IF YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER NEED IMMEDIATE HELP, PLEASE CALL 911.
The following resources may be beneficial in times of crisis or to get additional assistance.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder in childhood. Common symptoms include inattention, distractibility, impulsive behaviors, and hyperactivity, though not every child has every symptom. Children with ADHD often have difficulties at home, school, and in their social interactions and ADHD can persist into adulthood.
Children and adolescents with anxiety often present with worries and fears that seem out of proportion to the situation. For some individuals, this can result in physical symptoms like stomach aches and headaches, whereas other children may try to avoid things that trigger their anxiety or develop behaviors and rituals to help manage their anxiety. Anxiety can be developmental (meaning that it is common at that age and kids will outgrow it), situational (related to a specific situation), or more generalized. Positively, anxiety responds well to treatment, even at young ages.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that results in delays in social and communication skills as well as behavioral challenges. As a result, individuals with ASD may communicate, behave, and interact with other people in ways that are different from their peers. Additionally, individuals with ASD often have learning, thinking, and problem-solving deficits, as well as areas of strengths. It is important to keep in mind that individuals with ASD differ from each other and therefore it is important to understand each child’s strengths and weaknesses and not make assumptions about their abilities. While ASD is a lifelong disorder that cannot be “cured,” individuals with ASD make improvements over time with the assistance of supportive therapies.
Oftentimes, children need additional support at school. This may be because of specific learning differences, ADHD, speech delays, delayed fine motor skills, or difficulties with emotional/behavioral regulation. Beginning in infancy, children with delays are entitled to supportive and therapeutic services through the Early Intervention program. As kids approach school age, they can receive services through the public school system, even if they do not attend public school. The following resources help explain these services, parent rights, and options for families who need assistance with educational advocacy or support.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) result when alcohol is consumed during pregnancy. FASD is a spectrum disorder, with some children having more challenges than others. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a medical diagnosis made based on characteristic facial features in addition to growth delays and central nervous system impairments. While FAS is one result of prenatal alcohol exposure, other children do not exhibit facial features or growth delays but still have central nervous system delays. Commonly, individuals with FASDs have deficits in executive functioning, which are the higher order cognitive processes that allow us to solve problems, regulate our emotions and behavior, understand abstract situations, and remember information. As a result, individuals with FASDs often struggle academically, with social interactions, and completing daily living tasks.
Specific learning differences are when children struggle with a specific area of learning. They are due to genetic, neurobiological, or a combination of factors. Children and adolescents can have deficits with reading, math, writing, or in multiple areas. While we use general terms to talk about learning differences (e.g., “dyslexia”), there are a multitude of specific deficit areas that can contribute to an individual’s difficulties.
Trauma is a response to a terrible event or situation. Trauma results in not only an emotional response, but changes in an individual’s thinking, interpersonal interactions, and behavior. Trauma can result from a single event like a car accident or be chronic in nature (e.g., domestic violence that happens repeatedly over time). Complex trauma results when an individual is exposed to multiple kinds of trauma over time, often of an interpersonal nature. For instance, a child who is physically abused, sees violence at school, and is bullied would be a child with complex trauma. Trauma can result in a wide range of symptoms that often imitate other mental health challenges and developmental issues.