A child development specialist, also known as a developmental pediatrician, is a professional who specializes in identifying the different traits, behaviors, and emotional patterns specific to children who have different degrees of autism, developmental delay, fragile X syndrome, or specific learning disabilities.
Working one on one with parents and teachers, these healthcare professionals are invaluable advisors to both parents and teachers. They are usually involved in many different aspects of the child’s daily life, including childhood vaccinations, medical care, special education, and social skills development.
Some child development specialists work in hospitals or are physicians specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and so forth. Others work at private clinics, schools, and Head Start facilities.
Kindergarten And Elementary School
Often, a child development specialist will work directly with students in kindergarten and elementary school. In order to help children gain the skills and knowledge they need to function within their peer group, they develop teaching strategies that include classroom instruction, structured learning, and games that foster their natural abilities and promote new skills. They also work directly with parents to identify the goals that they want to see for their child. By working with the entire group, child development specialists help create plans and strategies that work to benefit all members of the class, from the student to the teacher to the parents.
While there are many perks to becoming a child development specialist, there are also some drawbacks. These professionals often require an advanced degree in psychology, developmental biology, or educational practice. Additionally, this field requires a great deal of dedication and patience.
Child development specialists must respond quickly to changes in the lives of children and often must stay in regular shifts for a variety of reasons, including attending therapy sessions with parents, diagnosing a new disorder, or simply waiting for the right conditions for improvement. These specialists must be flexible enough to provide instruction to a variety of settings and teachers, parents, or therapists. Because they must be versatile in their day to day duties, child development specialists must also be highly organized and detail-oriented.
Children will often be diagnosed with a clinical disorder or social developmental disorder before receiving a thorough examination by a child development specialist. If a child development specialist suspects that a child is suffering from one or more psychological disorders, he or she will conduct diagnostic testing and review documentation to be certain.
If the child development specialist detects physical problems or learning disabilities, he or she will refer the case to an appropriate pediatrician. The case will then be referred to a psychologist. Once the child psychologist diagnoses the mental or emotional disorder, the child developmental specialist will begin working with the patient and his or her family to determine the best possible treatment plan.
This may include healthcare providers, educators, educational consultants, psychologists, doctors, nurses, and social workers. Child development specialists must be very adaptable to different types of settings because they must interact with people of all ages, cultures, economic status, gender, and orientation. In the past, child development specialists were responsible for helping people with diagnosable developmental needs.
Child Care Programs
Today, however, many children live with their families instead of with state or federal child care programs. Child Developmental Specialists are becoming increasingly important in these families as families are forced to seek childcare services outside of the home due to a variety of factors.
If a child developmental specialist suspects a child may have one or more specific disabilities, he or she will need to collaborate with the parents, primary caregiver, and any other professionals and/or professionals who are involved in the child’s care. Oftentimes, the child specialist has very direct interactions with the children. These interactions help to determine which course of treatment would be most beneficial to the individual.
In some cases, the child developmental specialist will make recommendations concerning the care of the child. In other instances, he may refer the case to a team of professionals, where several of his or her approaches are used in order to determine what is the best course of action. In both instances, the child specialist has a specific purpose in mind for each individual situation.
Community Health and Human Services will play a vital role in implementing the services of a child developmental specialist. The primary duty of this professional is to assist individuals with disabilities and/or early childhood development in achieving optimal levels of wellness.
Patients And Caregivers
In addition to having direct contact with the families of patients and their caregivers, community health and human services professionals will also have contact with other individuals who are involved with the patient and his or her care. This allows for better coordination between the service provider and the families.
Although community health and human services professionals can perform many of the same duties that child developmental specialists perform, the two professions have slightly different requirements. As stated above, child development specialists will collaborate directly with families in order to better serve their needs. However, they do not have the same involvement as community health and human services professionals in the provision of social services.
Specifically, they have significantly less authority and responsibility when it comes to applying for government funds and funding agencies. Child developmental specialists will, however, typically be granted a three-year contract by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with extensions possible through every four years.