On the occasion of World Mental health Day, we list out common symptoms that children with the above disorders show. While these have no direct relations with mental health, not managing the condition increases the risk of mental health problems.
If your child or children are showing any of the following, it is best to consult a paediatrician immediately. It may be nothing more than a phase, but knowing early can help you and more importantly, your child.
- Communication disability and/or extreme social awkwardness
- Rudeness due to lack of understanding of social cues- Inability to make eye contact,
- Repetitive or obsessive compulsive behaviour and/or arranging things in continuous lines (with children getting extremely upset if the arrangement is disturbed),
- Picky eating (with a strong tendency to get very upset and refusing to eat if food item is changed)
- Lack of responsiveness (sensory)
- Too sensitive to light, sound, noise and other sensory stimuli
- Wanting to be alone or seeking out places to be alone
- Hurting other children or adults with no provocation (repeated instances)
- Lack of focus and extreme activity
- Extremely averse to going to school despite showing signs of high intelligence.
- Difficulty in handling cutlery and pens or pencils even after repeated help
- Clumsiness and prone to falling frequently with no visible or significant trigger (after the age of 5)
- Regular appearance of bruises from bumping into things at school or at home
- Inability to understand jokes or social cues appropriate to age
- Inability to read and write relative to age and level in school
- Any other repetitive behaviour uncharacteristic to age or normal behavioural patterns
When the disorders are not diagnosed and children or young adults are left to handle them on their own, the risk of mental health issues becomes extremely high. Anger, anxiety, depression, inability to perform daily tasks and inability to be socially active are common in such cases.
These disorders and their symptoms vary from child to child. While some may exhibit very mild symptoms, others may be unable to function normally. Early diagnosis can help all children diagnosed with these disorders manage the symptoms effectively.
1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
ASD covers a wide range of disabilities and symptoms associated with an abnormality in brain development. Having a child with autism increases the probability of having another autistic child by 5 per cent.
2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Inability to focus and pay attention, difficulty to control emotions and excessive activity. ADHD can lead to other mental health problems if not managed appropriately.
3. Dyspraxia or developmental co-ordination disorder
Affects co-ordination skills for tasks requiring balance, kicking and throwing a ball and fine motor skills (writing or using small objects carefully) in children and adults – National health Service, UK. October 9 to 15 is being celebrated as Dyspraxia Awareness Week to ensure the condition gets diagnosed as early as possible and for increasing awareness among parents.
4. Dyslexia or reading disorder
Causes difficulty in reading and impair fluent reading and comprehension. Despite being intelligent, children may be unable to read or decode reading as easily.
Affects language and communication learning
Difficulty in writing including issues in handwriting, spelling and organisation skills
Talking about the subject, Dr. P.M.M. Sayeed, a specialist in Paediatrics at Aster Clinic said, “What ‘expected behaviour’ is to parents is what makes or breaks the identification of symptoms. If parents refuse to accept that their child is behaving differently, as observed by a teacher for example, the child suffers.”