Diagnosing and Assessing Children under 5
Do you have concerns about the way your young child is acting?
When children under 5 experience problems we assess them using a special tool to determine what is happening for them. It is called a DC:0-3 assessment. (soon to be called DC:0-5). DC: 0-3 stands for Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood. Specially trained practitioners evaluate the child, family dynamics, strength of relationships, any traumatic events that have occurred, how the child functions both at home and in day care and/or preschool.
This extensive assessment includes three sessions to observe the child in all the important arenas. The parents, teacher, or day care provider complete some of the assessments. Once completed, the practitioner will review the in depth report with the caregivers and also give a list of recommendations for treatment.
In some cases, just the assessment is done and the family can follow the recommendations to help the child manage their behavior. In other cases, mental health treatment is recommended.
Issues for young children can result from life changes, traumatic experiences, anxiety, divorce, sexual abuse, grief, or many other experiences.
The Department of Human Services of the State of Minnesota (DHS) maintains a list (roster) of mental health professionals who are trained and able to provide this assessment. I have successfully completed that training and continue to upgrade my skills with ongoing support.
How is therapy done with children that young?
I provide therapy services to children ages 2 and up. When working with children this young, the parent/caregiver is part of the therapy and present during the sessions. Play therapy is used with the parent and child together. The parent is coached about why the child is acting this way and how they can support their child. We work collaboratively so the child can get back on the path towards normal development to grow up healthy and secure.
Lucélia Ribeiro Flickr