Child psychology focuses on the mind, behaviour and development of the child from the prenatal phase through adolescence. Herein development does not only mean the child’s genetics, height and weight, but a large number of other factors that contribute to healthy and adaptive living. The child’s home and school environment, nature of parenting, values imparted and learnt, customs and even the socio-economic background etc, all for an integral aspect of child development. The basic construct of child psychology is that children think differently than adults. Therefore, the nature of intervention for children and adolescents differ from those provided to adults. Children are usually brought in by a parent or an adult who perceive some aspect of the child’s behaviour or development to be abnormal. A child’s behaviour may be categorised as normal or abnormal depending on their developmental phase. It is known that children are less able to express themselves in words, thus the report of their problematic behaviour comes from their parents or schools. The nature of intervention for children also differs. There is less emphasis on medication and more on psychological work. The latter comprises working with the family, psychological assessment, use of play therapy, drawing, stories etc as a means of treatment. Some commonly occurring childhood problems are Mental Retardation, Specific Learning Disabilities (e.g. Dyslexia, Dyscalculia), Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, School Refusal, Temper Tantrums, etc. Children have also been known to be suffering from anxiety and mood disorders like separation anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicide.
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