Kathryn A. McVicar, MD, is a pediatric neurologist who says her favorite part of her job is “helping families see their child as the perfect child they are, despite their differences.”
Dr. McVicar specializes in treating epilepsy and language regression in children with autism spectrum disorders, neurological problems in premature infants and general neurological issues such as migraines and tics.
“Basically, I see children who have developmental differences, which can include cerebral palsy or children with genetic influences that affected how their brains formed,” she says. “I’m interested in how the brain works, and I like to see where kids are developmentally and approach them at their own level.”
That may include crawling on the floor and playing with a child during a medical examination, she says. Dr. McVicar reassures families by promising them she will always be honest with them and do everything she can to help their child. “I tell them, ‘You are the expert on your child and what I bring to you my experience with other children like yours,’” she says. “I also tell them that if they are stressed out and can only process 20 percent of what I say, they need to keep asking questions until they get it, and that’s expected and normal. And if they go home and Google everything I say, I ask them to please call and ask me those 10 questions rather than sit there and worry.”
Dr. McVicar says her goal is to optimize her patients’ abilities. “Just because a child is maybe not doing everything that every other child is doing doesn’t mean they aren’t going to live a full life,” she says. “I tell parents that their job is keep their children healthy, safe, teach them right from wrong and help them to reach their best potential.”
Dr. McVicar is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine.