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HLT 111 - Health and the Young Child - Textbook

Chapter 4: Children's Mental Health

Chapter Objectives

At the conclusion of the chapter, students will be able to

  1. Assess and screen children for ADHD, depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders 
  2. Describe emerging themes in our understanding of children’s mental health
  3. Describe steps for the management of stress in children and strategies for managing teacher stress
  4. Demonstrate knowledge and skills on how to conduct referral for children with mental health challenges

Overview

Anxiety and Depression

According to the CDC, many children have fears and worries, and will feel sad and bad from time to time.   Persistent or extreme forms of fear and sadness could be due to anxiety or depression.  Being sad or feeling hopeless occasionally could be part of a child’s everyday life. Persistent sadness and hopelessness, especially child becoming uninterested in things they used to enjoy, may point to a diagnosis of  depression. The benefits of screening children younger than 11 years  for depression have not been established.

Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder

According to the CDC, ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors or be overly active.
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may act without thinking and have trouble focusing. About half of all children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability. The most common learning problems are with reading (such as dyslexia) and handwriting.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a brain disorder where a person has recurring seizures. Childhood seizures could be either benign or persistent.  Many childhood seizures are benign, meaning that the child will outgrow the seizure as they develop into adulthood. With benign seizures the child's development and intellect are usually normal. Absence seizures are most common in children and typically don't cause any long-term problems. A child with absence seizure may black out or stare into space for a few seconds, and may drop a pencil.   Persistent seizures are often associated with developmental delay or intellectual disability. The importance of special education is for children with special needs cannot be overemphasized.  Special education refers to “educational programs and practices designed for students- who are handicapped or gifted, with mental, physical or emotional disabilities and hence require special teaching approaches, equipment or care within or outside a regular classroom.”  Special needs include a number of impairments such as physical, mental, emotional or developmental disabilities, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorders, speech and language impairment, and hearing and visual impairment.

 

Chapter Review and Discussion Questions

According to the CDC, many children have fears and worries, and will feel sad and bad from time to time. Persistent or extreme forms of fear and sadness could be due to anxiety or depression. Read the Centers for Disease Control's information on children's mental health (see above) and answer the following questions.

  1. Discuss the different causes of anxiety in the young child.
  2. Give at least three examples of behaviors often seen when children are depressed 
  3. Describe steps for the management of stress in children and strategies for managing teacher stress
  4. Discuss how to identify disruptive behavior or conduct problems in children and  how to conduct referral for children with mental health challenges