The Physician Who Specializes in Caring for Teens and Tweens
May 20, 2020
They have stopped playing with dolls and toy trucks, and now they need a weekend curfew. They are teens and tweens.
Neither children nor adults, adolescents are dealing with important physical and emotional changes. Their health care needs are changing, too, as they cross that bridge from pediatrician to adult-care physician.
Unfortunately, that journey is often a bumpy one. A significant number of pediatricians responding to a recent national survey indicated they do not provide transition support services for adolescents who are moving to adult providers. As a results, many adult-care physicians feel unprepared to accept some of these patients, particularly those with complex conditions.
Enter the Specialist
As medical doctors certified in internal medicine or pediatrics, adolescent medicine specialists have extra training in adolescent health issues and provide all aspects of care – from physical exams and treating illness to attention problems and nutrition. They specialize in the physical, sexual, psychological and social development of patients ages 11 to 21.
“Adolescent medicine specialists work with other physicians and parents to help patients switch smoothly from pediatric care to a more adult setting. The goal is to help adolescents become more independent their own health care decisions and gain understanding of their medical problems,” says Rainbow pediatrician Rina Lazebnik, MD.
Clued-In on Adolescents’ Concerns
Adolescent medicine specialists like Dr. Lazebnik are well-trained in the health issues so common to tweens and teens, including:
- Eating disorders
- Menstrual disorders
- Birth control and pregnancy
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Growth problems
- Eye and ear disorders
- Learning disabilities
- Sports-related injuries
- Substance abuse
Fatigue is a common concern, Dr. Lazebnik says.
“Many teens often feels so exhausted that they miss school and cannot play sports or go out with friends,” she says.
For many tweens and teens, some of these issues are hard to talk about with adults. But adolescent medicine specialists are there for them and their families.
We know how to make them feel comfortable and are able to facilitate improved communication between themselves and their parents,” Dr. Lazebnik says.
Be There For Your Child
Do you feel that you child could benefit from an adolescent medicine specialist? Ask you primary care physician for a referral to one. Work with this new doctor and your child as a team.
Together, you can take steps to help your tween or teen gain control and independence in managing his or her health care.
UH Rainbow's Division of General Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine provides comprehensive primary care to children throughout the region in the state-of-the-art UH Rainbow Center for Women & Children in Midtown Cleveland. We offer expertise and highly specialized clinical services, including adolescent medicine and pediatric sports medicine. Learn more about General Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.
Tags: Teens & Tweens