Particular interest is the optimising of medical treatment for these conditions. As a physician I mostly use medication just as surgeons use scalpels and the operating theater. The treatment of these conditions requires collaboration between parents teachers councilors psychologists and physcians.
All parents and society want every child to be able to reach their potential.
It is standard paediatric practice that poor eyesight or hearing loss are diagnosed early so that a child will not be disadvantaged. Not recognising these conditions results in poorer speech, reading, educational and job prospects.
Just as important to a child’s development is their ability to concentrate, stay on task and not be distracted. To be able to tackle difficult problems. Children need to learn to react appropriately to stress and provocations.
Many children find change, new situations and being noticed stressful. This can result in school refusal, not wanting to socialise with peers, and not participating in groups. Also, them not putting their hand up in class and even having tantrums and panic attacks.
Behavioural paediatrics is not just about bad behaviour.
These problems are more common than mild hearing loss or visual impairment and in the long-term have life changing consequences.
Hyperactive, oppositional behaviours are obvious in contrast to difficulties concentrating, poor short-term memory and anxiety. But to the individual can have just as severe an impact. Paediatricians see many children with ADHD, ODD, autism and developmental delay. Many others would benefit if their ability to concentrate was improved or their excessive shyness and anxiety was helped.
Behavioural paediatrics aims to enhance the thinking part of the brain, to enable it to take control of behaviour, rather than behaviour being impulsive, reactive, or driven by emotions such as anxiety, sadness or anger.