What is a pediatric neurologist?
A pediatric neurologist is a pediatrician who has completed an additional three or more years of training in the area of neurology. This training gives a pediatric neurologist the skills needed to evaluate and care for children of all ages with conditions involving the brain and nervous system. A board certified pediatric neurologist has successfully passed an additional evaluation by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has special competences in child neurology.
Who needs to see a pediatric neurologist?
Pediatric neurologists provide treatment for children of all ages, with congenital and acquired conditions related to the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. A child may be referred to a pediatric neurologist for a variety of reasons, including:
- Seizure disorders, including epilepsy
- Concussions, head injuries and brain tumors
- Weakness, including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and nerve muscle disorders
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Behavioral disorders such as attention-deficient/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), school failure and sleep problems
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Developmental disorders such as delayed speech, motor milestones and coordination issues
- Intellectual disability
If a child is showing signs of neurological problems, please contact his or her pediatrician or primary care provider; signs may include:
- Delayed Speech
- Persistent headaches
- Sudden or gradual loss of balance, known as ataxia
What can I expect at the first visit?
At the first visit, a pediatric neurologist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, which will include a physical exam and medical history. In order to ensure the neurologist has a full understanding of the child’s needs, please bring any previous test results including:
- Lab work, which may include metabolic testing (lactic acid, urine and organic amino acids, plasma amino acids)
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)(A test that tracks and records brain wave patterns through small metal discs placed on the scalp)
- Diagnostic imaging studies such as an MRI (a test that uses magnets and radio waves to create anatomical pictures of the body), MRS (a test that uses magnets and radio waves to show chemical compositions of the body) or CT (a test that uses X-rays to create anatomical pictures of the body)
- Previous psychological or cognitive evaluations
The neurologist may request additional testing to either diagnose or rule out certain conditions.