Over the past decade, there has been an increasing awareness of the importance of developmental and behavioral issues in the lives of typically developing children and their families, as well as for children who have developmental/behavioral dysfunction.
For example, all recently developed guidelines for well-child care now include developmental screening, or surveillance topics which are to be discussed at each visit.
Additionally, with the trend towards community living, away from institutionalization, most mentally retarded and physically handicapped children will be living at home with their families.
Pediatricians are therefore expected to provide primary and even some subspecialty care to these affected children, and must therefore also be prepared to offer counseling and guidance to their families in the way of resources and services.
Based on these trends, pediatric residency training programs recognized a need to improve the way Pediatricians were being trained in the areas of behavior and development.
As a result of changes that were implemented, pediatric residents in accredited programs must now spend at least one month during either their second or third years concentrating on developmental and behavioral issues in a more formal, structured manner.
The residency rotation in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center has evolved to meet this challenge, and provides its Pediatric residents with a well-rounded experience in this area. National Residency Review Committee guidelines are followed, and the rotation is mandatory for all pediatric residents at NYU Langone Medical Center.
The basic curriculum now includes background in the normal development of the infant and young child, training and a hands-on experience in the needs of the physically handicapped child, experience in Audiology and an understanding of the needs of the hearing impaired child, experience with learning disabilities, and exposure to the assessment and neurological examination of the developmentally delayed child.
The program also includes an ongoing, hands-on experience in pain management in children, and exposure to the unique situation of the child with special needs who is in foster care.
Residents are taught to master basic screening procedures for young children and the school-aged child, and are exposed to the use of more comprehensive neurodevelopmental assessment tools.
The curriculum also includes involvement with the Reach Out and Read Program of Bellevue Hospital, and experience with a behavioral psychologist who works through common behavioral issues (oftentimes overwhelming for families).
Through these experiences, residents gain an understanding of family, social, and school issues. The roles of the many professionals involved with assessing and/or treating the affected child and family are emphasized, so that the residents truly understand and experience the meaning of a multidisciplinary team.
Finally, the program has expanded to include a post-residency fellowship, which has become an integral part of the rotation, as well.