Medical Specialties

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics is a subspecialty of pediatrics that focuses on:

  • Understanding the complex developmental processes of infants, children, adolescents and young adults, in the context of their families and communities;
  • Understanding the biological, psychological, and social influences on development in the emotional, social, motor, language, and cognitive domains;
  • Mechanisms for primary and secondary prevention of disorders in behavior and development;
  • Identification and treatment of disorders of behavior and development throughout childhood and adolescence.

Click here for a chart of competencies met at each location.

Rotation Goal:

To provide understanding and foster optimal cognitive, social, and emotional functioning of the patients and their families achieved through the collaboration of several medical and non-medical disciplines through their own unique and complementary perspectives. Disciplines include, but are not limited to: child and adolescent psychiatry, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychology, neurodevelopmental disabilities, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, speech and language pathology, audiology, education, and public health.

Rotation Requirements:

A program for graduate medical education in DBP must provide instruction, scholarly opportunities, and clinical experience in DBP to enable residents to diagnosis and treat patients with developmental-behavioral disorders. Educational experience must include responsibility for patient care, the development of clinical proficiency, involvement in community-based activities, and the development of skills in child advocacy. Residents must participate in clinical training activities, including direct and indirect patient care activities, observations, teaching conferences, clinical supervision, and related activities. Competencies should be met in six core areas; practice-based learning and improvement, system-based practice, patient care, medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, and professionalism.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement:

Residents must demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their care of patients, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and continuously improve based on self-evaluation and life-long learning. Residents are expected to develop skills and habits to help them meet the following goals:

  • identify strengths, deficiencies and limits in knowledge and expertise
  • set learning and improvement goals
  • identify and perform appropriate leaning activities
  • analyze practice using quality improvement methods and implement changes
  • locate, appraise and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to patient health problems
  • use information technology to optimize learning
  • participate in the education of patients, families, students, residents, and other health professionals

System Based Practice:

Residents need to acquire knowledge of, and have experience with, health-care systems, community resources, support services, and the structure and administration of educational programs for children with and without special educational needs. Program faculty must provide instruction in legislative processes (local, state, and national), health-care policy, child advocacy organizations, and the legal and judicial systems for children and families, including child welfare/protection systems.

Patient Care:

Residents must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective. Competencies in this area can be met through screening and surveillance techniques, patient and family interviews to ascertain history and function, and through understanding the major diagnostic classification schemas.

Medical Knowledge:

Structured curriculum that yields a better understanding of the following topics:

  • Aspects of substance use/abuse
  • Assessment of behavioral adjustment and temperament
  • Attention disorders
  • Atypical behaviors
  • Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Biological mechanisms of behavior and development
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Complementary and alternative approaches
  • Consultations and referrals
  • Developmental and behavioral adaptation to a variety of acute, chronic and physical illness
  • Early intervention and education
  • Elimination problems
  • Evidence-based interventions
  • Externalizing conditions
  • Family and social/cultural factors that contribute to development
  • Feeding/eating difficulties
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Integration of evaluations from other disciplines
  • Internalizing behaviors
  • Issues from variations in family structure
  • Language and learning disorders
  • Major diagnostic classifications and schemas
  • Motor disabilities
  • Neurodevelopmental assessment
  • Psychosocial development styles
  • Sleep disorders
  • Somatoform conditions
  • Theories of the process of normal development from infancy to young adulthood
  • Variations in sexual development

Interpersonal and Communication Skills:

Residents are expected to adapt skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, families, and health care professionals such as:

  • communicate with physicians, other health professionals, and health related agencies
  • communicate with patients, families, and the public appropriately across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds
  • work effectively as a member or leader of a health care team or professional group
  • maintain comprehensive, timely and legible medical records (if applicable)
  • act in a consultative role  to other physicians and professionals


Residents should demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and ethical practices:

  • compassion, integrity and respect
  • responsiveness to patient needs that supersede self-interests
  • respect for privacy and autonomy
  • accountability
  • sensitivity and responsiveness to diverse populations 

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