For many mental health issues getting correct and early behavior, diagnosis is key. Maladaptive behavior issues require specific approaches, so children with behavioral problems can learn healthy coping mechanisms for their conditions and parents and caregivers to learn how to accommodate individuals properly. At Learning and Behavioral Center, we provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, and assistance for children with Down Syndrome.

What Is Autism? 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that may cause difficulties in motor coordination, communication, and social interaction. Those with ASD often have repetitive and strict behaviors impacting how they conduct their everyday activities. This requires parents, family, and caregivers to understand the condition and how it is uniquely expressed in the individual to accommodate their needs.

There are various early indicators that ASD may be present such as:

  • No babbling or pointing by age 1
  • Not using single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
  • Unresponsive to their name
  • Loss of language or social skills
  • Poor eye contact
  • Lack of social responsiveness

While the exact cause or causes of ASD aren’t known, researchers have found that a combination of environmental and genetic factors are involved. Here at Learning and Behavioral Center, individuals diagnosed with ASD have the option to undergo educational and behavioral intervention. During intensive sessions, therapists will work closely with children to improve their motor, communication, and social skills in a popular therapy such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). 

What is OCD? 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a mental health condition causing individuals to have numerous fixations and repetitive behaviors. OCD is categorized as an anxiety disorder. It causes the mind to create intrusive thoughts prompting individuals to establish rituals and routines meant to calm their extreme anxiety.

The team at Learning and Behavioral Center diagnose OCD using recommendations from the National Institute of Mental Health. Some of the signs and symptoms indicating OCD is present include:

  • Have repeated thoughts or images about many different things, such as fear of germs, dirt, or intruders; acts of violence; hurting loved ones; sexual acts; conflicts with religious beliefs; or being overly tidy.
  • Do the same rituals over and over, such as washing hands, locking and unlocking doors, counting, keeping unneeded items, or repeating the same steps again and again.
  • Can’t control the unwanted thoughts and behaviors.
  • Don’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but get brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause.
  • Spend at least 1 hour a day on the thoughts and rituals, which cause distress and get in the way of daily life.

We offer a variety of treatments for those struggling with OCD. Firstly, patients have the option of undergoing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). With therapists’ help, one will learn different ways of behaving and thinking to be less anxious during obsessive episodes. CBT helps patients learn healthy coping mechanisms. Additionally, therapists use exposure and response prevention to decrease the anxieties associated with a certain ritual. Also, when appropriate, certain medications aid in managing and reducing the symptoms of OCD. 

Understanding ADHD 

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a common childhood disorder that can continue into adolescence and adulthood. It is characterized by difficulty in paying attention, controlling behaviors, and hyperactivity. There are three subtypes of ADHD:

  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
  • Predominantly inattentive
  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive

ADHD is a condition caused by a combination of factors. Family history (genetics), environmental factors, and diet have all been shown to be factors. 

Our behavioral therapy aims to redirect a child’s attention in a way that helps them become more productive. With therapists’ help, individuals will learn how to become organized and attentive in completing one’s homework or finishing a project on a deadline. Through positive feedback, individuals learn to manage symptoms effectively.

The Impact of Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome occurs when there is an extra copy of chromosome 21. With this extra copy, the baby’s body and brain begin to develop differently. Some common physical features include:

  • A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose
  • Almond-shaped eyes that slant up
  • A short neck
  • Small ears
  • A tongue that tends to stick out of the mouth
  • Tiny white spots on the iris (colored part) of the eye
  • Small hands and feet
  • A single line across the palm (palmar crease)
  • Small pinky fingers that sometimes curve toward the thumb
  • Poor muscle tone or loose joints
  • Shorter in height as children and adults

Down Syndrome is diagnosed prenatally through a process where the mother undergoes a series of diagnostic and screening tests. During these tests, doctors analyze blood samples and ultrasounds to find markers that indicate the presence of Down Syndrome. Tests are 100% accurate and should be conducted during the second trimester. While there are no specific treatments for Down syndrome, experts recommend mental health care to manage mood and behavior issues and physical therapy for motor skills. 

Discover the Support Learning and Behavioral Center Offers

If a child in your life is displaying any of the signs of the above conditions, Learning and Behavioral Center can help parents and caregivers get an exact diagnosis. At the same time, we can help families find the support and treatment they need. Reach out to us today at 1.800.683.3522, or contact us online.