Our children today are more challenged that at any other time in history. While the past of pediatrics was the threat of infectious disease, the pediatric dilemmas of today include the escalating rates of inattention and ADHD, sensory issues, autism, allergies and asthma, and as highlighted in our news cycles, the mental health of our children. I often hear parents say things like, “we don’t go to the pediatrician because my kids are never sick,” or “we don’t vaccinate, so there’s no need for those regular check-ups.”
Sickness today is subtle, hidden and not always associated with a fever. It is the culmination of chronic inflammation that surprises us as various junctures in our child’s journey; anxiety in a 5-year-old, Pandas in a brilliant 8-year-old, polycystic ovarian syndrome in a 14-year-old and obesity that sees no boundaries of race, age, or socioeconomic status. The utility of pediatric wellness visits goes beyond vaccinations and sick-management. In fact, comprehensive well checks, that address the issues of children today, are a crucial part of your child’s overall wellness, and must be addressed. At CentreSpring MD + Peds, our wellness visits are complete assessments of the many dimensions of prevention, with the goal of helping every child achieve their highest health potential.
Children today need the traditional wellness visits that include the benchmarks of your child’s development: growth, height, weight, head circumference and developmental milestones that we all know, such as when your child rolls, crawls, walks, talks and more. But they also need visits that address head-on and anticipate the issues of today and tomorrow. Here is what is missing; all children today need to be assessed for inflammation, the condition of their gut health, their nutritional status, immune function and as they get older, their hormone health. Pediatrics today is failing to catch the impact that a changing environment is having on our children’s health; the impact of environmental toxins, food dyes, preservatives, processed foods, stress, divorce, and weak immune systems. The only way to do this is to pull every tool from multiple systems of medicine to assess and evaluate children completely. This includes using nutritional evaluations, development screens, attention tests, sensory tests, laboratory tests, genetic tests, energetic tests that help us to anticipate your child’s physical and emotional needs, along with bio-matching the right products and of course, a detailed history and physical.
At conventional practices, well checks are scheduled for 15 or 20 minute slots. At CentreSpring MD, we allot 45 minutes for these visits, and that’s just your time with your provider. This gives us the time we need to do a full assessment and answer all of the parents’ questions. We never have to rush through a well visit, which gives both the parents and the providers peace of mind.
For kids over the age of 2-years-old, we offer additional energetic testing that can help guide workup and management. The acugraph assesses your child’s Chinese Medicine meridians so we can see where there’s an imbalance or area that needs more attention. The Zyto Scan can pick up possible nutritional deficiencies and can point out stressors to your child’s system. Sometimes these tests bring to light areas that we wouldn’t have otherwise investigated further. They help us see the big picture and focus our workups and treatment plans. They also match your child to the products and supplements that will work.
Complete Developmental Assessment
Monitoring development from infancy through childhood is so important. All pediatricians do a developmental screen, but at CentreSpringMD + Peds, we dive a bit deeper because we have more time. We do the MCHAT screening on all children and detailed developmental assessment. I love to interact with my patients, really getting to see all the ways they are growing and thriving. “Playing” with them during their visits helps me assess their developmental status. I’m a huge believer in early intervention, so if I see any mild delays in development, I like to monitor very closely and refer early for additional workup and treatment. For instance, a 16-month-old who is still not walking independently will get a referral for PT. Though this is technically still within normal limits, it doesn’t hurt to have another professional do an evaluation to see if a few therapy sessions would be helpful.
Thorough Laboratory Testing
Routine well visits in older kids can include some lab work, even if there are no concerns. We look at their vitamin and mineral levels like Vitamin D, B12, Folate, and Magnesium. We screen for anemia and thyroid function. Of course, if there are any concerns we broaden the lab work up to include additional tests such as food allergies, autoimmune studies, or infectious titers. One of the wonderful things about our practice is that we can dive even deeper beyond what conventional labs can check. We can check for methylation abnormalities and for gene markers that determine function; including MTHFR and COMT. Through some specialty labs like Genova, we offer tests for food sensitivities, in-depth nutritional levels, neurotransmitter levels, and complete evaluations of gut health. With this wealth of information, we are able to perfectly fine-tune and personalize each child’s treatment plan.
The Individualized Treatment Plan
Based on the history we take, our thorough exam, our energetic tests, and any lab work we obtain, we develop a personalized, specific plan for each child. This includes dietary recommendations because food IS medicine! It also includes recommendations to help enhance their cognitive, motor and social development. We also make recommendations for stress-control and best sleep. And finally each child’s treatment plan includes some specific, bio-matched supplements, vetted by our team, that will help them thrive.
It is our absolute pleasure helping children grow and reach their most vibrant health potential at our regular wellness visits. We do pediatrics differently.
|Dr. Jamilet Alegria, M.D., joined the CentreSpring MD team of providers in the fall of 2016 after spending years as a Pediatric Hospitalist at both CHOC Children’s in Orange County and at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Inpatient Pediatrics Unit in Southern California.|
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