Parents like to believe they can understand and manage their children, no matter what comes their way. However, an increasing number of parents are overwhelmed and baffled by their children’s behavioral issues. Could there be an underlying medical condition responsible for the child’s bizarre and/or bad behavior? What are the signs that a professional assessment is needed?
Many disorders are believed to be caused by abnormal functioning of certain types of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters. Examples of these many disorders include:
ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)
This is a condition where the child has an ongoing pattern of uncooperative and defiant behavior towards anyone in authority. The child will be hostile and defiant and his/her behavior will be disruptive to the family and school environment. This disorder is often accompanied by other behavioral problems such as ADHD, depression and anxiety disorders. Some of the signs of ODDR may include:
• Throwing repeated temper tantrums.
• Refusing to comply with requests or rules.
• Having fits of rage.
• Saying mean and hateful things when upset.
Signs and symptoms found in autism spectrum disorders may include:
• Prefers to be alone, and in social situations, child comes across as being aloof and detached.
• Has difficulty in understanding other people’s feelings and reactions.
• Is not comfortable being touched.
• Has difficulty in making friends.
• Learning to talk is delayed, or they may not talk at all.
• Has problems communicating needs or wants.
• Is obsessive in their routines, order, and schedules.
• Displays repetitive body movements,
• Is clumsy, has an abnormal posture, or odd way of moving
Key diagnostic criteria for Intellectual Disability is IQ score and efficient adaptive functioning. Signs of this disability may include:
• Delayed development in sitting, crawling, walking or talking.
• A lack of awareness or curiosity regarding their surroundings.
• Difficulty learning.
• Impulsive and limited emotional control.
• Difficulty in making decisions and using sound judgment.
• Difficulty in living independently in a safe and responsible manner.
• Difficulty in grasping conceptual skills.
• Difficulty with social skills.
The advances in child psychology and physiology, along with available internet resources have made it possible for everyone to be an informed parent. New parents need to be vigilant in observing and recognizing abnormal behavior in their children, and be willing to obtain a professional behavior assessment. An expert from an applied behavior analysis program will be able to complete an assessment and diagnosis, along with the appropriate caregiver training. This will ensure every child will reach their full personal potential, no matter what problems they face.
About the Author: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.