Well visits (check ups) are an essential part of keeping your children healthy. Comprehensive care means more than just healing sick children and well visits are not just the time to get camp and school forms filled out.
The first year of life is a critical time for growth and development. Tracking an infant’s weight, length and head size is just a small part of what we do. Working with the feeding challenges and changing nutritional requirements are routine topics of discussion. We are careful to assess each infant’s developmental progress and milestones as well.
The period referred to as early childhood, from age 12 months through 4 years, is a time of great growth and development. We begin formal evaluations of vision, hearing, blood pressure, lead and hemoglobin. Parents frequently look for guidance in dealing with temper tantrums, behavior and other discipline issues. We also continue to closely monitor motor and intellectual development for signs of concern. This includes formal screening for Autism. All of these assessments allows us to identify areas of concern as early as possible in order to develop a plan to address these issues.
Ages 5 through 10 years is referred to as middle childhood. During well visits we focus on appropriate growth and nutrition, ensuring that children are not developing early signs of obesity. We continue to assess for abnormalities in blood pressure, hearing and vision. The transition to grade school often requires a great deal of guidance to ensure children’s learning and emotional needs are addressed.
One of the most challenging age periods, for both parents and children, is adolescence. Puberty brings great physical and emotional changes that require patience, education and support. At well visits during this time, we assess for nutritional issues including obesity, bulimia and anorexia. These check ups ensure normal timing of body changes associated with puberty. The emotional health and maturation of an adolescent also require careful monitoring and support. Areas of concern include sleep habits and risk taking behaviors, and we as pediatricians play an integral role in assessing these issues.