Our Blog

Posts for category: Children's Health

By contactus@amherstpeds.com
August 29, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Flu   influenza   infection   vaccine  

We are happy to announce the opening of our flu clinic for the 2020-21 flu season. This year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of being immunized against influenza cannot be overstated. Please make sure your family and friends get vaccinated early. We hope you will do your part to protect your family and our community.

 

 

Please be aware that flu clinic appointments MUST be scheduled through the MyChart patient portal, and cannot be scheduled over the phone. We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

By Amherst Pediatrics
August 17, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Child Behavior ProblemsWhile we may not love it, all kids are going to act up, throw tantrums and be irritable at times; however, if your child is displaying negative actions and behaviors regularly, you may be concerned that there is something more going on. Is your child just “going through a phase” or is this a sign of a more serious problem?

Is This Normal Behavior?
 
Common behaviors issues may include:
  • Being defiant
  • Lying
  • Whining
  • Impulsivity
  • Issues around bedtime
  • Issues around food (being a “picky eater” or refusing to eat)
  • Anger
  • Temper tantrums
Most of these issues are common and while they certainly aren’t pleasant at the moment, they are typically fleeting. However, you may want to seek professional help if your child’s behaviors:
  • Are still occurring regardless of discipline or punishment
  • Are affecting their schoolwork and/or social interactions
  • Aren’t appropriate for their age (e.g. throwing temper tantrums as an older child)
While the behaviors above are fairly common in children, certain behaviors are not normal and should be a cause for concern:
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Harm to self, others, or animals
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there
  • Breaking the rules or skipping school
  • Sudden or extreme behavioral changes
  • Showing no remorse
How can a pediatrician help?

Pediatricians come equipped to handle and address any issues regarding your child’s health, and this includes behavioral concerns you may have as a parent. If your pediatrician believes that a developmental, neurological, or mental health disorder could be to blame, then they may recommend additional testing and evaluations. This is done either through their practice or with a specific specialist who can properly diagnose and treat certain conditions such as depression, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder.

Based on the results of your child’s screening, your pediatrician will then be able to create a custom treatment plan to help you and your child manage their condition and their symptoms. Your pediatrician can also refer your child to therapists and other specialists who can also provide additional support and treatment for the whole family.

If you’re having concerns about your child’s behavior, it’s best to talk with your pediatrician at your child’s next wellness checkup.
By Amherst Pediatrics
July 16, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Vision Test  
Vision TestParents want nothing more than their children to be healthy and happy. This applies to every element of their well-being, including their eyes! Your pediatrician recommends that all children receive a comprehensive eye exam by the age of one. These tests detect any problems that require correction. Prolonging an exam can damage your child’s eyes for life. 
 
When Should My Child’s Vision Be Tested?
Your child should have had several tests done by the age of five. This confirms for your pediatrician that they are developing normally. Follow this recommended time-table: 
  • At birth: this is performed right away on your child, as part of the newborn physical assessment.
  • 6 months: your pediatrician evaluates your child’s eyes at their regular appointment. 
  • 3.5 years old: at your child’s appointment, the pediatrician tests their eyes and also their visual acuity. 
  • 5 years old: a standard assessment performed at a pediatric appointment. 
After this, eye screenings are implemented at your discretion. Your pediatrician will check your child’s eyes at their annual checkup. If your child fails an eye exam, you need to schedule a full pediatric eye evaluation right away. 
 
Another reason you should get your child’s eyes checked is if you have a family history of eye conditions. This is especially true if you have other children that have vision problems.
 
Why Does My Child Need an Eye Exam If They Passed the Vision Screening?
There are certain circumstances where your pediatrician refers your child for a full eye examination. This is common for infants that show signs of a lazy eye or crossed eyes. Other possible red flags in infants are problems tracking objects or a strangely colored pupil. 
 
Is your child struggling in school? Don’t jump to conclusions without an eye examination from your pediatrician. If a child can’t see the board or follow along with lessons, their performance will suffer. Corrective eyewear and other treatment options can help. Eye examinations are even more important for children with learning disabilities. Eye problems can make coping with a learning disorder much harder. 
 
What to Expect at Your Child’s Eye Examination
Your child has nothing to be worried about at their appointment. There is nothing scary or painful! The pediatrician will ask you about your family history, especially anything related to eye health. From there, they check your child’s pupil and muscle function, along with sharpness.
 
In certain cases, your pediatrician will dilate the eyes. This is performed by placing special drops in the eyes. After about forty minutes, the pediatrician can examine the major structures. 
By Amherst Pediatrics
July 16, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Sports Injuries   Injury  
Child's Sports InjuriesRegular physical activity is so important for your child’s health. If they have decided to start playing on a sports team this can also be a great way for them to build confidence and socialize. Of course, pediatricians also understand just how important it is to keep your little athlete healthy both on and off the field. If your child does sustain an injury your pediatrician may be the first person to help, so it’s important to find a pediatrician that you and your family trust.
 
Preventing Injuries
The goal is always to help your child prevent sports injuries and your pediatrician can become an integral part of providing the preventive care your child needs to stay healthy. This starts with an annual sports physical, in which your child will receive a comprehensive physical exam from a qualified pediatrician to make sure that they are healthy enough for their chosen sport. Your pediatrician can also look at your child’s lifestyle to determine if any changes need to be made to their training routine, eating habits, or sleep to improve performance and reduce the risk for injury.

A pediatrician is an integral part of keeping your child healthy and safe while participating in sports. They can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have, as well as recommend certain conditioning and training exercises that can help with injury prevention. Your child should also be wearing the appropriate protective gear including a helmet when playing sports.
 
Treating Sports Injuries
Sometimes, despite taking all the necessary precautions, your child still sustains a sports injury. The moment your child sustains an injury they need to stop playing immediately and avoid any physical activity until the injury has fully healed. The most common sports injuries in kids are minor strains and sprains which can be treated at home through the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). However, if pain persists or gets worse, it’s important to see your child’s pediatrician.

Your child should visit a pediatrician right away if you suspect that they have a broken bone, dislocation, concussion, or if they are dealing with severe pain or swelling. If your child is unable to walk or put weight on the affected leg, this is also a sign to see a pediatrician as soon as possible. The sooner sports injuries are addressed and properly treated the better.
By Amherst Pediatrics
June 03, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Autism  
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects how a person views and interacts with the world around them, including other people. In most cases, differences become apparent by the time your child reaches 24 months. Mainly, parents notice behavioral differences and language delays. If you suspect that your child has ASD, schedule an appointment with your local pediatric office. We work with you to figure out what to do next.
 
Signs of ASD 
Every child with ASD is different. Not everyone will have the same symptoms or experiences. With that in mind, here are some summaries on social, communication, and behavioral differences. 
 
Social Differences
  • Your child doesn’t keep or make eye contact
  • They don’t respond to your facial expressions or smiles
  • Does not reciprocate facial expressions or have the appropriate ones
  • Doesn’t respond to parent’s pointing 
  • Has problems making friends
  • Shows a lack of concern for others
Communication Differences
  • Your child hasn’t spoken by 16 months
  • Repeats or parrots what others say
  • Doesn’t feel the need or want to communicate 
  • Starts missing language and social milestones after 15 months
  • Doesn’t pretend play but does have a good memory for numbers, songs, and letters
Behavioral Differences
  • Has an affinity for routines and schedules and does not like altering them
  • Likes to twirl their fingers, sway, rock, or spin
  • Has strange activities that they enjoy doing repeatedly
  • They are sensitive to sounds, lights, touch, textures, and smells
  • They are more interested in the parts of a toy instead of the whole thing
Common Examples
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the information listed above. As mentioned, a child can have a mixture of any of these behaviors. There are a few other common examples that your pediatrician sees. These give you insight into how a neurotypical child reacts in certain situations versus a child with ASD.  
 
By the age of 12 months, your child should turn their head when they hear their name. A child with ASD won’t respond even if their name is called multiple times.
 
By 18 months, a child with speech delays finds accommodations through gestures, facial expressions, or pointing. Children with ASD find no reason to compensate for speech. 
 
After 24 months, many children enjoy bringing their parents objects or toys to look at or play with. A child with ASD may bring their parent an object but will not play with their parent or respond to their reaction.


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Saturday:12:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Sunday:12:30 PM - 3:45 PM

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Our Address
31 Hall Dr.
Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: (413) 253-3773
Fax: (413) 256-0215
Email: mail@amherstpeds.com
 

Please note temporary office hours
during the COVID-19 pandemic

Patient Care Hours:
Monday-Friday

8:00 AM - 4:45 PM: In-office and Telehealth visits
4:45 - 7:00 PM: Telehealth visits only

Sat-Sun
12:30 - 3:30
Telehealth visits only

Due to the pandemic, we ask that you please remain at home if you or your child is ill. If you have concerns about how your child is feeling, please contact us by sending a message through this patient portal. The clinicians will be able to respond to you during our regular hours. Calling the office may present a further delay in response times.

The COVID-19 situation is ever unfolding. We are dedicated to the safety of our patients and staff. Please refer to our website for updates on this changing situation.

* Please note: It is our policy that we do not approve referral requests for visits to outside urgent care centers during times that our office is open.

Holidays
We are open for urgent visits only on most Holidays. Our office is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.