Detecting Signs of Trouble in Kids for Early Intervention

Part of the Child Psychology & Development For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Detecting problems early makes a world of difference. Kids who receive early intervention improve more rapidly and successfully than those whose problems lie unaddressed for years. The following signs don’t necessarily indicate huge problems, but should be checked out by a pediatrician and/or mental-health professional:

  • Significant delays in motor skills

  • Lack of eye contact

  • Lack of smile response

  • Significant delays in language

  • Disinterest or withdrawal from others

  • Loss of interest in activities

  • Sustained changes in appetite or sleep

  • Emotions that are either extreme or don’t fit what’s going on

  • Excessive fears

  • Problems with focusing attention

  • Restlessness or hyperactivity

  • Lack of friendships

  • Excessive, prolonged tantrums

  • Aggressiveness

This list is not intended to be comprehensive. If a child you care about demonstrates behaviors that concern you, it’s always better to have the problem checked out than to overlook it. Pay particular attention to things that seem quite different than what you see in kids of a similar age.     

Pediatricians are a great place to start if you have concerns. Even if the problem isn’t physical, they usually know who to refer kids to if they show signs of emotional or behavioral problems.

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