Childhood is a sensitive period early in life. The right environment and caring parents and teachers would play important roles to ensure a productive future. Now that the whole world is gripped by the pandemic, mental problems are getting severe for all ages. Counselling is a universal need for everybody. Getting rid of doubts and fears, tensions, and worries require skilled counselors.
In a universally digital world, it might be said that counselling caters to everybody! No matter the age and situation, counselling opportunities will occur. Sessions with the family doctor, the lawyer, and the insurance agent are similar with advice and solutions to a range of problems. Kids in school need to go through similar sessions, essentially when they run into problems. Preventive meetings would be better like couples therapy. Online child counselling would be very convenient like now amidst the pandemic with educational infrastructure coming to a halt in physical terms in the school campus.
Children are adept at online activities
Would it be a problem for youngsters to adapt to the digital world? Certainly not, now that most kids grow up with smartphones and tablets. They watch television with their parents and have social media for the company. Text, pictures, videos, and graphs - they are all part of school work these days. Assignments require extensive use of digital data.
Online child counselling conquers every barrier
The great advantage of online counselling reaches every corner of the world, most parts now being connected thoroughly by the internet. Helping hands are capable of reaching the entire global population if need be.
It is truly a magical digital universe. Coming together from opposite ends of the world across seas and mountains, it feels like talking to neighbors. Whatever hesitation the child may have is overcome with video calling. Getting to see each other is quite convincing. Meetings with kids are usually one-on-one since a lot of attention is required. The family may be counseled together if felt necessary. Winning the trust and confidence of the child is the challenge. If the child is lost or afraid, a parent by the side may help in the adjustment process. A warm and welcoming environment needs to be created online.
When would online child counselling be needed?
The innocent, carefree life of the lovely boy or girl moves smoothly until a problem occurs. One does not know when the problem will strike but a naturally cheerful and optimistic outlook helps. In any case, problems are temporary and will come and go. Trauma like a death in the family may require emotional support, especially if it is a single parent with several children. A surprise divorce or an addiction within the family walls raises problem situations that require help.
Unfortunately, if a child suffers from mental health issues, timely help would work wonders. Transfer to a new location and admission to a new school raise sensitive adjustment problems.
A patient listener and a helping hand
A great fuss is made about counselling and life coaching, therapy, and psychological support. Agreed that a vast body of research supports such activities, the basis is quite simple. The person gets a chance to express thoughts aloud and communicate grievances. In the rush of life, finding a listener is difficult. Everybody is busy with themselves. The need to express is paramount. A sympathetic shoulder and a helping hand solve many minor issues. Expressing the problem is half the solution. Make an early beginning. Win the confidence of the child.
How to decide when online child counselling is needed?
Such situations may need counselling help but not always. Some kids are better at adjustment than others. Each child is different, some being naturally gifted in different ways. If everything seems to be fine, don’t worry. Watch out for some indicators that might help decide that counselling online or offline is advisable.
Has the boy or girl gone through some sudden change in recent times? Perhaps they suffer from disturbed sleep? Is it a sudden significant weight loss or gain? Is there a change in appetite patterns?
While these changes may not be very disturbing, others are. Drug or alcohol abuse perhaps, or suicidal thoughts? Is the academic performance weakening with negative school reports? If the child is getting aggressive verbally or physically towards people or pets, it is something to ponder upon. Excessive anxiety, social isolation, and self-harm would be danger signals.
Has the child constantly been feeling sad or hopeless? Being constantly disturbed as expressed in body language and preoccupation with little things would suggest. Is anger coming in the way more often? Irritability would also suggest that something is bothering the mind. Excessive concern with personal appearances might indicate something amiss. Expressions of violence, perhaps with a sibling?
How will online child counselling help?
Involving the family to solve children’s problems is common practice. It might be violent urges, a death, or problem behavior when the family works hand in hand with the counselor to bring adjustment. Mindfulness will help to focus on the problem actions, thoughts, and feelings that are causing disruptions in normal life.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT helps to trace thoughts and situations that trigger negative behavior. Psychotherapy caters to the long-term management of issues like depression.
Though people of all ages may face similar problem situations, child therapists cater to kids and teens. The best results will come when parents and the therapist join hands. Child counselors are specialists that deal with specific problems faced by kids, usually caused by triggers like substance abuse or a death trauma. Art and music therapy, play and movement therapy are some options along with CBT and trauma-based CBT. Diagnosis, treatment, and solutions will most often be quite possible within the short term.
Many people of all ages require speech therapy
The mega mass media mostly deals with spoken content along with statistics. The importance of expert speaking and the ability to face an audience successfully cannot be overstressed. If problems occur in the speech process, it is visible in the early years. If remedied early, the weakness may be got rid of. Kids outgrow many of the hesitations and mispronunciations. If something serious has to be redressed with activities or speech exercises often conducted by parents, it had better be done in all seriousness.
Just like the writing process, speaking problems are common too. Writing has numerous functions in education and work and so does powerful speaking. Now that everything is shifting online, many organizations offer speech training. Multimedia does help and exposure to the daily news on television can be very effective in building up vocabulary. Exposure is crucial and the more involved in writing and speaking, the better. Reading extensively would help both ways.
Techniques that help the speaking process
Speech therapy researches communication and speech fluency with innovative procedures for improvement. The repetitive words and sentences in school are a form of speech therapy to train the organs of speech. Yet, some kids may fall behind or maybe lacking in interest.
Language impairment could occur at all ages. Imagine somebody in the forties who has taken up a job as a tourist guide after being an accountant for decades. Now the need is smart speaking and training would help.
A stroke or certain kinds of accidents that result in brain damage would need speech therapy to recover lost faculties.
1. Articulation problems
Newsreaders on television channels are good examples of articulate speech free from regional accents. Standard English may be understood by audiences worldwide. Children commonly find it difficult to pronounce certain sounds or words. Syllables may be lost, added, or distorted as they speak. The pronunciation of ‘s’ or ‘th’ could be problematic for many.
2. The stammer or speeding problem
If language is not spoken with clarity, speed, and fluency to be comprehensive to listeners, it is a stuttering problem. Speaking very fast or too slow would result in faint communication. Words may be joined together or the pauses between words and sentences may be too long. Steady speaking at the right tone and level needs to be practiced.
3. Resonance issues
Though not so common, neurological problems and a cleft palate could impede proper speech reproduction. In such cases, regular airflow does not occur in the nasal and oral spaces. With the vibrations being altered, the voice suffers.
4. Receptivity disruptions
These cases have difficulty in receiving and understanding spoken messages. Essentially, all the language processes of listening, speaking, reading, and writing should serve the purpose of two-way communication. Understanding instructions or directions will not be possible otherwise. Autism and weak hearing can also result in such a problem.
5. Difficulty in Expression
Communicating information through speech fails when the sentences are structurally weak. Incorrect grammar could be the problem. Down syndrome could be the cause.
6. Cognitive impairment
Brain injury resulting in thought problems could cause thinking problems. Memory might be affected, work may suffer, and speak weakened. Neurological causes might be responsible.
Aphasia refers to a communication weakness. A person experiences difficulty in speaking and understanding.
Dysarthria sufferers speak slowly and the speech is unclear. The muscles used for speaking are weak. Multiple sclerosis could cause weakness with face, throat, and tongue paralysis. Nervous systems do not function properly.
Lee Silverman Speech Therapy broadly aids the speech patterns. Articulation is treated along with respiration and sound volume. It is believed that LSVT helps with swallowing and expressive facial gestures too. Laryngeal muscles work better for better vocal performance.
Stroke sufferers find it hard to eat, drink and speak. Medically, it is called dysphagia. VitalStim uses electrical impulses in the neck along with several other exercises to improve the function. Speech, eating, and drinking improve.
Benefits of Speech Therapy
Beginning with a diagnosis of communication problems, the specialist plans a course of therapy. Speech problems in children would work in a one-on-one tutoring, small group, or classroom setting. The child should feel relaxed and comfortable. Pictures and books, objects, and screens may be used to motivate language use. Questions and answers are a convenient way to get kids talking.
Doing things, handling objects and play methods are conventionally used very effectively. Sounds, words, and syllables need to be repeated and stressed. Youngsters are attracted to recordings of audio and video files where they hear and see themselves. Capturing interest works very well with these devices. Instructions are given to parents to continue the practice in the home surroundings.
How Parents can help their child at Home
Early in life, many children show speech problems that get naturally resolved later. Yet, parents worry a great deal since so much depends upon articulate speech. Contact a professional to identify the nature of the problem. A plan of action without stress is the target. A speech-language pathologist would suggest exercises that may be done at home to overcome physiological problems.
The nature of ADHD with kids
One study in India found that children suffered Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder more than the global average at over 11%. Ages 9 and 10 were the most severely affected. More males suffered from the disability. Reading and writing difficulty affected over 15%. Weak academic performance affected over 33%. Behavioral issues affected 36% with social behavior suffering in 12%.
ADHD treatment in India
ADHD affects the mind and millions of Indian children suffer from this early problem. Globally, the vast numbers of kids add up to about 5% of the worldwide population. A rather common occurrence, ADHD becomes a barrier to the daily life of study and play. The problem is that it might continue until the adult stage.
Some childhood weaknesses like unclear speech are outgrown with the years. ADHD on the other hand could continue. If that happens, study accomplishments and professional work might suffer.
Relationships with parents, brothers, and sisters suffer because of the anxiety caused by ADHD. Emotionally, the person is imbalanced with mood changes often. Depression and anger might occur. The danger of addictions arises and severe boredom may set in.
Attitudes towards ADHD
Requiring ample patience, a caring and sympathetic attitude would help resolve problems early. In some cases, medications are not needed and therapies would suffice to restore balance. Attentiveness is lacking and hyperactivity is noticed. Expert handling would be able to manage such kids in mild cases, provided they do not suffer from conditions like autism.
The Challenges of ADHD treatment in India
It is quite unfortunate that at least 25% of ADHD children continue to suffer the symptoms in the adult years. Such cases require complex management. A combination of medications and psychotherapy would help. Further, education and training would be needed.
Parents play important roles
The sensitive situation with a child with ADHD in the house requires careful management.
Regular daily routines will help. Just like a boarding school system, arrange the daily routine according to timings from rising until bedtime. Don’t make it too rigid and avoid being harsh. Arranging specific places to put things like books and toys builds up a regular lifestyle.
Avoid distractions in the child’s corner
Understand the child’s characteristics and preferences. Avoid television and loud music. Light background music and simple games may be preferred for better work and study. Pay careful attention to homework.
Help the planning process
Study or work for the child needs to be broken up into small bits. Insert breaks between each segment. Minimize mental stress.
Encourage positive behavior with rewards
Set goals and use praise often upon successful completion. Allocate small steps of study or tasks to be easily achieved. Parents will need lots of patience just like school teachers.
Avoid shouts or slaps
Only gently persuasive methods can work each time. A time-out is a way to stop everything briefly when something is not working out. Denial of something like a toy should work until the task gets done. If instructions were given, everything should move smoothly.
Avoid too many options
Having too many alternatives does appear difficult to decide upon like in shopping. Offer two options only like for choices of books or toys, dresses or posters.
Deliver specific instructions every time
Pay close attention to whatever the child says. Give brief and clear directions to whatever needs to get done.
Encourage interests and hobbies
Sports and games, art and music are common children’s interests. Whatever is liked should be encouraged with facilities like toys and sharing. Create positive involvement and further interests, getting rid of stress levels with amusement.
Healthy lifestyles work well
ADHD treatment in India cannot depend upon medications alone. Along with ample good food and rest are physical activities in the park and at home. Regular undisturbed sleeping hours matter very much. Keep ADHD in control appropriately.
Understanding ADHD in a little more detail
ADHD treatment in India requires a better understanding. Inattention and impulsive behavior in ADHD can be disruptive in the study, work, or social settings. If it gets serious, life will come to a halt. Progress will no longer be possible.
Physiologically, it is a smaller brain by about 5% in ADHD victims. The attention and stimulus regions of the brain suffer. Besides, the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine are not properly balanced. Causes are not clear despite, the mighty ongoing research. Medical mysteries are great indeed. Perhaps genetic factors matter. Substance abuse during pregnancy is believed to play a role.
Parents and teachers are those who deal with kids at the early stages and can recognize the symptoms. However, school conditions being overcrowded and too noisy and busy making it difficult to identify sufferers. Home environments too with excessively busy parents may miss the problem with the child completely. School counselors would help but close observation of academic situations and playtime would help decide if a child is affected. Further, parents and teachers do not work in close cooperation in most cases. Only if a serious problem arises does the authority swing into action.
ADHD symptoms can be analyzed under:
Inattentiveness results in daydreaming often and not responding when spoken to.
Impulsiveness refers to constant interruptions and thoughtless actions with no fear. The child cannot wait for something.
Hyperactivity means constant movement and talking at inappropriate times. The child fidgets and squirms very often.
Non-medicinal ADHD treatment in India
Instead of complete dependence upon pharmaceutical drugs, alternative treatments are often favored. Pediatricians and therapists join hands with parents and teachers to deliver therapies to help the child adjust to the surroundings, study, and work situations in better ways.
- CBT or cognitive behavioral training facilities. Play activities help develop cognitive skills.
- Body-based physical activities like yoga and drills. Breathing activities and music-based therapy often work wonders to reduce symptoms and elicit cooperation.
- Psycho-social methods refer to behavior training and social skills development. Parents work with the school authorities in this direction.
- Neuro-cognitive methods, supported by EEG and computer-based research.
Medications for ADHD treatment in India
Medicines to manage ADHD are primarily aimed at the neurotransmitters to reduce symptoms. Stimulants work successfully for a large majority of sufferers, about 75%. Gentle, moderate, and acute ADHD symptoms are most successfully managed. Small kids, teenagers, and adults find a better situation in the home, during the study, work, etc. with such medicines.
The role of stimulants for ADHD
Such medications help the mind to focus better and get rid of disturbances. Adderall, Adzenys, and Dextroamphetamine or Dexedrine are some examples of medical stimulants.
Non-stimulant medications for ADHD
If the use of stimulants causes side-effects, these medications help to control them.
- Patients of all ages can take Atomoxetine or Bupropion
- Clonidine hydrochloride can be taken by itself or in combination with a stimulant
- Children between 6 and 17 years can take Guanfacine
Certain other medications may be prescribed if both stimulants and non-stimulants fail to work. Also, other medical conditions may be present and side effects may arise. Amitriptyline or Bupropion, Escitalopram, or Venlafaxine are some alternative medicines.