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New CMA course helps FPs assess children with learning difficulties

The Canadian Medical Association is offering an online course to help family physicians assess and manage children with learning difficulties.

The two-hour accredited course (available only to CMA members) is presented by a team of clinical experts from the University of Alberta and the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, and McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.

About 10% of children are estimated to be experiencing difficulty in school at any one time, and the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other clinical disorders is around 10% or higher in some regions.

Family physicians need to have the knowledge and skills to support these children, particularly as the number of cases requiring secondary and tertiary care is growing. This can lead to long wait times and negatively affect children who are struggling academically and socially.

Using a case-based format, the course is designed to support the family physician in the development of skills for the initial assessment and management of children who present in a primary care setting.

This involves taking a focused history, identifying physical factors that may be contributing to the child’s problems and efficiently measuring behaviour and academic skills.

The course provides a step-by-step path, using two common clinical presentations of children whose chief complaint is “trouble in school.”

The main learning objectives are: to help family physicians recognize the role of the physician in the continuum of care, when a child presents with difficulty in school; to explore differing levels of involvement in the management of such a child’s care and development.

On course completion, a learner will be able to identify the differential diagnosis for learning and attention problems in a school-aged child, describe evidence-based interventions for uncomplicated ADHD and outline an initial plan for intervention — including writing a basic case formulation that can be given to parents and/or school and collaborating with school personnel.

Completion of the course is eligible for two MainPro–M1 credits from the College of Family Physicians of Canada and two Maintenance of Certification credits (Section 1) from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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