help with problems and symptoms of the digestive system. My daughter visits her gastroenterologist (GI) every 3 months. Her GI doctor treats her for chronic constipation and feeding problems.
These are just a few of the specialists your child may have to see. Children with disabilities will usually have many doctor visits and go to many therapies. I hope that these examples and definitions will help some of the worries that come along with raising and taking care of your child.
Check out the How to Talk with Your Doctor page on this website for additional help in working with specialist.
Palliative care is about making the most out of life while supporting complex patients and their family. I am so glad we found them.