In the medical field, routine care for children includes check-ups, school or camp physicals, immunizations, treatment of common colds, coughs, and earaches – the medical issues most children experience whether or not they have special needs. While many children on the autism spectrum see developmental pediatricians, child neurologists, or pediatric psychiatrists, these specialists for children with special needs do not provide routine care. Rather, a medical physician or pediatrician provides routine care and specialists are called in as consultants as needed. 1
It is very important to find a pediatrician or family practice doctor with whom you feel comfortable and who can meet your family’s unique needs. Whether you are looking for a new pediatrician or looking to switch doctors, below is a list of questions and things to keep in mind to make sure you find a doctor who will be a good match for your family.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Is the doctor covered under your insurance plan?
- Does your child have other doctors or specialists, and therefore you need them to be open to discussion with one another?
- Do you need to access a doctor more frequently, and therefore need someone close to home?
- Does your child have more complex medical needs than other children or is the major difficulty in the area of development and behavior? 2
Questions To Ask The Doctor:
- Do you have experience with other children in your practice who are on the autism spectrum?
- Do you feel comfortable working in a team with other specialists, our family, and the school or day care?
- How available are you or your staff for questions?
- Do you have extended or weekend office hours?
- Are you active on any community boards or organizations that focus on children with special needs? 2
1 Healthy kids “A Pediatrician for Your Child with Special Needs: Making a Good Match,” (pdf) Blackman, James A. M.D. and Allaire, Janet H. M.A. (2003) http://www3.irissoft.com/csc1/pdf/ Choosing%20a%20Pediatrician.pdf (29 November 2008)
2 “The Right Questions to Ask When Looking for a Pediatrician,” Blackman, James A. M.D. and Janet H Allaire, M.A. (pdf) http://www3.irissoft.com/csc1/pdf/Choosing%20a%20Pediatrician.pdf (29 November 2008)