How To Help A Child Diagnosed with Emotional Disturbance?

Parents feel stigmatised if their children are diagnosed as emotionally disturbed ones. Parents and teachers at school are often at loss at first understanding and then giving support to a child with such disorders. Many children with emotional disturbance are untrusting of others and get very angry at small things.

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The teachers are maddened at these kids and the parents feel guilty for their behaviour. Parents and teacher share this kind of exchange when referring to such children, “I don’t know why the school just can’t manage my child!” or “She doesn’t act this way at home!” or the worse “We just don’t have the energy or resources to deal with him.”

How to Identify an Emotionally Disturbed Child?

Each child with emotional disturbance will express differently and exhibit different behaviours. Each child has unique characteristics but shares some common deficits – lack of emotional development, less than optimal behavioural development, and stunted cognitive development. Behavioural expression of an emotional disorder may include directed outward or inward or both.

These children can show any one of the following behaviours, which makes it easier for parents and teachers to identify it early.

  • Hyperactivity with very short attention span and impulsiveness
  • Overt aggression towards others or self-injurious behaviour
  • Little to no social interaction, a sense of excessive fear or anxiety
  • Immaturity in coping with problems, throwing tantrums
  • Difficulties in learning anything

Risks for Children with Emotional Disturbances

Children with emotional disturbances have a hard time dealing with the world as they see it from a different set of glasses than all others. This freaks them out that why are other people not behaving “normally” and can put them at greater risks. Some of the risks of not handling such children in time and properly are:

  1. Being suspended or expelled (pushed out of) from the school as a severe punishment;
  2. Risk of school failure and dropping out;
  3. Chances of them getting into the wrong company in an impressionable age;
  4. Being thought of as bad, troublemakers, “black sheep” can damage their self-esteem;
  5. They have a greater chance of being exploited and abused;
  6. They may be an emotional burden on themselves and their families for life.

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