Analyze treatment options used for children and adolescents

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Analyze treatment options used for children and adolescents

Analyze treatment options used for children and adolescents
Discussion: Working With Children and Adolescents

Discussion: Working With Children and Adolescents Versus Adults

Infant, childhood, and adolescent development are a continual interplay between nature (genetic or biologic predisposition) and nurture (environmental experiences). The nature/nurture continuum and debate will always be a part of your career as a PMHNP. Knowing common developmental milestone is important in the role as a child provider. Not only is it essential to the diagnostic process, but it is also important to the interdisciplinary interactions with other mental health professionals. The study of normal developmental processes, however, is only one tool that allows the mental health professional to understand the child being evaluated. There are many different assessment instruments and interviewing techniques that PMHNPs can have in their toolkit when working with children and adolescents. Discussion: Working With Children and Adolescents


In this Discussion, you examine the differences in assessing and treating children and adolescents versus adults. You take into consideration your own clinical experiences, as well as your experiences in your clinical rotation, and the information from the readings thus far.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

Analyze the importance of developmental assessments

Analyze assessment instruments used for evaluating children and adolescents

Analyze treatment options used for children and adolescents

Analyze roles parents play in assessment and treatment

To Prepare for the Discussion Discussion: Working With Children and Adolescents

Review the Learning Resources concerning psychiatric assessments and assessment tools.

Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking Submit!

By Day 3

Post your answers to the following:

Explain why a developmental assessment of children and adolescents is important.

Describe two assessment instruments and explain why they are used for children and adolescents but not adults.

Describe two treatment options for children and adolescents that may not be used when treating adults.

Explain the role parents play in assessment and treatment.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues by offering additional insights or alternative perspectives on their diagnosis or provide alternate next questions and why you selected those.

Importance of a Developmental Assessment of Children and Adolescents

An assessment basically refers to a structured evaluation of the development of a child in terms of language, physical, social, intellectual and emotional perspectives. Therefore, it maps the performance of a child in comparison to that of children of a similar age (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2014). A developmental assessment provides knowledge on the loss of skills that a child had previously acquired which can be a red flag and an indicator for a more detailed assessment. It also helps to know about the concern of a parent regarding his/her child, identifying possible health risks and protective factors. If a developmental assessment identifies potential developmental issues, further medical or developmental evaluation can be conducted using various screening tools (Thapar, et al, 2015). A developmental assessment also provides a platform for a therapist to educate parents on monitoring a child’s development. Therefore, parents become aware of developmental milestones, can closely observe their children and inform on any concerns. This can be fulfilled through milestone checklists towards evaluations and intervening if any concerns are noted. Discussion: Working With Children and Adolescents

Assessment Instruments and Why They Are Used For Children and Adolescents but Not Adults

The Adolescent Adjustment Screening Inventory is an assessment instrument that was designed to evaluate the severity and presence of symptoms of distress and mental disorders in adolescents and children from 12-19 years. With 346 items, a therapist can evaluate specific DSM-IV symptoms of psychiatric disorders in an adolescent (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Another instrument is the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition is also known as BASC-2. This instrument was purposely designed to assess the behavioral aspects of adolescents and children from 2-21 years. While it comprises of maladaptive and adaptive behaviors, it can clinically be used to identify disorders that present in adolescence and childhood, the emotional, behavioral and sensory impairment status of adolescents and children (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Treatment Options for Children and Adolescents That May Not Be Used When Treating Adults

Children can best be treated with play therapy which is a form of psychotherapy that maximally utilizes play as an avenue of assisting children to communicate or express their feelings. This form of treatment takes place in a playroom that is safe and comfortable with minimal limits and rules that are imposed on a child. This freely encourages children to express themselves (Thapar, et al, 2015). Besides, therapists are presented with the opportunity to observe the decisions, choices, and style of play used by a child. The major purpose of play therapy is to help children learn how to express themselves in ways that are more respectful and empathetic and to discover newer approaches that are more positive in solving issues. It is best used to assist children with emotional and social deficits learn how best to communicate, change behavioral patterns, develop skills in problem-solving and relate positively with others (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2014). Discussion: Working With Children and Adolescents

Role Parents Play In Assessment and Treatment

Assessments are a vital aspect of planning for a child’s treatment. Parents have the role of providing relevant information to therapists regarding a child’s psychological and overall health status depending on their own understanding of a child’s to the person conducting an assessment (Thapar, et al, 2015). This not only provides the assessor with accurate information but also improves parental understanding of the role played by assessments in childhood or adolescent motivation. Besides, this relationship has a huge impact on the outcome of therapy. Engaging parents in the assessment and treatment of a child or adolescent serves to reduce the likelihood of resistance by increasing the success of the therapeutic process, reducing cancellations and possibly an early termination of treatment (Thapar, et al, 2015). Besides, parents help to lay a strong foundation for a long-term change of a child within a family. Parents have the role of supporting their children to remain committed to therapy through increased energy and effort. They do so by learning how individual judgments can negatively impact progress made in treatment and obtaining techniques from the therapist which are needed to help change a child’s behavioral patterns (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2014).


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2014). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

Thapar, A., Pine, D. S., Leckman, J. F., Scott, S., Snowling, M. J., & Taylor, E. A. (2015). Rutter’s child and adolescent psychiatry (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell. Discussion: Working With Children and Adolescents