I’ll be conducting an all-day workshop for educators on Monday, December 5, 2011 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, New Hampshire. The event is sponsored by the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability and is geared to regular and special education teachers, school psychologists and social workers, behavior specialists, occupational therapists, administrators, and parents.
Neurological disorders that emerge in childhood often have significant impact on students’ academic, behavioral, and social-emotional functioning. Participants will learn about the cardinal features of Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Executive Dysfunction, Mood Disorders such as Depression and Bipolar Disorder, and the memory deficits, sensory issues and “storms” that sometimes accompany them. Strategies and assistive technology to accommodate symptom interference in activities such as handwriting, homework, math calculation, and written expression and big projects will be described. Pitfalls in behavioral interventions, and simple social skills and problem-solving interventions will also be identified.
Hope to see you there!
Kayt Sukel of The Dana Foundation writes:
From a distance, Callie1 appears to be a normal if quiet 5-year-old girl. But when faced with a toy that blows large soap bubbles—an activity that makes the vast majority of kindergarteners squeal and leap with delight—she is uninterested in popping the bubbles or taking a turn with the gun herself. When offered dolls or other toys, she is equally unmoved. When groups of children congregate to play, Callie does not join them. Even at home, she is quiet and withdrawn. While Callie’s mother explains this lack of interest in play as simple “shyness,” researchers are now discovering that children as young as 3 years of age can meet the clinical criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD). What’s more, they demonstrate patterns of brain activation very similar to those seen in adults diagnosed with the disorder.
Read more about what the research shows on The Dana Foundation.
Early recognition of depression is crucial on so many levels, but as the reporter notes, treatment for children this young is particularly challenging. We simply do not have enough controlled research on non-medication interventions that may be of benefit to young children with mood disorders.
Majority of United States Adolescents with Severe Mental Disorders Have Never Received Treatment for Their Conditions
A recent study by Merikangas and colleagues published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) shows that only half of adolescents that are affected with severely impairing mental disorders ever receive treatment for these conditions.
The researchers found that approximately one third of adolescents with any mental disorder received services for their illness (36.2%). Disorder severity was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of receiving treatment, yet only half of adolescents who were identified as having severely impairing mental disorders had ever received mental health treatment for their symptoms.
In the article titled “Service Utilization for Lifetime Mental Disorders in U.S. Adolescents: Results of the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A),” Dr. Merikangas and colleagues examined the rates of treatment for specific mental disorders in the NCS-A. The NCSA is a nationally representative, face-to-face survey of 10,123 adolescents aged 13 to 18 years in the continental United States.
The authors examined rates of treatment for DSM-IV disorders, and correlated the severity, number of disorders, and comorbidity in a nationally representative sample of 6,483 adolescents 13 to 18 years old for whom information on service use was available from an adolescent and a parent report. Sociodemographic correlates were also evaluated.
Treatment rates were highest in those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (59.8%) and behavior disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) (combined 45.4%). The picture is more discouraging for those adolescents with anxiety, eating, or substance use disorders for whom less than 20% received treatment.
Furthermore, the investigators found that Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black adolescents were less likely than their White counterparts to receive services for mood and anxiety disorders, even when such disorders were associated with severe impairment. In the article, Merikangas and colleagues comment, “marked racial disparities in lifetime rates of mental health treatment highlight the urgent need to identify and combat barriers to the recognition and treatment of these conditions.”
Read the full press release on JAACAP.
Rick Nauert, PhD discusses some troubling, but not unexpected, findings on the stigma of mood disorders in adolescents. From his article, which you can read in its entirety on PsychCentral.com:
A new study paints a disturbing portrait for youth diagnosed and taking medications for mood disorders.
In one of the first studies of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 with mental illnesses and taking medications, Case Western University researchers discovered adolescents may face social isolation.
Researchers found that at least 90 percent of the study’s participants reported experiencing some form of stigma. Investigators believe the isolation can lead to shame, secrecy and limited social interactions.
Forty adolescents in the study reported that the attitudes of parents and schools either protect against or magnify the youth’s feelings of being different or ashamed that they have a mental illness.