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Changes in Child Behavior: How to Identify Signs and When to Worry

child behavior May 15, 2023
Child Behavior

Changes in Child Behavior: How to Identify Signs and When to Worry

Understanding child behavior and how it changes through developmental phases is key to knowing when to seek professional help.

Did you know that 1 out of 6 children in the United States aged 2 to 8 have behavioral or developmental disorders? 

But what kind of changes in child behavior should you look out for? How can you identify the signs and when should you worry? How can you know if the signs are indicative of basal ganglia encephalitis or PANS/PANDAS?

Keep reading and learn more about it in this guide.

Identifying Signs of Abnormal Child Behavior

Children should reach certain developmental milestones at certain points in their lives, typically sitting at 6 months, pointing and waving by 1 year as well as communication through eye contact, signs, and speech.

Missing these milestones may mean that your child's behavior and development are not normal. But what are developmentally appropriate milestones?

They include talking, walking, interacting with other children and adults, and so on.

These behaviors occur in the first years of a child's life. If your child does not pick up these behaviors right away, there may be a problem that should be discussed with your pediatrician

Your young child may also develop other atypical behaviors. They may be uncomfortable when interacting with others, especially strangers.

They may not like to look people in the eye or like to be touched. Another behavior change to look out for is obsessive or perseverative behaviors, often termed stimming. Some children develop habits such as rocking back and forth.

Others may bang their backs or heads against the wall. If you are seeing any of these behaviors, talk to your practitioner about neurodevelopmental issues. 

Neurodevelopmental or Neuropsychiatric?

Sometimes your child develops neurotypically but then regresses with a sudden onset of anxiety, OCD, or tics. If you notice that abruptly your child acts differently than other children, you may want to consider Basal Ganglia Encephalitis (BGE), also termed PANS and PANDAS

These disorders can also include the abrupt onset of restrictive or obsessive eating disorders. Somatic symptoms such as trouble with sleep or bedwetting that evolve dramatically and abruptly can also be seen.

Your child may be happy one moment and angry the next. If you are unsure if your child's behavior is unusual, you can talk to a child behavior expert. 

An expert is much more familiar with the more nuanced signs of abnormal child behavior. This can help get to the root of the problem. A qualified and compassionate practitioner can also help empower you to find the right tools to help your child.

All About Child Behavior

It is important to understand basic child behavior to see if your child is acting abnormally. These abnormalities can be neurodevelopmental or neuropsychiatric. 

Record any symptoms for which you are concerned. Talk to a qualified therapist, psychologist, or physician about your concerns and find someone who is willing to listen and help you help your child.

To learn more about it, check out our services.

Nancy O'Hara


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