Paediatricians role in caring for children with learning difficulties
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 05/25/2012
Roberts G et al. – Australian paediatric practice in this area is diverse, with the greatest variability around management practices. These data provide a case for designing and implementing evidence–based guidelines for the paediatric care of children who struggle to learn in school.
All 373 paediatrician members of the Australian Paediatric Research Network were invited to participate in an online survey in 2010.
Paediatricians who saw children with learning difficulties were asked questions about their assessment, referral and management practices.
Of 181 (49%) paediatricians to complete the survey, 140 (77%) reported seeing patients with learning difficulties.
Most often, paediatricians supplemented their clinical assessments with audiology assessments (75%), teacher or parent questionnaires (60–65%), or teacher contact (51%).
Paediatricians used medical investigations (40%), direct assessment tools (27%) or a school visit (4%) less often.
Most paediatricians referred children with learning difficulties to educational psychology (84%), special education (61%) or speech therapy (66%) services but less often to occupational therapy (34%) or mental health (15%) services.
The most common management strategies were to provide a report to the school (76%) or parents (66%) and to make recommendations around sleep hygiene (75%) and for tutoring (66%).
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