Part 1: Common psychological disorders of childhood

Part 1: Common psychological disorders of childhood

Maggie Reyes

Psychological disorders, also known as mental disorders, are changes in the mental process that affect people in a biopsychosocial way (motor, reasoning, emotions and behaviors). Certain disorders show up at different stages in a child's development and understanding them can help parents develop treatment plans.


Behaviour disorders

While it’s normal for young children to misbehave the bad behaviour is usually transient. When inappropriate, ranging from hyperactivity to aggressiveness, persists for more than six months it can be a sign of a behavior disorder. 


Typical symptoms may include:


  • poor performance at school
  • fighting with peers
  • stealing
  • lying
  • disobeying rules and guidelines set by parents and teachers
  • hostility
  • arrogance
  • smoking, drinking or using drugs
  • no sign of remorse


Behaviour disorders are often a combination of different factors and research is still ongoing. Preliminary investigations have found that deterioration of the frontal lobe of the brain, genetics, low socioeconomic status, dysfunctional family and hostile environments all play a factor.

 Part 1: Common psychological disorders of childhood

Speech disorders

Every child starts talking at different times and some children are slower at communication. A development delay in speaking can also indicate a speech disorder. Typical indications can be a child consistently having trouble putting their words in order to finish a sentence, trouble themselves or understanding what other people want to say.  Often children with this disorder start talking much later than normal. It’s important to note that this disorder doesn’t involve difficulty in hearing or speaking. The challenge is not being able to order ideas grammatically.


Causes can be developmental when the child has a difficult birth or has suffered some mild brain damage such as aphasia. According to studies children with language disorder usually have an average or above average intelligence.

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