Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

What is a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician?

Internationally, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) is a relatively newly established and fast growing subspecialty of Pediatrics. Here in China in 2016 it is an emerging field.

DB pediatricians have specialized training and expertise in the assessment and care of children with a broad range of developmental, learning, and behavioral difficulties.

DB pediatricians consider, in their assessments and treatments, the underlying biological and psychosocial factors influencing a child’s development, learning, behavior and well-being. The practice of DBP aims to apply this knowledge to promote optimal developmental and behavioral health for all children.

Doctors in this specialty see children and families with a wide range of developmental conditions including:

  • Developmental delays, including language, fine motor or gross motor difficulties
  • Developmental disabilities like autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and cerebral palsy
  • Learning difficulties and disorders
  • Attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Behavior and conduct problems
  • Tic disorders including Tourette syndrome
  • Problems with regulation and activities of daily living, such as feeding, toileting, and sleep
  • Behavioral and developmental problems complicating a range of chronic illnesses and conditions, e.g., genetic disorders, prematurity, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions


DB pediatricians evaluate children directly but also connect families to appropriate developmental and other relevant services. They collaborate closely with the child’s family and with other professionals who are involved in the child’s assessment, therapy, support and education.  If appropriate, the developmental pediatrician may recommend medication to improve attention or to assist with specific behavioral challenges. In some cases, they may also recommend medical investigations such as genetic tests.


What to Expect When You See a Developmental Pediatrician

During the consultation, the developmental pediatrician will interview parents about the child’s development, behaviors, strengths, abilities, and any learning or social difficulties. Ideally they will review, together with parents, the results of any previous evaluations, treatments and school reports if available. A thorough medical and family history will be obtained. The doctor will meet with the child and complete a physical examination. These steps are important because diagnostic clues may be found that help to point towards the best evaluation and treatment plan. It is also an opportunity to look for and treat any other medical conditions which may be contributing to or impacting the child’s developmental progress. The doctor may complete a short developmental assessment or refer for more comprehensive testing depending on the child’s needs. The doctor may arrange for further information to be gathered from the school or kindergarten.

If a particular diagnosis is being considered it is often best practice to review the situation again once all information has been gathered and evaluations have been completed. At this time the professionals involved will meet, (ideally together with the family, to create an individual treatment plan according to the child’s identified developmental strengths and weaknesses.


LIH Healthcare/LIH Olivia’s Place Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Leadership

tervoRaymond C. Tervo, MD

LIH Healthcare Chief Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician

Dr. Raymond Tervo earned a BS with Distinction form the University of Toronto and his MD from McMaster University (Canada).  In addition, he holds a certificate in Bioethics. He is board certified by the Royal College of Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a Senior Associate Consultant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (US), Dr. Tervo taught and provided care to children and their families through Mayo’s Neurodevelopmental Clinic. He has served as a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and was previously the Director of Pediatrics at Gillette Children’s Specialized Healthcare (Minnesota, US). Dr. Tervo has a strong research background and over the last four decades has focused primarily on neurodevelopmental assessment, genetic testing in global developmental delay, self-injurious behavior in children, coping strategies for families with a child with a disability, and questions of neuroethics encountered in caring for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. His work has made significant contributions in each of these areas, contributing to improved care for children and their families. Language: English


SusanSusan Cadzow, M.B.B.S., F.R.A.C.P.

Director of Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrics, LIH Olivia’s Place

Dr. Susan Cadzow is a Behavioral/ Developmental and General Pediatrician from Australia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. She was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Pediatrics) in 2000. Dr. Cadzow completed her internship and residency at Royal Brisbane Hospital in Australia and her specialist pediatric training at Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane.  She undertook advanced pediatric training in the sub-specialty of community pediatrics, with a focus on developmental and behavioral medicine, child advocacy, and infant mental health. She undertook further training in the United Kingdom in developmental pediatrics, neuro-disability, general pediatrics, and child protection.

Dr. Cadzow has extensive clinical and teaching experience in the areas of developmental and behavioral pediatrics and general pediatric medicine in addition to leadership roles in multidisciplinary and interagency teams working with vulnerable and at risk children and families. In Australia, Dr. Cadzow has made many contributions over the years to public health policy at a state and national level.  More recently, Dr. Cadzow has been practicing general and developmental pediatrics for over 5 years in Shanghai, China. Dr. Cadzow is committed to the progress of developmental and behavioral pediatric services in China and to the goal of ensuring quality medical and therapeutic services become accessible to all children with developmental difficulties or neuro-disability. Language: English