Developmental screening is a routine monitoring process used to identify any potential developmental delays in children. Early detection is a valuable tool in terms of treating health and development issues. Developmental screenings can identify delays in milestones that can indicate diagnoses of autism, mental retardation and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, among others.
Screenings are performed through questions and questionnaires during a well-child checkup to ensure that your child is progressing at a normal rate. This takes only a few minutes at each doctor's visit, but can play a major role in identifying and then treating early developmental conditions.
Tests of visual acuity are used to assess eyesight. Visual acuity testing may be performed on its own or as part of a well child exam. It is generally done to determine if a patient's vision is sharp and accurate or if it is blurry.
Visual acuity tests can evaluate how well a person can see objects close up as well as at a far distance. Most visual acuity testing involves identifying letters or symbols on an eye chart at a certain distance, but a special camera will be used for screening younger children.
Audiologic evaluations, or hearing tests, are comprehensive diagnostic exams which determine if a newborn or child has any hearing loss, the cause and extent of the hearing loss, and the best treatment options.
Newborn hearing screenings include Otoacoustic Emissions tests, or OAE tests, and auditory brainstem response test or ABR tests. OAE tests use soft acoustics to record the newborn’s reaction to the sound, while ABR tests examine brain waves in order to determine the extent of any hearing loss.
Common hearing tests for older children include a Diagnostic Audiogram, which uses specific frequency and intensity levels to determine what a person can hear in each ear. Normal results of this test allow for a patient to hear a normal speaking voice, whisper and ticking of a watch. Another common test, known as Tympanometry, provides useful information about any problems in the middle ear. Tympanometry is performed when a probe is placed in the ear, changing air pressure in the ear, and making the eardrum move back and forth. The tests will measure how the ear reacts to different sounds, and pressures.
If results of these tests show significant hearing loss, hearing aids or treatment may be required.
While infants are protected from certain diseases at birth because of antibodies passed on from the mother, this protection is only temporary. Immunization from these diseases can be achieved through vaccination shots, which use small amounts of killed or weakened microorganisms to trigger an immune response. This helps our immune system to develop antibodies-much as it would if it was fighting off the true disease. Immunizations will protect the patient from specific illnesses long term.
Many diseases that could cause serious illness and even death are rare today because of routine immunizations. Diseases such as polio, measles and pertussis infected thousands of people every year, leaving some of the stricken permanently disabled and killing others. When you immunize, you greatly reduce or eliminate your chance of developing that specific disease.
Some of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include:
- Hepatitis A and B, which protect against these potentially serious liver diseases
- Pneumococcal and Hib vaccine, to protect against pneumonia, meningitis and certain blood infections
- Tetanus, usually in the form of DTaP or Tdap, to protect against this disease that causes pain and muscle stiffness and can be fatal
- Influenza, to protect against developing the flu, must be given annually to vaccinate for the specific strains that are circulating each year
Evening flu clinics are offered at each office in the fall. Also note that pertussis and flu vaccines are available for parents of newborns.
One blood sample can be tested for numerous conditions. Blood tests can be valuable in identifying potential health issues before symptoms even arise. They may also be helpful in securing a diagnosis when symptoms are present. Blood tests can aid in the monitoring of a condition and in the evaluation of how well it is responding to treatment, too.
Urine tests as well as strep tests, flu tests, and other non-blood tests can also be helpful in diagnosing illnesses or conditions. For example, a test of your child's urine screens for the presence of blood, protein, white blood cells and sugar to rule out a number of health conditions. This test may be done during a well child exam or as part of a sick patient evaluation when necessary.
We offer a complimentary prenatal consultation for expectant parents. A prenatal consultation serves as an opportunity to meet with the doctor to discuss the details of pregnancy and the upcoming birth. If you are pregnant, feel free to call and schedule a prenatal consultation with one of our doctors.
We welcome an IBCLC Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Sarah Early, to our Pediatric Associates family!
You can view Sarah's services at www.LactationAdvisor.com. She will be offering in-office lactation consultations.