Autism Spectrum Disorders- (ASD)
ASD is a complex neurological disorder that affects development within a child’s first three years of life. Deficits and symptoms of ASD include stereotyped actions (hand flapping, body rocking), insistence on sameness, resistance to change and in some cases, aggression or self-injury, impaired social interactions, sensory issues and impaired communication (may be verbal, partially verbal or non-verbal). Other possible signs include difficulty expressing needs or wants, may cry or laugh for no apparent reason, taking a long time to process instructions, repeat words or phrases back, in joint attention, show inappropriate attachment to toys or objects.
Changing moods and interests are part of growing up in childhood, but when feelings never seem to get better or your child stops wanting to do activities they always enjoyed before – your child might be struggling with a mood disorder. Possible signs of a mood disorder when they happen for over a month:
- Trouble sleeping
- Eating more or less than usual – so that there is a change in weight
- Grades going down
- Low energy all the time
- Irritability and Feeling “on edge”
- Worried and Fearful most off the time
- Poor attendance at school because of feeling depressed or anxious
- Very self-critical
- Feelings of worthlessness
Intellectual Disability or Intellectual Developmental Disability
A child or youth with intellectual disabilities, or developmental disabilities, has consistent difficulty in two areas: learning new things and being able to take care of themselves at about the same rate as other kids their age. IQ (intelligence quotient) is measured by an IQ test. The average IQ is 100. A person is considered intellectually disabled if he or she has an IQ of less than 70 to 75. If you are concerned about your child’s development, take note of how your child has done in the following areas and follow up with your local school, health provider or community agency.
- Rolling over, sitting up, crawling, or walking late
- Talking late or having trouble with talking
- Slow to master things like potty training, dressing, and feeding
- Difficulty remembering things
- Inability to connect actions with consequences
- Behavior problems such as explosive tantrums
- Difficulty with problem-solving or logical thinking
Trauma Related Symptoms and Disorders
Trauma can be defined as witnessing, experiencing or learning about an event where they or someone they care about can be severely injured or killed. Examples of this can be surviving a natural disaster, sexual or physical abuse, car accident, or hearing a detailed report of a loved one’s severe injury or death.
Untreated trauma can lead to Trauma and Stress Related Disorders which include Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Signs and symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder include: a child rarely seeking or responding to comfort when upset, gives and receives little affection and can often become upset and or fearful with no reason. These children’s emotional needs were neglected and or not met from a very young age. Children with RAD might also have experienced numerous changes in care givers who did not meet their need for comfort or affection.
Signs and symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder include: nightmares and/or trouble sleeping, thinking about the traumatic/upsetting event all the time, wanting to not think or talk about the event, avoiding people, places and things that make them think about the event, feeling scared for no reason, feeling “crazy” or out of control, not being able to remember parts of the event, having trouble concentrating at school or home, feeling like something bad is about to happen, jumping when there is a loud noise, feeling anger, feeling shameful, feeling sadness and or guilt, the child feeling bad about themselves and having physical health problems like stomach aches, headaches and/or their heart beating too fast.
Attention-Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD)
There are 4 types; Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Combined Type, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Predominantly Inattentive Type, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Although, ADHD is identified as a childhood diagnosis all age groups can be affected by the disorder. A child with ADHD often appears to be on the go and at times demanding of other’s attention. The child sometimes appears to not listen when spoken to while other times will interrupt conversation by becoming loud or blurting answers/questions in effort to be a part of a group or during classroom activities. Children with ADHD struggle to stay focused upon things that require concentration (i.e. reading/math) making the child look lazy. Sometimes others view the child as a bully because the child plays too rough when overly excited or making new friends. These children struggle to show age appropriate social behaviors due to lack of maturity. Children find it difficult to wait his/her turn. Children with ADHD easily forget, loose, or misplace things that he /she need to complete homework or other activities which allows them to appear to have their head in the clouds. Children are easily distracted by things going on around them or something outside. Children with ADHD can look immature due to their lack of impulse control and lack of social skills. Children with ADHD minds are going a mile a minute. Children with ADHD struggle to organized and then stay organized.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be found in all ages from early preschool age to adolescent but not past the age of 18 years old. The child must have a pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months. All children will display ODD at some time in life due to being hungry, tired, or upset but for those without ODD the behaviors are rare and do not last of long periods of time. Children with ODD are more openly uncooperative, defiant, argumentative, and hostile towards parents, other authority figures, and peers. Children will actively challenge parents and other authority figures by deliberately exhibiting annoying behaviors as well as ignoring directives. When angry, the child is more likely to be aggressive through verbal aggression or verbal bullying; rarely harmful to others or show physical aggression. When feeling they have been unjustly treated, children with ODD will display a spiteful attitude and seek revenge. The child is described as bullheaded, unwilling to compromise, very selfish, blames others for his/her mistakes, and test limits even when he/she understands the consequences. Child may not demonstrate age appropriate peer group due to his/her immature social skill ability. Children with ODD claim to not care or be affected by negative consequences due to negative behaviors. Symptoms are seen in a variety of settings but more noticeable at school or home. Children with ODD can be more rigid and demanding than other children their age.