Oftentimes, it has been observed that individuals who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities experience pain, not necessarily from their disability, but from depression, anxiety, or relationship issues in response to their disability. While there are outstanding resources for the ID/DD population to assist them with challenges faced because of their disability, my goal is to address mental health issues often experienced apart from the disability. This is the purpose for incorporating Cognitive Behavior Therapy as part of the treatment plan .
- A group of disorders characterized by a limited mental capacity and difficulty with adaptive behaviors such as managing money, schedules and routines, or social interactions.
- Originates before the age of 18 and may result from physical causes, such as autism or cerebral palsy, or from nonphysical causes, such as lack of stimulation and adult responsiveness.
- Severe, long term disability that can affect cognitive ability, physical functioning, or both.
- Appears before age 22 and are likely to be life-long.
- The term “developmental disability” encompasses intellectual disability but also includes physical disabilities.
- Some developmental disabilities may be solely physical, such as blindness from birth. Others involve both physical and intellectual disabilities stemming from genetic or other causes, such as Down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome for example.
Goal of Counseling:
- To assist clients in developing a sense of self-empowerment in practical, emotional and social areas.
- Coordination of care and networking with client’s various support systems because most of us know it takes a team!
We as a society have come a long way thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) passed by Congress in 1990, however, individuals with “Different Abilities” often continue to face challenges and are misunderstood by society.
As a parent of a daughter born with Spina bifida who is now 30 years old. I am thankful to have personally developed a sense of awareness in regards to individuals with disabilities by witnessing struggles she has faced, as well as various other individuals we have interacted with throughout the years.
The “language” of therapists is also an important factor to consider when seeking counseling for individuals with ID/DD and their families. For example, we often continue to hear the term “wheelchair bound” even among some professionals. Individuals who use wheelchairs would rather be referred to as just that. Someone who “uses a wheelchair” is a much more acceptable term and defines a person as an independent individual rather than being “bound” to an object. This is just one example of the importance of choosing a therapist who is multiculturally sensitive to the needs of individuals with “different abilities”.
Feel free to contact me today to schedule a session.
Attention- Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Signs and Symptoms
It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms continue and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.
A child with ADHD might:
- daydream a lot
- forget or lose things a lot
- squirm or fidget
- talk too much
- make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
- have a hard time resisting temptation
- have trouble taking turns
- have difficulty getting along with others
Types of ADHD:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and medication. For preschool-aged children (4-5 years of age) with ADHD, behavior therapy, particularly training for parents, is recommended as the first line of treatment. No single treatment is the answer for every child and good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups and any changes needed along the way.
If you are concerned about a child’s behavior, it is important to discuss these concerns with the child’s healthcare provider.
Checklist: Signs and Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
This checklist describes the types of symptoms that a healthcare provider will ask about in the process of deciding whether a child has ADHD. You can use this checklist to help you start the conversation.
Deciding if a child has ADHD is a process with several steps. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5) is used by mental health professionals to help diagnose ADHD. The criteria are presented here in modified form in order to make them more accessible to the general public. They are listed here for information purposes and should be used only by trained healthcare providers to diagnose or treat ADHD.
Simply fill out the child’s name, age and today’s date and then check off the signs or symptoms the child has shown. Print and take the completed checklist to your child’s healthcare provider.
(Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention/ www.cdc.gov)