Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

How will a doctor or mental health provider be able to identify my young child’s mental health concerns?

When you meet with your pediatrician or doctor, he/she is going to try to understand your concerns. Your doctor will ask you questions about your child’s symptoms, when they occur and under what circumstances. In order to get more detailed information your doctor may ask you more structured questions and you may be given a form that asks you specific questions about your child. These forms are called screenings or assessments.

Below is a list of commonly used screenings and assessment tools:

  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire
  • Ages and Stages Social Emotional Development
  • Infant/Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (ITSEA),
  • Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Infants and Toddlers and
  • Devereux for Early Childhood Assessment (DECA-I/T),
  • Infant Toddlers Developmental Assessment (IDA) and the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) for children as young as 2 years.
  • The Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Development Disorders of Infant and Early Childhood (DC:0-3R).

The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) has a list of screening tools used by different states and organizations in a document called, Developmental Screening and Assessment Instruments, with an Emphasis on Social and Emotional Development for Young Children Ages Birth through Five.

Once a screening or assessment is done, your doctor can determine what intervention and supports can best help you and your child.  It is important to understand the different treatment choices, which can include consultation in your home or child care, parent/child psychotherapy, play therapy or medication in very special cases. You will want to talk about the options with a health care professional who has experience treating the mental health concern observed in your child.

In Connecticut you can also request an Ages and Stages Questionnaire from the Child Development Infoline, Help Me Grow by calling the Connecticut’s 2-1-1 Child Development Infoline at 800-505-7000 or just dial 211. The form is sent to you by mail at regular age intervals. Or you can fill out the form online by clicking here. When you complete the form and return it, a clinician will review your form and let you know how your child is doing.   If there is a concern noted from your form you can follow the recommendations from the clinician and take the form with you to your pediatrician. Or you can give permission for the form to be sent to your pediatrician.

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