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What Does A Pediatric Neurologist Do?

What Does a Pediatric Neurologist Do?

Pediatric neurologists, also known as child neurologists, are medical doctors that specialize in the nervous systems of children. Pediatricians are doctors that treat children. Neurologists are doctors who concentrate on the nervous system. So, pediatric neurologists focus on children’s nervous systems.

Why Do Children Need Special Neurologists?

That is a great question. Several neurological conditions onset in childhood but are less common in adults. On the other hand, some neurological conditions, such as strokes, are much more common in adults. Furthermore, hormones, physical differences, and normal human development mean that illnesses or injuries of the nervous system impact children differently than they impact adults. Therefore, children need pediatric neurologists.

Child neurologists get special training. In addition to four years of medical school, they have 1 to 2 years of general pediatrics residency or internship, and three years of child neurology including a year of adult neurology. Neurologists can also choose a sub-specialty, which requires additional study.

What Are Reasons for a Child to See a Neurologist?

Generally, children get referred to a neurologist by a pediatrician or other primary care physician. Their primary care physician may notice things that indicate a potential neurological issue. However, some parents notice symptoms themselves and bring their children to the neurologist. In addition, if a child has a neurological emergency, the medical staff at the ER may suggest you see a pediatric neurologist.

Conditions that pediatric neurologists treat include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Disorder/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Migraines
  • Strokes
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Neuropathy
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Sleep Problems
  • Tics
  • Autoimmune Conditions
  • Brain Tumors
  • Developmental Delays

What Happens During a Child’s First Neurology Visit?

That depends on why you are seeking treatment. Generally, the first visit involves a consultation and assessment. For most children, we will order additional tests to get a clearer picture of what is happening. Then, we develop a treatment plan. Treatment plans usually involve and grow as children evolve and grow.

Some tests your child may get include

  • Physical Exam
  • Diagnostic Tests for Learning Disorders
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • CT Scan
  • Lumbar Puncture
  • Blood Tests

If you have any questions about the test, ask the neurologist to describe them and why they are ordering the test. While it may be scary to think of your child having some of these tests, they can help pinpoint the source of a neurological issue and allow the neurologist to develop a more effective treatment plan.

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