By M. Sandra Cely, M.D., Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician

What is a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician?

If your child has a developmental, learning, or behavioral problem, a developmental behavioral pediatrician has the training and expertise to evaluate and care for your child. Developmental-behavioral pediatricians possess training and experience to consider, in their assessments and treatments, the medical and psychosocial aspects of children’s and adolescents’ developmental and behavioral problems.

What training do developmental-behavioral pediatricians have?

Developmental behavioral pediatricians are medical doctors who have completed

  • Four years of medical school
  • Three years of residency training in pediatrics
  • Board certification in pediatrics
  • Additional subspecialty training in developmental-behavioral pediatrics
  • Board Certification in developmental-behavioral pediatrics

Developmental behavioral pediatricians evaluate and provide treatment for children, adolescents, and their families with a wide range of developmental and behavioral difficulties, including:

  • Learning disorders including dyslexia, writing difficulties, math disorders, and other school-related learning problems
  • Attention and behavioral disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and associated conditions including oppositional-defiant behavior, conduct problems, depression, and anxiety disorders
  • Tics, Tourette syndrome, and other habit disorders
  • Regulatory disorders including sleep disorders, feeding problems, discipline difficulties, enuresis (bedwetting), and encopresis (soiling)
  • Developmental disabilities including cerebral palsy, spina bifi da, mental retardation, autism spectrum disorders, and visual and hearing impairments
  • Delayed development in speech, language, motor skills, and thinking ability
  • Behavioral and developmental problems complicating the full range of pediatric chronic illnesses and disabling conditions (for example, genetic disorders, epilepsy, prematurity, diabetes, asthma, cancer)

Where can I find a developmental-behavioral pediatrician?

Developmental behavioral pediatricians practice in hospitals, major medical centers, clinics, private practice settings, rehabilitation centers, schools, and community centers.

Often a developmental behavioral pediatrician works collaboratively with a team of professionals. This team may include a psychologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, child psychiatrist, child neurologist, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, educational advocate or clinical social worker.

Developmental behavioral pediatricians work closely with parents, families, and schools.

Developmental behavioral pediatricians understand that children’s development and behavior happen first and foremost in the context of the family. They seek to understand the family’s view of the problem and the effect of the child’s problem on the family. Developmental behavioral pediatricians advocate for their patients with developmental and behavioral problems by working closely with schools, preschools, and other agencies involved with developmental care and education.

Adapted from American Academy of Pediatrics

Dr. Sandra Cely is a board-certified, fellowship-trained Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician with the Center for Child Development in Orlando. For more information please visit centerforchilddevelopment.com or call 407-898-6005.