- Thomas K. McInerny
"Doctor, I just had a conference with my son's teacher because my son seems to be doing poorly this year." Thus begins an increasingly common phone call to the pediatrician. Parents usually rely on their pediatrician, as a trusted professional of several years' duration, for advice and assistance when informed of their child's academic shortcomings. Although the first inclination may be to consider the problem as educational rather than medical, the pediatrician has an important role to play in caring for his or her patient by guiding the parents through the steps necessary to remediate the situation. Parents often are confused or intimidated by educators and turn to their pediatrician for strength and guidance in dealing with the educational "system." With some effort, most pediatricians can acquire the skills necessary to intervene successfully. In fact, they already possess many of those skills: a knowledge of child development, good rapport with the family, concern for the child's total well-being, and professional stature in the community. By taking the time to become familiar with the school programs in the area, to gain a passing knowledge of psychoeducational testing (also see article on page 338), and to determine appropriate referral sources for further assistance, the pediatrician can be the child's advocate in such situations.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics