Childhood disorders, often termed as developmental disorders or learning disorders, most often occur and are diagnosed when the child is of school-age. Although some adults may also relate to some of the symptoms of these childhood disorders, typically the disorder’s symptoms need to have first appeared at some point in the person’s childhood.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder display (A) restricted or repetitive-type behaviors and (B) impairments in social communication that arise during the early developmental period. Manifestations of the disorder vary by severity of the autistic symptoms, as well as by the child’s developmental level and chronological age, justifying the term “spectrum” in the disorder’s new name.
- Reactive Attachment Disorder: The essential feature is that the child shows an absent or grossly underdeveloped level of attachment towards care giving adults compared to what is normal or expected. For example, an infant or very young child would be observed as rarely or minimally turning to their adult caregivers for comfort, support, protection, or nurturance. Children with reactive attachment disorder are believed to have the capacity to form selective attachments; that is, there is nothing neurobiologically or medically wrong that can explain a child’s failure to form a secure relationship with parents or other caregivers. However, because of limited healthy physical contact and nurturance during early development (e.g, neglect), they fail to show the behavioral manifestations of selective attachments.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Signs of attention hyperactivity deficit disorder develop over several months. In general, impulsiveness and hyperactivity are observed before one notices the lack of attention, which often appears later.It also may go unnoticed because the “inattentive daydreamer” may be overlooked when the person who “can’t sit still” at school or work or is otherwise disruptive will be noticed first. The observable symptoms of ADHD will therefore vary a great deal depending on the situation and the specific demands it makes on an individual’s self-control.
- Conduct Disorder: The essential symptom of Conduct Disorder is a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior by a child or teenager in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated. The behaviors fall into four main groupings: aggressive conduct that causes or threatens physical harm to other people or animals, non-aggressive conduct that causes property loss or damage, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violations of rules time and time again.
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation disorder: The defining characteristic of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) in children is a chronic, severe and persistent irritability. This irritability is often showed by the child as a temper tantrum, or temper outburst, that occur frequently (3 or more times per week). When the child isn’t having a temper outburst, they appear to be in a persistently irritable or angry mood, present most of the day, nearly every day.
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a childhood disorder that is characterized by, defiant, disobedient, negative and sometimes hostile behavior toward adults and authority figures primarily. In order to be diagnosed, the behaviors must occur for at least a period of 6 months.
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: The essential characteristic of Separation Anxiety Disorder is excessive anxiety regarding separation by a child from the home or from those (in adolescents and adults) to whom the person is attached. This anxiety is beyond that which is expected for the individual’s developmental level. The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, lasting at least 4 weeks in children and adolescents and typically 6 months or more in adults.
- Mental Retardation: Intellectual Disability, formerly known as “Mental Retardation,” is a disorder with onset during the developmental period. It includes intellectual deficits and difficulty functioning in daily life in areas such as communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, self-direction, academics, work, leisure, health, and safety.
- Learning Disorders: Learning disabilities are neurologically-based processing problems. These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. It also interferes with higher level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory and attention. It is important to realize that learning disabilities can effect an individual’s life beyond academics and can impact relationships with family, friends and in the workplace.