Children (Ages 2-10)
As fascinating as childhood development can be, it is kinda scary. Many changes can occur in a matter of weeks. Children and their minds are like sponges: they absorb so much without really understanding what is going on in their bodies, mind, and environment.
As a parent, you (un)willingly accepted the task of figuring out what exactly is going on with your child. If you do not have it figured out right now, prepare to feel the wrath of judgment from other parents, teachers, or family members. Yikes. that is a lot... Considering you have to come up with the best solution for your child, convince or guide them to complete whatever it is you decided is the best course of action, and be a parent at the same time WHILE having to juggle your own personal life with your job, relationship, friendships, finances, etc. No pressure. What does not help is when your own child does not cooperate with you and gives you a harder time.
No one wrote a book for this! Parents are superheroes but they simply do not possess every superpower. It is okay to ask/get help from a licensed professional if you realize that your social-support system is falling short. (Please feel free to repeat these three statements as part of your daily mantra). Similar to how it is okay for you as a parent to connect with resources, it is just as important to provide the same opportunities for your child. As you probably realized, early development has a big impact on how we grow as individuals. If you notice that your child is struggling or is not at the place where he/she can be, try a preventative measure. Prevention is basically the premise of all therapeutic services (physical, speech, etc); however, mental health still gets a bad rep. It should not be the case here since humans even little humans are emotional creatures. Prevention is key!
Fortunately, most young children are not very good at hiding symptoms. If you have concerns, pay close attention to:
who they have been in contact with recently,
behavioral changes (e.g., not wanting to do something they were previously very passionate about),
mood changes (e.g., emotional outbursts and/or withdrawal),
talking about harming themselves or others,
changes in sleep and eating habits,
physical issues (e.g., headaches, stomachaches),
changes in academic performance
family interactions - sibling? parents?
What Should I Do If I Suspect That My Child Has A Mental Health Condition?
Talk to your child's teacher, close friends, relatives, or other caregivers to see if they noticed any changes in your child's behavior.
How Can Dr. Amy Lee Help?
I have extensive and specialized training in psychological assessment and treatment working with toddlers and young children who have:
Trauma & PTSD
I work with both "typical" and "atypical" functioning children who have behavioral concerns. My expertise is working with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disabilities) with the accompanying challenges associated with those disorders.
It is extremely helpful to have parents or caregivers participate in the child's treatment. I provide training and guidance (along with emotional support) to parents and other caregivers, and collaborate with teachers and other professionals when it relates to childhood mental health disorders. I cannot emphasize enough that it is very important to work as a community to support children to prevent them from falling behind academically, socially, and physically. Prepare to work as a team to help build a strong support system for your child.