Social and emotional challenges are common in children 0-6. Some commonly diagnosed disorders include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Reactive attachment disorder
  • Disinhibited social engagement disorder
  • Anxiety
    • Separation
    • Generalize
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Social (pragmatic) community disorder
  • Depression
  • Adjustment Disorder
  • Disruptive Behavior Not Otherwise Specified
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Physical Abuse of Child
  • Sexual Abuse of Child

DMH views the response to early childhood mental health needs along continuum of screening, assessment and diagnosis.

  • Screening – a “snapshot” of a child’s development that indicates either that progress is typical or that there is a cause for concern and further evaluation.
  • Assessment – an ongoing process of collecting, synthesizing and interpreting information to determine a child’s developmental abilities and/or skills
  • Diagnosis – synthesizing all data gathered from different sources during a developmental assessment into a qualitative and quantitative description of the child’s capacities in different functional areas and of the child’s current strengths and weaknesses

Screening Tools

ASQ-SE (Ages, Stages Questionnaire-Social and Emotional): the ASQ-SE is a highly reliable screening tool with a focus on children’s social and emotional development. Used with children ages 3 months – 66 months.

DECA (Devereux Early Childhood Assessment): the DECA is a standardized, norm referenced screening tool used for Infants, Toddlers, Preschool and School Age Children that assesses a child’s behavior as protective factors and risk factors.

SWYC (Survey of Well-Being of Young Children): the SWYC includes brief questionnaires to assess three domains of child functioning; Developmental, Social & Emotional, and Family Context. The Baby Pediatric Symptom Checklist (BPSC) and the Preschool Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PPSC) are included in the survey. Used with children ages 0-6.

PEDS (Parents Evaluation of Developmental Status: PEDS Online): An evidence-based method for detecting and addressing developmental and behavioral problems in children.

Diagnostic Instruments

DC:0-3R: The Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood, Revised (DC:0-3R) - is designed to help mental health and other professionals, recognize mental health and developmental challenges in young children, understand how relationships and environmental factors contribute to mental health and developmental disorders, use diagnostic criteria effectively for classification and intervention, and work more effectively with parents and other professionals to develop effective treatment plans.

DSM - V: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition

DECA-C (Devereux Early Childhood Assessment – Clinical): the DECA-C is a standardized, norm-referenced behavior rating scale that assesses behaviors related to both social and emotional resilience as well as concerns. Used for children ages 2-6.

CBCL (Child Behavior Checklist): The CBCL/Achenbach System is a comprehensive approach to assess adaptive and maladaptive functioning. There are parent and teacher forms available to both preschool and school- age children. Used for children ages, 1.5 to 5 and ages 6-18.

For a more information on these screening tools and more, please visit the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center.