Pediatrician examining patient with motherTouchpoint Pediatrics understands the care and needs of children with behavioral health issues. Dr. Jennifer Shaw, M.D., F.A.A.P., has the distinction of being board-certified as a  general and developmental behavioral pediatrician who helps families manage a wide variety of health needs. All of our pediatricians at Touchpoint Pediatrics have a strong focus on developmental and behavioral pediatrics providing comprehensive pediatric care for families in the Chatham, New Jersey, area. For the practice’s general pediatric patients, that care includes treating behavioral health conditions and helping families employ various coping strategies.

Please note: Touchpoint Pediatrics does not perform developmental or behavioral health evaluations, but we do coordinate care amongst all the specialists and work with families to help them navigate this complex environment to help maximize the available resources to deliver better outcomes.

Behavioral Health Treatment And Coping Mechanisms

Behavioral health concerns and mental illness in children may occur at any age. If a parent believes their child has a developmental and behavioral health condition, Dr. Shaw can help alleviate concerns with her sub-specialty training in these fields. Our pediatricians have received several awards and credentials over the years and can provide quality care to young patients. Being one of the first board-certified developmental behavioral pediatricians in the United States, Dr. Shaw specializes in treating the following behavioral issues:

  • ADHD: This condition is one of the most common neurodevelopment disorders in children and young adults. Symptoms may include trouble paying attention, difficulty listening, and impulsive activity.
  • Sibling rivalry: Beyond occasional fights, sibling rivalry is an ongoing conflict among children in the same household. Sibling rivalry may entail fighting, jealousy, and competition.
  • Temper tantrums: Sudden disruptive emotional outbursts from children, typically characterized as distress, include screaming, crying, and stubbornness.
  • Learning disabilities: If the child struggles retaining, understanding, or using information they learn in school, they may have a learning disability.
  • Motivational struggles: Sufferers exhibit avoidance of feelings and signs of self-doubt. Motivational issues can appear as laziness or energy deficiency but may indicate a deeper issue.
  • Feeding struggles: When a child shows delay in eating and drinking, they may have a feeding issue. This struggle typically involves difficulty chewing and swallowing.
  • Separation anxiety: This is characterized as excessive anxiety or fear of being apart from parents or familiar faces.
  • Eating concerns: These conditions affect children who overeat for comfort or struggle eating due to fear of gaining weight.
  • Autism: This developmental nervous system disorder makes communicating and socializing difficult for children. Signs of autism include repetitive acts and obsessive interests and hobbies.

To accurately understand and treat a child’s behavioral health issue, Touchpoint Pediatrics takes the time to review and discuss suggested coping mechanisms with the family. Because every child is different, the process and solutions differ in each case.

Behavioral And Mental Health Disorders 

Although behavioral and mental struggles manifest differently in all children and young adults, some conditions are more common than others. Some of the most common behavioral health symptoms in children and young adults include refusal to follow rules, tantrums, frequent arguing, increased anger or frustration, and blaming others often. Children and young adults who exemplify signs like this might suffer from the following behavioral or conduct problems:

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Ongoing patterns of anger, aggression, or difficulty getting along with other children are telltale signs of ODD. Additional behaviors associated with ODD include bullying, harming oneself or others, stealing, lying, and acting cruelly toward animals.

Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety and depression may occur in children who fear leaving their parents, are afraid of school or other kids, or suffer from constant worrying. Physical signs of anxiety may include trouble breathing, fast heart rate, dizziness, or shaking. Some signs of depression may include prolonged feelings of sadness and hopelessness, as well as changes in energy or sleep patterns.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Children who have constant urges to complete certain activities out of fear of adverse consequences may have OCD. These acts include washing their hands repeatedly, wearing the same shirt multiple times, and counting or repeating words in their heads or out loud. 

Tourette Syndrome

Physical or vocal tics, such as repeated and sudden sounds or movements that appear as uncontrollable, are the primary symptom of Tourette Syndrome.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Long-term effects of trauma or stressful experiences can result in PTSD. Symptoms may include nightmares, intense sadness, irritability, being easily startled, denial, and avoidance of places or people they associate with a traumatic event.

Many different disorders can impact a child and their behavior. Children with behavioral health concerns require assistance from a medical professional, such as a board-certified pediatrician.

Behavioral Health Treatments

Dr. Shaw offers treatment plans that help children manage behavioral or developmental conditions and achieve overall wellness. Treatment will differ for each child based on the specific issue, but some general coping mechanisms may include:

  • Therapy: Different therapy options are available depending on the child’s individual needs, such as psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, family or group therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, and social skills therapy.
  • Medication: Certain medications can be prescribed to help a child cope with the effects of a behavioral or mental illness. Doctors often prescribe medication for ADHD, OCD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Based on the individual circumstances, Touchpoint Pediatrics may or may not manage the medication needs of the

Along with providing resources and informed guidance, Dr. Shaw can discuss tailored solutions and treatments that meet the child’s specific needs.

Seek Behavioral Health Care At Touchpoint Pediatrics

Dr. Jennifer Shaw is the founder of Touchpoint Pediatrics and specializes in behavioral health concerns in children. Dr. Shaw was one of the first board-certified developmental and behavioral pediatricians nationwide. With more than 25 years of experience, Dr. Shaw has vast expertise in helping children and families.

Touchpoint Pediatrics accepts new patients and provides care for families in Chatham, NJ, and throughout Morristown, Summit, Berkeley Heights, Hoboken, and beyond. If a child receives general care from Touchpoint Pediatrics, they also can receive development or behavioral support from Dr. Shaw and the other pediatricians. Contact us today to learn more about these services or to schedule an appointment.