Child Psychiatrist Vs. Developmental Pediatrician In Brooklyn: What’s The Difference?

When you are seeking to help your child overcome mental health problems or developmental issues, you may hear some terms being used interchangeably. These two terms are child psychiatrist and developmental pediatrician. The reality is that these two terms refer to two different kinds of professionals. The only common link between the two is that they both work with your child to ensure that they grow up healthy and achieve the developmental milestones that children are supposed to achieve at different stages of their lives. So what is the difference? Let us look at the roles of a child psychiatrist vs. developmental pediatrician in Brooklyn.

What Is A Child Psychiatrist?

A child psychiatrist is a medical professional whose ultimate focus is the mental health of children. They work with children of all ages, up to the age of 18. For them to achieve their goals, child psychiatrists will often work with the community of people around the child. This includes parents or anyone who is the primary caregiver of the child in question. They also work with teachers, as well as any other significant individuals in the child’s life. They are trained to understand and treat behavioral, biological, social, and even familial issues that may affect the mental health of the child.

Some of the medical conditions that a child psychiatrist can handle in children include depression, autism, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders, among many others. To do this, they typically have to use two or more techniques and approaches to assess and manage the issue at hand. These techniques and approaches include psychiatric assessments, laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging exams, and much more. They also have a license to prescribe medication for their patients to help them cope with the conditions that they may be suffering from.

What Is A Developmental Pediatrician?

Developmental pediatricians are also medical specialists whose focus is to treat any learning or developmental issues that your child may be suffering from. These medical professionals are able to provide help with a wide range of developmental issues, such as learning difficulties (math disorders, dyslexia, and others). They are also able to provide help with attention disorders such as conduct problems, attention deficit or hyperactivity, and much more. 

What Is The Difference?

As you may have noticed from our definition, there is a lot of overlap between the two fields. In the adult world, it is similar to the overlap between adult psychiatry and behavioral neurology. Unlike child psychiatrists, developmental pediatricians seldom prescribe stimulant medications to their patients.  If developmental pediatricians  realize that a medication regime will be required for a particular child, they are likely to refer the child to a child psychiatrist. However, the fact that they focus on developmental issues means that they are well-placed to handle these kinds of issues, both in terms of training and experience. In this sense, if a parent understands what exactly is wrong with the child (such as a learning difficulty), they may seek the help of a developmental pediatrician who specializes in learning difficulties. However, for the assessment and management of conditions that are yet unknown, a child psychiatrist may be a better starting point.