Pediatricians are medical doctors who have an MD and have completed four years of medical school in addition to an internship and residency in their area of specialty. Pediatricians evaluate, diagnose, and treat childhood medical illnesses, as well as monitor the development of children as they grow.
Parents often turn to their pediatrician when they notice their child is having behavioral difficulties or does not seem to be keeping up with his age-mates in developing skills. The advantage of seeing a pediatrician is that they see hundreds of children and know what behavior is typical and what behavior is outside the norm. They know at what age children should be developing various skills. While some pediatricians are skilled in evaluating Asperger’s Disorder, most of them structure their practice for short visits with an eye toward quick evaluation and treatment.
Pediatric practices are usually not designed for the lengthy interviews necessary to evaluate Asperger’s Disorder; however, they are a good source for a referral for a more in-depth evaluation by another specialist. Do not be surprised if your pediatrician is not very experienced with Asperger’s Disorder. Being a relatively newly recognized disorder, some pediatricians may not have yet gained the expertise in Asperger’s Disorder.