Kalee has always been sensitive to touch, hearing, and temperature. She has never been able to tolerate scratchy clothing. She holds her ears when near loud traffic and seems to be too hot or too cold when she is in the car. Kalee has a very narrow variety of tastes that she can stand and has always reacted with displeasure when her food is anything other than room temperature.
Peter, on the other hand, seems oblivious to temperatures and textures. He can easily play outside when it is freezing and he forgets his coat. He is happy to wear clothing of any fabric as long as he can get it dirty. In fact, he doesn't seem to react much to any of his five senses.
How strongly does your child react to smells, loud sounds, bright lights, texture, and temperature?
Many parents can describe their tot or preschooler as showing strong consistent responses to one or more of the above eight traits. If one or more traits seem to hold constant as your child develops, it is likely that this trait is something she was born with and will persist as she gets older. When a child's difficult behaviors are due to inborn biological characteristics you will often see these temperamental qualities "played out" differently depending upon the age.
Temperament sometimes heavily influences toddlers and preschoolers' difficult behaviors. If your child's frequent bouts of difficult and out-of-control behaviors are due in large part to his temperament, you will likely describe him in the following way: high activity, low body function predictability, low adaptability, high intensity, negative moods, low persistence, high distractibil-ity, and high sensitivity. Clearly, the more this list matches your child's temperamental traits, potentially the more extreme your child's behaviors may be.
Ten Formal Mental Health Diagnoses That Can Have an Impact on a Child's Behavior
These ten basic areas of psychiatric disorders have been given a formal diagnosis as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. This book is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is utilized by most clinicians who work in the mental health field of health care services. In general, the behavioral difficulties associated with each of the following ten mental health disorder categories have other symptoms associated with them not typically seen in children with normal developmental extreme behaviors. If you suspect your child may have one of these conditions, you should take him for a complete evaluation by his primary care or pediatric physician or nurse practitioner.
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