The Importance of Developmental Assessments
Developmental assessments are crucial when assessing children and adolescents. These assessments allow healthcare professionals to track and trend the mental and physical health of their clients. It is also used to help identify any delays in a client’s development and ensure developmental milestones are reached. Developmental assessments are also key components that assist in accurately diagnosing and treating clients with evidence-based procedures (CDC, 2020).
Two assessments used in children and adolescents, but not adults, are the CRIES (Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale) and PEDS (Pediatric Emotional Distress Scale) scale. The CRIES scale is given to children eight years old and older, and it can assist the provider in diagnosing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) depending on the client’s score (Verlinden et al., 2015). There are two forms of this scale, which come in an eight or 13 item questionnaire. CRIES aims to provide a look into how a traumatic event has impacted a child (Verlinden et al.).
PEDS is a parent-report scale that consists of 21 items and is used in the pediatric population (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, (n.d.). PEDS helps to identify specific symptoms and behaviors in children ages 2 to 10 following stressful or traumatic events (National Child Traumatic Stress Network). The scale encompasses 17 general behavior items, four items specific to trauma, and each item corresponds to being anxious or withdrawn, fearful, and acting out (National Child Traumatic Stress Network).
Both scales are geared towards measuring the child’s emotional distress related to traumatic events. They are specific to children, and to use the CRIES scale, the child must read and comprehend well enough for the scale to yield accurate results. These scales are not intended for adults as the questions within them are more for assessing child-like behaviors, which are not typically seen in adults.
Two Treatment Options
Positive parenting program and play therapy are two forms of treatment options used for treating issues related to children and adolescents. Positive parenting program is a comprehensive, evidence-based program designed for family and parental support (Ashori et al., 2019). The positive parenting program assists the parents of children in managing behaviors in a safe and healthy manner while promoting positive relationships within a family (Ashori et al.). This program also destigmatizes children with behaviors and increased the parents’ confidence, helping with assertive discipline (Ashori et al.).
Play therapy is an effective form of psychotherapy used to treat mental illness and behavioral problems in children and adolescents. During play therapy, the child leads the therapist through play (Senko and Bethany, 2019). This allows the therapists to create an environment where the client feels safe, promoting communication of difficult topics and allowing for a therapeutic alliance (Senko and Bethany). These two treatment options are not suitable for treating adults as positive parenting focuses on strengthening the parent’s ability to manage their children’s behavior, and play therapy uses recreational time as an outlet to encourage communication.
The Role of Parents
Parents are essential to the interviewing, assessment, and treatment process of children and adolescents. They provide and validate information given by the client, ensure treatment outside of the facility, and assist the practitioner is decision making and monitoring. Parents provide an environment that is conducive to healthy progression and living. This helps with the implementation of treatment. Young clients whose parents are actively involved in their care are more likely to have positive health outcomes and be more compliant (Ashori et al.).
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