Families Vote: The Best Healthcare Professionals in North Jersey for Children with Special Needs

May 8, 2020

Families Vote: The Best Healthcare Professionals in North Jersey for Children with Special Needs


Plus, tips on finding your own preferred pros


Finding the best possible healthcare professionals for your child is a daunting task, and it’s not uncommon for parents to try out a few different pediatricians and dentists before choosing professionals they can rely on regularly. For parents of children with special needs though, the challenge is magnified. It’s important that parents feel comfortable and can trust that their children’s healthcare professionals understand not only their children’s physical medical needs but also their social and emotional needs. Children with special needs may find the doctor’s office or dentist’s chair to be frightening, overwhelming, or distressful, so doctors with a gentle bedside manner are often just as important as experience and expertise.


Doctors Chosen by Parents and Caregivers Like You


With all these criteria in mind, we thought it would be helpful to provide our community with a resource for physicians and other healthcare professionals that NJ families have reported to be “special-needs friendly.” Please note, this does not mean that these providers have specific training or experience in caring for children with special needs (though many on the list do). It does mean that, of the parents we have heard from through online forums and Facebook groups, the below doctors and other professionals have consistently topped the lists of parents of children with special needs because they are caring, supportive, understanding, empathetic, and very, very good at their jobs!


Bergen County

Dr. Lisa Nalven, Developmental Pediatrician, Valley Medical Group, Paramus, NJ


Dr. Lawrence Rosen, Integrative Pediatrician, The Whole Child Center, Oradell, NJ


Dr. Theresa Torres, Pediatrician, Wyckoff Pediatrics, Wyckoff, NJ


Dr. Mondana Yazdi, Pediatrician, Wyckoff Pediatrics, Wyckoff, NJ


Dr. H. Craig Froonjian, Family Dentist, Oradell Dentistry, Oradell, NJ


Dr. Michael Neiman, Pediatric Dentist, The Tootharium, Rutherford, NJ


Dr. Mario Ramos, Pediatric Dentist, Pediatric Dentistry of Midland Park, Midland Park, NJ


Essex County

Dr. Charles Norris Cartwright, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Montclair, NJ


Morris County

Flanders Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, Flanders, NJ


Dr. Katherine Feingold, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Bartky Healthcare Center, Livingston, NJ


Dr. Shelley Lanzkowsky, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology, Child Development Center, Morristown, NJ


Dr. Jennifer Shaw, Developmental-Behavioral and General Pediatrics, Touchpoint Pediatrics, Chatham, NJ


Sussex County

Dr. Christian Canzoniero, Pediatrician, Wellness Pediatrics, Sparta, NJ


Dr. Mike Lateiner, Pediatric Dentist, Newton-Sparta Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Newton, NJ


Dr. Derek Noonan, Family Dentist, Sparta, NJ


Warren County

Dr. Kysmena Kedzierska, Pediatrician, Hackettstown Pediatrics, Hackettstown, NJ


Dr. Jeffrey Merkle, Family Physician, Hackettstown, NJ


Dr. Denise Novaky, Clinical Psychology, Hackettstown, NJ


Next Steps to Finding Your Favorite Docs

Finding a doctor who meets your child’s needs and who you’re comfortable with may begin with a recommendation from a trusted friend, another healthcare professional, or a list just like this one. However, this is just the first step in the process of choosing a doctor to care for your child. Do you have questions about the doctor that will help you decide whether to choose that particular professional? Such as how much experience he or she has with a certain condition or specifics on his or her approach or methodology? If so, you shouldn’t feel shy about asking these questions before you even schedule an appointment.

Trust Yourself

Once you’ve arrived for your appointment, know that initial impressions do matter. You and your child should feel comfortable in the waiting room and office spaces and should be treated with kindness and courtesy by the staff. While wait times will vary depending on the type of professional that you’re seeing, you should, in general, feel as if you’re seen in a reasonable amount of time (and that your child’s needs and ability to wait—or not—are considered as well).

Once in the exam room or office, you shouldn’t feel rushed. The physician should take plenty of time to fully understand your concerns and answer your questions as well as examine your child and take a full history. Perhaps most importantly, you should trust your instincts. Speak up if you don’t understand something and don’t be afraid to get a second or even a third opinion. In addition, as much as possible, ask that your chosen healthcare professionals communicate with one another to ensure your child’s care is comprehensively managed.

Share Your Thoughts!

We hope our list and accompanying tips have been helpful! We’d love it if you would add your own recommendations so we can continue expanding this list and sharing it with our community.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that this list is NOT an official endorsement or healthcare recommendation. SCARC is not a healthcare provider and does not and will not provide medical advice. This list was compiled as a resource for our families—one that we hope will grow and that our readers will add to!