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Treatment and Management
At the Child Development Network we approach treatment and management in an organised way. To begin with, we need a clear picture of what the problems and issues are (see Diagnosis ). From this comes a picture of whether there is likely to be a longstanding problem (that will affect the child throughout childhood) or something that is hopefully temporary and can be treated.
Typical temporary problems would include learning delays, difficult behaviour or problems with emotional control and the behaviour that results from this. Such problem can usually be dealt with through treatment services that are for a fixed period of time.
We approach these services in a structured way:
More permanent problems
True neurodevelopmental disorders are more longstanding in nature. Examples include ADHD, Autistic disorders, Learning Disorders and Motor Control disorders. They continue to impact on development throughout childhood.
For these types of problems we use a 'case management' approach, which develops an individualised plan to guide you. These plans identify issues, goals, who is involved, and how to monitor progress towards the goals.
Long term management involves three simultaneous strategies:
In addition to the case management plans, we also help you organise specific therapy interventions. These are similar to how we manage temporary problems, by using fixed-time periods of intervention to achieve specific outcomes.
A key to managing more longstanding problems is support over time. We provide this at the CDN with ongoing followup services that include helping you continue the case management planning, advocacy, and whatever else is necessary to build towards a future where you child has the best mental health (happiness, understanding of themselves) as well as best development (skills, knowledge and behaviour).
Medication is a challenging issue. At the CDN we are neither 'for' or 'against' medication, but believe it can be helpful for individual children when used selectively.
The key to medication is to see it as a 'means to an end'. Using medication to control symptoms (such as impulsivity and distractibility) may allow developmental interventions (e.g. to build learning, organisational or social skills) to be far more successful.
If we do use medication, we aim to define a plan to make the most of the opportunity created.
We also consider, from the very outset, how eventually to get the child off medication.
Neuroplasticity refers to how our brains change with focused, repeated exercise.
More recently, specific programs that target specific brain functions have been developed and studied. We use these in our Neuroplasticity service.
Psychological therapies are a set of techniques that have been shown effective in addressing both psychological (how we feel) and behavioural problems.
Examples include PPP, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness based therapies such as ACT.
The therapies themselves are provided for a period of time, with the goal of teaching both parents and children how to use these techniques on an ongoing basis.