Abnormal Child Psychology and Disorders

Intellectual disability

The introduction of the term ‘intellectual disability’ into medical circulation is caused to replace the previous title ‘mental retardation.’ After discussions between medical professionals and society, the proposed term was explained. Intellectual disability is a disorder of neural development that causes trouble in social, personal, educational or professional functioning. Intellectual disability (ID) is described by significant restrictions in mental abilities (lack of ability to think and plan logically), which creates discomfort when mastering the skills essential for everyday life. Thus, intellectual disability includes intellectual limitations, lack of adaptive capacity, and the emergence of problems from early childhood. In 1900, Alfred Binet and Theophilus Simon developed testing to identify students who may need a special assistant at school (Mash and Wolfe 124). The test helps to determine the level of intelligence using IQ and assess the development of spatial skills and writing.

Children with intellectual disabilities can learn but need special attention. If the disease is detected in the early stages and therapy is carried out, children will be able to study in regular classes and adapt to peers. As a result, they will be able to communicate with friends and build social relationships. Some children have only mental disorders, but their physical development is normal. Therefore, they can play games, ride a bike (Mash and Wolfe 126). Although, unfortunately, there is another type of intellectual disability that is caused by more severe disabilities.

It is worth noting that children with mild disease will be difficult to provide schooling and communication. Although with intensive treatment in adolescence, their development can reach the level of 6th grade. As for employment, they will be able to succeed, but under supervision and with minimal help from management. Although, despite supervision, people with a mild degree can live sufficiently in society. Personalities with moderate intellectual disabilities in school can communicate only through gestures or use a few words. Most of these people need professional training with supervision. At the same time, they can learn social skills, but their development will remain at the second-grade level. Adolescents with a moderate degree have almost no contact with peers because they cannot distinguish between things like humor and clothes (Mash and Wolfe 129). They in adult life with effective therapy can work as unskilled or semi-skilled work under supervision in specialized production facilities.

Personalities with severe mental disabilities have problems with the ability to walk and serve themselves. In addition to mental limitations, they may have difficulties with mechanical movement or other health difficulties, such as cardiac or physical complications. Therefore, they need social assistance for life. As for training, in adolescence, their maximum abilities can progress to the development of 4-6 years. In adulthood, they can perform only simple tasks. Individuals with profound intellectual disabilities have biological abnormalities, such as asymmetrical facial features. In training, they can learn only the basics of communication and need professional help in order to take care of themselves. Hence, they cannot work and need constant care.

Psychosocial treatment includes intensive, large-scale early intervention services for families with young children designed to reduce risk factors and promote healthy child development. Although these services are expensive, they are of high benefit to children and families in the long run (Mash and Wolfe 153). Moreover, they not only reduce intellectual disabilities but present a chance for an ordinary life. Furthermore, treatment programs are cognitive-behavioral and family-oriented methods of intervention, emphasizing the integration of all angles.

Autism spectrum disorder

Autism is a perplexing neurodevelopmental disorder distinguished by abnormal social communication and unusual responses and interests. Specific behavioral symptoms define the disease: difficulties in social communication (atypical eye contact and social interaction, poor speaking skills, and peer relationships) and repetitive behaviors, limited interests, and sensory sensitivity. It is a biologically determined lifelong dysfunction that manifests itself in the first few years of life. Although all children exhibit primary traits, they can vary significantly in form, prevalence, severity, ability, and comorbidities (Mash and Wolfe 156). Therefore, it is essential to recognize the varieties, as well as explore treatment options and its nature.

In terms of symptoms, firstly, children have a deficit in social-emotional interaction, which is manifested by their inability to participate in mutual conversation, share others’ interests and emotions, and initiate and respond to contact with others. Secondly, they have a deficit of nonverbal communicative behavior demonstrated in social interaction: they cannot hold eye contact, do not know body language, do not understand the benefits of gestures, and sometimes they lack entirely facial expressions. Moreover, patients have deficits in maintaining and understanding relationships with people: they cannot change behavior depending on the social context and lack interest in peers. There is also a group of symptoms that includes limited and repetitive modes of behavior, interests, and activities. For example, children repeat simple actions, automatically imitate the exact words (Mash and Wolfe 159). They can only adjust to the same repetitive events and are stressed by the slightest changes.

There are many differences in how autism is prevalent and manifests itself. It can be stated that it is most common for boys. Monozygotic twins are more susceptible to autism than dizygotic twins. Single parent children are also at greater risk. There are further variations in the development and display of the disease; it usually appears during the second year of life. At the very beginning of the condition, the child’s social involvement decreases, and there are problems with eye contact and speech development. Some children improve their speech during preschool, and most of them catch up with their peers, although they still have problems using it in a social context. Repetitive behavior, sensory sensitivity, and limited interests increase during the preschool years. For most children, symptom onset peaks at age 4 or 5 (Mash and Wolfe 162). During the early school period, indications stabilize, and there are slight declines in crucial symptoms of autism during adulthood. However, the risk of depression may increase in this period.

Attempts to understand the neural abnormalities associated with autism are complex and multiple. There is no single piece of brain damage, on the contrary, autism is a disease viewed at a systemic level. It is a complex dysfunction of the sensor system that has no particular cause. These can be both inherited and non-hereditary genomic changes involving mutations in specific genes or segments of DNA. Non-genetic circumstances that increase the risk of autism have been found in epidemiological studies. These investigations have included the risk of late parenthood, prenatal exposure to certain medications, infection, or high levels of environmental pollution. The most suitable treatment approach available now is psychological, such as behavior analysis. It means that complex tasks are divided into simple steps, and each is overcome with encouragement and motivation for the child. Early intensive interventions can significantly reduce symptoms and increase cognitive and language abilities (Mash and Wolfe 184). Pharmacological treatments are used to handle related conditions (psychological problems, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, sleepiness, and epilepsy), but no pills target the symptoms.

Childhood-onset schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is neurodevelopment of the brain, which shows itself in impaired brain function and abnormal mental capacities. Criteria for determining the disease include symptoms such as delirium, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and behavior. Furthermore, the indication of these symptoms should be observed for at least six months. Besides, children and adolescents also have difficulty perceiving learning and other people. It is crucial to record that schizophrenia can reveal itself in various forms depending on the patient’s age. For example, up to 7 years is a rare manifestation of delusions or hallucinations. However, the signs of schizophrenia fall into two categories. The first section is active symptoms, which are expressed in the violation of normal functioning (delusions). The second type is because the patient loses a normal perception of the world (sleep disorders) (Mash and Wolfe 186). However, before the disease enters the active phase, there may be possible language and body coordination problems and depression.

The extent of the disease is characterized by the fact that schizophrenia is rare in children under 12 years. Additionally, the most excellent chances of detecting the disease are in adolescence and up to 22 years. Doctors also note that the disease may appear faster in boys than in girls, although this difference disappears during puberty. However, significant differences in the course of the disease between the different sexes were not detected. It should be remarked that there is a model that states that the mutation that leads to schizophrenia is the result of disorders at an early age (Mash and Wolfe 170). Thus, a person becomes vulnerable to stress and hormonal changes in adulthood, prompting schizophrenia.

Physicians’ discussions about the leading reasons for the disease are based on a model of neurodevelopment. Accordingly, genetic vulnerability and trauma in childhood lead to disruption of the interaction of brain particles. Moreover, the grounds of the disease, in addition to biological factors, are situations caused by the environment. Although there are prescriptions that can aid alleviate the indications of the disease in children, it is also essential to conduct a comprehensive treatment (Mash and Wolfe 191). These include social skills training, family intervention, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and educational support.

The diagnoses of schizophrenia and autism are often confused because the underlying problem for both clinical groups is difficulty with social interaction. Patients with these disorders do not recognize social signs well; they often have difficulty identifying emotions of the other people, so their reactions may seem inappropriate. However, it is essential to state that there is a fundamental distinction in the diseases.

Distorted thinking and excessive fantasizing essentially create peculiar behavior in people with schizophrenia. Such patients do not have serious communication problems, they can describe their experiences in detail, but logical errors in their interpretation lead to negative consequences. Their fantasies are often morbid and create a false, wrong picture of the world, which leads to strange behavior (Mash and Wolfe 192). People with autism, on the contrary, ignore essential things. Their main problem is a decreased ability to perceive social signals, pay attention to them, and behave according to these signs. The problem is not that people with autism make up some world of their own; they do not see the social component and learn from it from an early age. Based on a comparison of clinical characteristics, prognosis, prevalence, it can be concluded that these dysfunctions differ, if not in their causes, then certainly in their essence, external manifestations, and, of course, approaches to therapy.

Work Cited

Mash, Eric, and David Wolfe. Abnormal Child Psychology. Cengage, 2019.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Abnormal Child Psychology and Disorders." September 11, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/abnormal-child-psychology-and-disorders/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Abnormal Child Psychology and Disorders." September 11, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/abnormal-child-psychology-and-disorders/.


PsychologyWriting. "Abnormal Child Psychology and Disorders." September 11, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/abnormal-child-psychology-and-disorders/.