Please note: These definitions are subject to ambiguity and discussion. Only qualified individuals should make the appropriate diagnosis. Also, the information in these definitions is only a partial listing.
- ADHD/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Inattention and hyperactivity that lasts for at least 6 months. Typically, the child needs to be at least 7 years old before an appropriate diagnosis is made. The child does not pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities. Children have great difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities, and do not seem to listen when spoken to directly. Some children have a tendency to lose things, are forgetful and are easily distracted. These children also struggle with hyperactivity, where they are fidgety, blurting out answers before questions are completed. Waiting their turn and having difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly is also a challenge for children diagnosed ADHD.
- ODD/Oppositional Defiant Disorder: These children typically have a pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures. Children with ODD often lose their temper, consistently argue with adults, disobey rules, and blame others for their own mistakes. These children can also be spiteful or vindictive.
- Pica: Children and adolescents with pica persistently eat nonnutritive substances. Children and adolescents may eat insects, animal droppings, plaster, paint, string, hair or cloth. The eating of substances must be inappropriate to developmental age or level (i.e., a 15 year old ingesting paint or leaves).
- Tourette’s Disorder: Children with Tourette’s Disorder have multiple motor tics and one or more vocal tics. These tics may occur many times throughout a typical day. The tics cause marked distress for the child and family, and can impair social, academic, and interpersonal functioning. Duration, age of onset, and frequency of symptoms needs to be evaluated by a professional before making an accurate diagnosis.
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: Children who experience separation anxiety worry excessively about separation from their home or from those to whom they are attached. The anxiety or worry can be intense, and cause distress in the child’s academic and social functioning. Anxiety concerning separation must be developmentally inappropriate. These children also experience nightmares about separation from loved ones, and will sometimes refuse to go to sleep without being near a major attachment figure.
- Stuttering: Children who experience stuttering have disturbances in normal word fluency and patterning of speech that is inappropriate to their developmental age. These children experience sound and syllable repetitions and broken words. They can sometimes also interject words and sounds.
- Asperger’s Disorder: Children with Asperger’s are challenged in social interactions. They tend to have a restricted, repetitive pattern of behavior, interests, and activities. These children may avoid eye-to-eye gaze and have impairment in facial expression, body posture and gestures to regulate basic social interactions.