Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Gershon is a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician (DBP). What does that mean?

A Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician (DBP) trains and qualifies as a general pediatrician, but then does additional training and certification to become a sub-specialist in this specific area. DBPs typically evaluate and care for children with Developmental Delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, complex Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety and other challenging behaviors.

Can Dr. Gershon prescribe medication?

Yes. As a medical doctor and sub-specialist in developmental behavioral pediatrics, Dr. Gershon has expertise in psychopharmacology for children and adolescents. 

Medications are not always needed and are often not the best initial choice of intervention as to how to help children, depending on what developmental concerns and difficulties your child might be experiencing. 

When indicated and sought by families, Dr. Gershon works with families to find the best choice of medication(s) to meet your child’s needs.  Please understand this is an ongoing iterative process in which the first choice and dose of a medication is often just the starting point to see if your child tolerates the medication well at a low dose.  Dr. Gershon works with your family to find the right class of medication, adjust the dose and pick the right version of a medication class for your child.  She uses parent, teacher, and sometimes therapist, feedback to guide these choices and fine tune the medications used.  Dr. Gershon will typically see a child back within 4 to 5 weeks (or sooner) should a new medication be started or a change needed.  Once at a dose that is working well, it is still important to follow up with Dr. Gershon who will monitor for side effects and whether the medication is working well.  Per public health guidelines, follow up visits for ADHD medications are recommended every 3 to 4 months (even after a child is on a set dose for a while).  As a child grows and their needs change, medications are often adjusted up or down to meet your child where they are at that time.

Some families prefer Dr. Gershon’s support in clarifying their child’s diagnoses and a treatment plan, but would rather go back to their general pediatrician for regular medication appointments and refills.  Many still check in periodically with Dr. Gershon for developmental pediatric follow up checks and guidance. That’s fine too! 

Is Dr. Gershon like a child psychiatrist?

No, she is part of a different specialty, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP). A DBP trains and qualifies as a general pediatrician, but then does additional training and certification to become a sub-specialist in this specific area. DBPs see many of the same patients as child psychiatrists, with a particular emphasis on evaluating and caring for Developmental Delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, complex Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety and other challenging behaviors. Both DBPs and child psychiatrists can prescribe medications for ADHD and anxiety / depression, but each field (and practitioner) has a slightly different focus and approach.

As a DBP, Dr. Gershon enjoys taking a “big picture” approach, trying to understand the differences across early development that have led to you seeking out DBP care. She gathers data from previous testing and reports and current Individualized Education Programs. It can be helpful to get input from other trained professionals in your child’s life – this may include Early Intervention (EI) providers, teachers, therapists or tutors. Somewhat different to many psychiatrists, Dr. Gershon may complete face to face neurodevelopment assessment herself – and she may send you on for additional professional assessments (such as speech and language or occupational therapy) if she believes they are appropriate and will support a better understanding of your child’s needs. As part of care, Dr. Gershon will work to help you understand your child’s diagnoses, determine if current supports are meeting all your child’s needs and make recommendations for a range of support / interventions for children, including ongoing school and therapist coordination, making suggestions for therapy, and, if needed and desired, managing medications.

If your child needs weekly psychotherapy, depending on your geographic area, Dr. Gershon will try to provide you with a short list of counselors to get to work on helping with needs such as coping strategies for frustration or understanding their own (or others’) feelings.

Is Dr. Gershon a neuropsychologist?

No. Dr. Gershon is a medical doctor with board certifications in General Pediatrics and Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics. Neuropsychologists are psychologists who have specialized in understanding the brain’s cognitive functions, such as attention, language and memory. Dr. Gershon may use some of the same assessment tools, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (2nd edition) which is considered the gold standard instrument for collecting standardized and objective information about social communication skills, restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. For some children, Dr. Gershon will recommend a full neuropsychology evaluation or separate speech and language or academic assessment.

How does Dr. Gershon coordinate with other professionals who work with my child?

Dr. Gershon routinely reviews reports from neuropsychologists, general pediatricians, schools, and others. Typically, these are provided to Dr. Gershon by the family, but the family may also request these be sent directly to Dr. Gershon. When a conversation between Dr. Gershon and one of these professionals is appropriate, you will be asked to complete an on-line form giving permission for exchange of your child’s private medical information.

Our practice is a member of the Newton-Wellesley Physician Hospital Organization and we are affiliated with Mass General Brigham. As an affiliate, we use a shared electronic health record provided by Mass General Brigham which permits us to view and share patient records, and to communicate securely, with many other local professionals and organizations.

Meet Dr. Gershon