Developmental and Psychosocial Training

The purpose of Developmental and Psychosocial training is to assist trainees to develop a sophisticated understanding of child development, encompassing physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social areas, which should be gained from the perspective of the child within the family and in the context of the community.

Developmental and Psychosocial Training can be undertaken during Basic Training or Advanced Training regardless of whether trainees are undertaking general or specialty training and is a requirement for all Paediatric and Child Health trainees.

Australian Paediatrics & Child Health Division trainees

The developmental and psychosocial component of training for all paediatricians was introduced to ensure that the changing nature of paediatric practice is reflected in the training programs undertaken within Australia. A mandatory period of training in developmental and behavioural aspects of paediatrics must be included in the program.

The training consists of a minimum six-month period in one or more of the following areas:

  • Developmental/behavioural paediatrics
  • Community paediatrics
  • Disability/rehabilitation paediatrics
  • Child protection
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Palliative Medicine

Trainees must nominate a supervisor for the Developmental and Psychosocial Training component, either during Basic Training or Advanced Training. A satisfactory Supervisor’s Report for Developmental and Psychosocial Training will be required for the training to be certified.

The following are acceptable training options:

  • Six months in a prospectively approved psychosocial training position. The six months must be completed as two three-month terms, a block of six months or as a continuous part-time position, i.e. 2.5 days per week for 12 months (please note that a conglomerate of experience for shorter time periods adding up to six months will not be acceptable).
  • Six months in a prospectively approved rural position that has a documented weekly program in the psychosocial training areas and an appropriate level of supervision.
  • Attendance at a prospectively approved clinic for two sessions a week for 18 months, or one session a week for three years, plus completion of an approved learning module.

An approved clinic is one where other health/educational professionals are involved, and where supervision is directed by a paediatrician experienced in an area or areas of Developmental and Psychosocial Training (such as behaviour, development, rehabilitation, and child protection). An approved learning module includes one of the following options:

  • Evidence of attendance at a lecture series devoted to the topics included in Developmental and Psychosocial Training in a recognised institution
  • Three referenced case reports/essays (1500–2000 words) demonstrating a detailed understanding of three different issues in the areas of psychosocial training (e.g. rehabilitation, community paediatrics, etc.)
  • Completion of the Griffith Mental Developmental Scales course
  • Other prospectively approved modules may be considered.

New Zealand Paediatrics & Child Health Division trainees

The Advanced Training Committee in General Paediatrics (New Zealand) will determine whether this requirement has been met. All New Zealand registered paediatric trainees in other specialties are required to meet this requirement.

The training consists of a minimum three-month period in one or more of the following areas:

  • Developmental/behavioural paediatrics
  • Community paediatrics
  • Disability/rehabilitation paediatrics
  • Child protection and adolescent psychiatry
  • Adolescent medicine.

These areas reflect a holistic approach to the health problems of children and young people; they require an understanding of the roles and inter-relationships of many allied health and community-based services in a way that distinguishes them from experience in organ-based specialties.

Alternatively, trainees can gain the required experience by managing suitable cases over a longer period of time with appropriate supervision. This experience must be documented in a logbook.

Trainees should keep a record of at least 12 cases they have personally managed under supervision. Copies of clinical letters are not appropriate. There should be a summary of the issues involved, and how they were managed. These cases will normally be accumulated over a two-year period, and each case record must be signed by the supervisor. Examples of how this might be done are available from the College.

The range of conditions that should be included in the logbook are:

  • Developmental problems, with a focus on the response of parents, families and care-givers to the diagnosis and ongoing care of the child with special needs
  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • General learning disability – the behaviour problems that arise secondary to this condition
  • Chronic illness – behavioural and psychological problems resulting from chronic illness, and parent and family difficulties resulting from chronic conditions, such as diabetes, epilepsy, chronic arthritis, chronic respiratory disease, physical disability and childhood cancer
  • Common behavioural paediatric problems such as enuresis, encopresis, sleep disturbance, eating difficulties, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, anxiety, depression, and pre-school behavioural adjustment disorders.

The trainee should nominate a paediatrician with a special interest and skill in behavioural paediatrics or, where available, a child psychiatrist or paediatric clinical psychologist who will act as their supervisor.

The College program director will provide the nominated supervisor with information about the requirements for the logbook and will also review the logbook.

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