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The paediatrician as case manager for complex developmental problems
  1. SLJ Johnson
  1. Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia


The multidisciplinary approach for diagnosis, assessment and management of children with developmental problems like chromosomal disorders, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, learning disorders, language disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and many others is familiar to paediatricians who work in the field of child development. Many paediatricians involved in this important work form part of a team usually based in teaching hospital units or in community child health clinics, where working closely with allied health colleagues provides an interactive and supportive framework for helping children and families. The challenge for the developmental paediatrician in sole private practice is to maintain a network of various professionals that provide support for children with complex developmental problems. Multidisciplinary clinics often have long waiting lists and parents seek help through the private sector when they cannot access the services of these clinics and they are then referred by their general practitioner familiar with the work of the developmental paediatrician in the private sector. The concept of “team around the child”, a recognised approach for helping children and families where the focus is on the needs of the child within the family unit, is one that is followed by the developmental paediatrician in sole private practice. The paediatrician is the case manager for these children ensuring that their medical, developmental, therapy and educational needs are met initially at diagnosis and subsequently through regular follow up and review. This presentation will share the experience of a developmental paediatrician in private practice. It will focus on the intricate role of the paediatrician, the child-centred approach and the importance of liaising with other service providers (specialists, allied health colleagues and educators) who work with children that have complex needs. In addition the “sharing of knowledge” by the trained developmental paediatrician with general paediatricians and general practitioners will also be discussed.

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