Our COP9 team would like to introduce you to the neuropediatrician. A specialist in neurological pathologies, they work in a pediatric department in a hospital or in private practices. They are part of the medical specialties that will be able to perform explorations in order to diagnose and orient young patients with a cerebral pathology. This professional provides a health framework for their young patients, and many answers for the parents. But what exactly are their missions? What diseases do they treat? How does a consultation take place? Discover our explanations, and more, in this article.
What are the missions of a neuropediatrician?
The neuropediatrician’s mission is to accompany children and adolescents suffering from one or more diseases of the nervous system. To do this, they will act at different levels:
- to carry out functional examinations according to the inconveniences encountered by the young person ;
- present a set of treatment options in line with cognitive and cerebral development ;
- carry out a possible exploration in order to find the origin of the problem ;
- propose a team of pediatric practitioners who are experts in pediatric pathology ;
- refer the families to a hospital center, with a specialized pediatric service.
This practitioner offers parents an ideal contact for children with neurodevelopmental disorders (article available in French only). The neuropediatrician not only provides state-of-the-art care, but also assembles a multidisciplinary team to meet the specific needs of the child. The neuropediatrician is there to answer the most urgent and specific questions in neuropediatrics, and is a specialist to whom families can turn to for comprehensive care.
How does a consultation with a neuropediatrician proceed?
Families are usually referred to a pediatric neurologist by their treating physician or a specialist such as Dr. Stephanie Zwillinger, a pediatric ophthalmologist.
If the consultation is done in a university hospital, it will be done on an outpatient basis, there is no need to hospitalize the child. Otherwise, the private neuropediatrician receives their patients in their practice equipped with the necessary material for a neurology appointment.
The first consultation is often motivated by an observation made by another health professional. They may have a suspicion of a dysfunction, or of another cerebral pathology, which is outside their field of specialization. They therefore recommend the child and their family to the neuropediatrician by means of a written medical referral, which allows them to make an appointment as soon as possible.
During this first meeting, the family’s medical history is established: the parents answer the specialist’s questions, specifying any pathologies that may be potentially hereditary. Symptoms are also discussed and detailed as they evolve over time.
Finally, a physical examination is carried out. Nevertheless, other tests may be requested later if the specialist deems it necessary.
The goal is to recover enough elements for the multidisciplinary team following the young patient to find clues that can lead to the exact diagnosis of the pathology the patient is suffering from.
What does the neuropediatrician take care of ?
Neuropediatricians treat conditions specific to the brain, known as neurological pathologies. They are neurologists who specialize in the medical care of children with abnormalities and diseases of the brain system.
As an example, these practitioners will follow children who:
- have any abnormal movements ;
- suffer from epilepsy ;
- have uncontrolled gestures ;
- have language problems ;
- have difficulties in fixing their gaze (such as numerous saccades) ;
- show behavioral problems.
The neurologist will also take charge of part of the child’s therapeutic education, to help the child learn to live with and cope with their symptoms. They can also refer the child to physical medicine and rehabilitation to complete the treatment.
However, this specialist brain doctor does not take care of mental health (article available in French only), such as :
- anxiety ;
- depression ;
- eating disorders.
In this case, the child and their family are referred to a child psychiatrist to receive the necessary therapeutic approach.
COP9 and the neuropediatrician
The neuropediatrician will work in collaboration with other specialists, such as child psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, and pediatric ophthalmologists.
Our COP9 facility is a multidisciplinary reference center where we can provide you with appointments in : pediatric ophthalmology, contactology, orthoptics and psychomotricity.
Thanks to her experience, Dr. Stéphanie Zwillinger can make one or more diagnoses, including an initial screening for potential neuropediatric pathologies. Thanks to her network of health professionals, she will be able to refer you to a neuropediatrician for consultations in a day hospital or in the practice, so that the latter can provide the necessary outpatient care for the child’s development.To finish our article, the neuropediatrician takes care of children of all ages (newborns to teenagers), in order to follow and treat neurological disorders. Our clinic offers a first diagnosis and ensures that neurological disorders are taken care of as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to make an appointment for your child’s eyes.