Visiting a specialist for the first time can be a daunting experience for both parents and their child. The important thing to realize is we are very friendly and want to help. A GP referral is required for the initial consult.
Once you have the date and time booked in start to prepare any information you have to bring along including results of any investigations, a list of current medications and any reports from Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists or Psychologist assessments that your child has already seen.
Write down a list of questions you may have as you might not remember them all on the day.
Don’t Forget to bring your child’s Personal Health Record (Red book) which contains information regarding their growth and immunisations.
The appointment will last anything from 30-60 minutes depending on the nature of your concerns. There can be a short waiting time before the appointment depending on how busy the clinic is so bring some distractions, toys or snacks to keep your child busy.
The first visit is a chance to get to know your child. We ask questions about your pregnancy and birth history. We ask about early developmental milestones and growth. We ask about eating habits, sleep routines and of course “poos and wees” toileting habits.
Please bring along a recent report card or letter from your child’s teacher/school/daycare if you have any concerns regarding behavioural or learning issues.
We ask about progress at school and social activities such as sports, clubs and hobbies. If appropriate the child may want to share their favourite things to do and what their likes and dislikes are.
A Physical examination will include a weight and height. For infants it’s helpful to dress them in clothing that can be easily removed and bring an extra nappy just in case. We try and tailor the examination to the age of the child so for younger children it might be easier to examine them on their parent’s knee and distract them with play with a toy.
Be as honest as you can about the nature of the visit and prepare the child. We are going to spend a bit of time talking and then examine them and most visits will not entail any painful procedures so you can reassure them. Talk about the visit a couple of days before.
After the consult we will discuss the plan with you and make arrangements for follow up.
Post by Dr Betty Wamola from Townsville Paediatrics