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Glossary of Terms in Childhood Mental Health

Antipsychotic medication . Drugs that reduce psychotic behaviour, used most frequently in the treatment of schizophrenia. Examples include the phenothiazines, such as chlorpromazine (Thorazin) and fluphenazine (Prolixin). [ 2 ]

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people work on immediate issues. Rather than helping people understand their feelings and actions, it supports them directly in changing their behavior. The support might be practical assistance or the support might be to encourage new behaviors by giving praise or rewards each time the person acts in the desired way. [ 1 ]

DSM . The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. Currently in IV (fourth) edition. [ 2 ]

Echolalia . Echoing, or repeating back, what has been heard. For example in Autism . Without persistent training, echoing other people's phrases may be the only language that people with autism ever acquire. What they repeat might be a question they were just asked, or an advertisement on television. Or out of the blue, a child may shout, "Stay on your own side of the road!"-something he heard his father say weeks before. Although children without autism go through a stage where they repeat what they hear, it normally passes by the time they are 3. [ 1 ]

Neurotransmitter . A chemical involved in the transmission of nerve impluses across the synapse form one neurone to another. Usually released from small vesicles in the synaptic terminals of the axon in response to the action potential (nerve impluse); diffuses across synapse to influence elctrical actity in another neuron. Examples include dopamine, epinephrine/adrenaline, serotonin. [ 2 ]

Psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, patients talk with the therapist about upsetting thoughts and feelings, explore self-defeating patterns of behavior, and learn alternative ways to handle their emotions. As they talk, the therapist tries to help them understand how they can change. [ 1 ]

Parenting skills training, offered by therapists or in special classes, gives parents tools and techniques for managing their child's behavior. One such technique is the use of "time out" when the child becomes too unruly or out of control. During time outs, the child is removed from the agitating situation and sits alone quietly for a short time to calm down. Parents may also be taught to give the child "quality time" each day, in which they share a pleasurable or relaxed activity. During this time together, the parent looks for opportunities to notice and point out what the child does well, and praise his or her strengths and abilities. An effective way to modify a child's behavior is through a system of rewards and penalties. The parents (or teacher) identify a few desirable behaviors that they want to encourage in the child--such as asking for a toy instead of grabbing it, or completing a simple task. The child is told exactly what is expected in order to earn the reward. The child receives the reward when he performs the desired behavior and a mild penalty when he doesn't. The goal, over time, is to help children learn to control their own behavior and to choose the more desired behavior. [ 1 ]

Social skills training can help children learn new behaviors. In social skills training, the therapist discusses and models appropriate behaviors like waiting for a turn, sharing toys, asking for help, or responding to teasing, then gives children a chance to practice. For example, a child might learn to "read" other people's facial expression and tone of voice, in order to respond more appropriately. [ 1 ]

Support groups connect people who have common concerns. Many adults with ADHD and parents of children with ADHD find it useful to join a local or national support group. [ 1 ]

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. National Institute of Mental Health:
2. Introduction to Psychology , Atkinson, R. L.; Atkinson R.C.; Smith E.E.; Bem, D.J., 11th Edition (1993), Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, FL, USA

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