Many assessment principles are the same for children and adults; however, unlike with adults/older adults, where consent for participation in the assessment comes from the actual client, with children, it is the parents or guardians who must make the decision for treatment. Issues of confidentiality, privacy, and consent must be addressed. When working with children, it is important not only to be able to connect with the pediatric patient, but also to be able to collaborate effectively with the caregivers, other family members, teachers, and school counselors/psychologists, all of whom will be able to provide important context and details to aid in your assessment and treatment plans.
Some children/adolescents may be more difficult to assess than adults, as they can be less psychologically minded. That is, they have fewer insights into themselves and their motivations than adults (although this is not universally true). The PMHNP must also take into consideration the child’s culture and environmental context. Additionally, with children/adolescents, there are lower rates of neurocognitive disorders superimposed on other clinical conditions, such as depression or anxiety, which create additional diagnostic challenges.
In this Discussion, you review and critique the techniques and methods of a mental health professional as the practitioner completes a comprehensive, integrated psychiatric assessment of an adolescent. You also identify rating scales and treatment options that are specifically appropriate for children/adolescents.