Dr Elizabeth Green is a voice for families concerned about their child’s social, emotional, physical and academic development. She understands that some children have complex ‘neurodevelopmental’ problems that make life more challenging:
- Autism -children with speech, language, communication and play and behavioural difficulties.
- Anxiety – overwhelming fears which make children scared, angry, emotional, sad and withdrawn. School and social ‘phobias’ which prevent children from going to school or playing with friends.
- ADHD - problems listening, processing and remembering information. Poor organisational and planning skills. Problems with self-regulation (settling and calming) and impulsive and reactive behaviours.
- Learning disorders – children with brains that do great and clever things but not always when ordered to read, write, spell and do math.
Dr Green for personal reasons has closed her private paediatric practice and is grateful to the thousands of families for their compassion and in trusting her care with their babies, toddlers, children and young adults.
For families seeking ongoing medical support she advises that a referral is required from a doctor for their child to see a paediatrician and access Medicare benefits. In private practice there will likely be a gap payment that varies between practices. A referral from a family doctor lasts for 12 months and from a specialist doctor 3 months.
Urgent medical and crisis care for Perth families is available at emergency departments of tertiary and children’s hospitals. They include Fiona Stanley Hospital, St John of God Hospital, Murdoch private emergency department and the Perth Children’s Hospital.
Family doctors have excellent training, knowledge and compassion to provide a high standard of care for children and remain a priority pit stop for families.
Parents connect through social media to facilitate heaps of options that doctors might not know. There are many awesome sites. I include one, as it has some referral ideas for “stranded” families who need help: https://www.perthkidshub.com.au/dr-elizabeth-green/
Who else to consult?
- Child health nurses – assess the development of infants and young children and can liaise hearing and vision screens.
- Speech pathologists – identify problems with how children speak, comprehend, listen, understand and play. They may identify early autism symptoms.
- Occupational therapists – evaluate school readiness skills including behaviour, self-regulation and sensory and co-ordination problems.
- Physiotherapists – can help children with delayed crawling, sitting and walking. They assess kids with hypermobility or ‘bendy’ joints.
- Audiologists – check that kids can hear.
- Developmental optometrists – check that kids can see.
- School or private developmental and educational psychologists – identify school learning and attentional problems in students who are under-achieving or failing school. They do IQ (psychometric) testing. This documents learning strengths and weaknesses. It does not tell parents how funny, quirky, lovable or creative their child is and what amazing things they can do!
- Psychologists, clinical psychologists, counsellors, social workers, teachers and mentors – can take charge and facilitate appropriate intervention when a child suffers from severe anxiety, depression, cyberbullying or eating problems.
The child who gets sick quick and sicker quicker needs to be seen quickly!
If a child has any of the following they need urgent medical assessment at the nearest children’s or general emergency department or with the family doctor:
- Temperature – the very hot or extremely cold child
- Lethargy – floppy, no energy.
- Colour – very pale or blueish tinge to fingers, toes and lips.
- Breathing – very fast or very slow; gasping or wheezing.
- Heart rate – extremely rapid, irregular, or hard to detect.
- Headache – severe, especially if also very hot, irritable, vomiting or rash.
- Vomiting – if green bile, blood or dehydrated, i.e.: dry nappies or not much wee.
- Diarrhoea – frequent, not drinking or weeing, blood in pooh, abdominal pain.
- Rash – sudden onset in a pale, unwell child who is getting sick quick.
Mental health crises
Severe anxiety or depression, domestic violence, drug or alcohol use or ‘psychosis’ can result in a crisis situation. Attendance at a hospital emergency department may be necessary. Stay calm. If your safety or that of your child is at risk call the police.
Try to prevent this catastrophic situation. Never strike, hit or hurt a child. If your family have mental health problems act early. See a local doctor, psychologist, mental health nurse or social worker.
Contact a 24/7 crisis number or resource such as:
- Lifeline suicide crisis intervention on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline (5 to 25 years) on 1800 55 1800
- CAMHS Crisis Connect on 1800 048 636, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- SANE Australia
- HelpingMinds (previously Arafmi)
- DAYS – Drug and Alcohol Youth Service: https://www.mhc.wa.gov.au/about-us/our-services/next-step-drug-and-alcohol-services/drug-and-alcohol-youth-service-days/