A wide range of paediatric presentations is seen. A back to basics approach is emphasised. The majority of childhood issues and behaviours do not have to amount to a definitive diagnosis or label, unless of course one is clinically apparent and relevant. It is important to explore the less overt and so often ignored factors which may be contributing to the picture. Assessing and investigating childhood issues is always a team effort where parents, guardians, carers and the kids themselves are ultimatly able to provide most of the clues. Not everything needs to be treated as a lot of symptoms are simply a normal part of childhood and growing up. Explanation, advice and guidance are crucial.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Growth in infancy and early childhood is influenced by a number of factors including environmental,dietary and genetic. Physical illness can sometimes be an issue.
It must be remembered that development is a spectrum and everyone is different! There does not have to be a "disorder" to explain individual characteristics! Nevertheless, significant deviation from normal should be noted and evaluated.
It is possible to survive much longer without food than it is without sleep. That's a fact!
Lack of sleep quantity, quality or both has a hugely detrimental effect on our daily functioning.
When your child takes a long time to fall asleep, wakes very early or through the night, chances are you will also be sleep-deprived and cranky. It affects the whole family and daily tasks become much harder than they should be.
Babies are indeed bundles of joy. An irritable and crying baby can, however, cause a lot of stress for parents and the whole family.
It must be remembered that the majority of crying in infants is normal. It is their way of communicating with the world! Most parents will be able to tell why their baby is upset. There is often not a medical explanation for this and it is part of normal development. Excessive crying and unhappiness can sometimes have an underlying cause which may be able to be addressed.
Different developmental stages of childhood present specific challenges for parents, grandparents, teachers and other carers. Tantrums are confronting, especially in public, but are normal in a toddler. Defiance and establishment of individual identity ensues. This is all to be expected but is often not easy to deal with on a daily basis. Childhood is fantastic and children must be allowed to be children for as long as possible but a framework of consistent and predictable boundaries and consequences is one of the best investments a parent can make.
Children start learning from the minute they are born. Every time a newborn baby looks at something new, a new brain connection forms! How very true is the old adage "You learn something new every day!" Learning never stops! Everyone learns in their own way and at their own pace. Not everyone is good at everything. Individual talents and abilities make the world a much more interesting place. Wouldn't it be boring if we were all good at the same things.
A healthy mind and healthy body go hand in hand. Anxiety and depression need to be recognised early. They come in many guises from school refusal, behaviour change, poor learning to somatic complaints. There can be a strong genetic component, but environmental influences must not be underestimated. The number of "friends" on social media, for example, does not equate to a solid support network and emotional stability. Whatever happened to "phone a friend" when you just need to talk?
We have seen a significant rise in mental health, attention deficit and school related issues post COVID lockdowns and indeed in this digital and screen-addicted era.
Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world. Many children present to hopitals all year round with shortness of breath, cough and wheeze. Luckily the majority of kids will grow out of their symptoms as they get older. That is little comfort now of course if they are consistently coughing through the night or having to keep their puffer under their pillow at all times.
The rate of allergy seems to be rising with ever-changing and often confusing messages about ways to prevent it. School lunch box choices have unfortunately become a lot more complicated even if your own child is not allergic.
Abdominal pain and headache are common complaints. While certain symptoms immediately invoke a red flag, sometimes no specific explanation can be found. Back and neck pain need to be treated seriously in childen but...can some of the rise in these presentations be explained by inactivity and time spent slouched over an electronic device?...Just throwing it out there...