As a therapist, I am confronted with worrisome, concerned, frustrated and exhausted parents…. that have had enough or no longer know what to do with their child’s behaviour, or notice something unusual or out of the norm. Sometimes the behaviours or mannerisms are noticed by the parents themselves or parents receive feedback from the teachers.
The unfortunate thing is when parents don’t do anything about it, because they don’t have the knowledge or the resources, or have a lack of awareness and understanding and may misinterpret the behaviour or mannerism as “naughty”. . . Some parents are ignorant and may say how the child will just grow out of it, and then don’t seek help immediately. But in actual fact we are doing the children a disservice. It may be a mental health problem or disorder of some kind. If it is not addressed, the disorder or problem can lead to risk for academic failure, substance abuse and a clash with the juvenile justice system — all of which come at a tremendous cost for the parents, their families and the community.
I came across the Child Mind Institute, an organization based in USA. They came up with a brilliant tool on their website called the Symptom Checker https://childmind.org/symptomchecker/.
‘Here’s how it works:
You indicate the behaviors that are making you concerned about your child by answering a series of questions. The Symptom Checker analyzes your answers to give you a list of psychiatric or learning disorders that are associated with those symptoms.
Since individual symptoms can reflect more than one disorder, this tool will give you a range of possibilities and guide you toward next steps. This tool cannot diagnose your child, but it can help you inform yourself about possible diagnoses and will offer information and articles to help you learn about them, to facilitate a conversation with a professional.”
Check it out….. it can guide you in the right direction…..