The interview techniques utilized for the assessment of a child are different from those used with adults. For adults, assessment includes data collection through direct questioning and observation (Mansfield, Keitner, & Dealy, 2015). However, it is necessary to point out that children’s referral to psychiatric assessment is usually initiated by their parents or pediatricians, not the patients themselves.
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It means that children should not be evaluated in isolation from their environment, such as school, family, and culture. The assessment of a child usually requires more time than an adult’s one. The interview techniques used with children depend on the age of a child and their possible mental status. For example, involvement in young children’s play can help to assess their capacity to interact with others, evaluate speech development, and identify their ability for complex thinking.
Direct questioning is also used as an assessment tool and is as significant as observation of the behavior. Another strategy for assessing a child’s mental health is the multi-format assessment approach (De Los Reyes et al., 2015). It can involve the use of reports from people sharing close relationships with young patients to gain the understanding of the consistency of the symptoms.
Culture is a significant aspect of health services in psychiatry as it shapes individuals’ perceptions of care, the types of treatment they accept and the patterning of symptoms (Lewis-Fernández et al., 2014). I implement cultural aspects in my approach by including cultural identity-related questions in assessment protocols. For example, I ask patients whether there are cultural beliefs influencing their behaviors, diet, or the choice of treatment. I also consider the cultural differences while assessing a patient’s appearance and language skills. I believe that it is always necessary to consider individuals’ cultural background during the assessment to meet the needs of the patients.
De Los Reyes, A., Augenstein, T. M., Wang, M., Thomas, S. A., Drabick, D. A., Burgers, D. E., & Rabinowitz, J. (2015). The validity of the multi-informant approach to assessing child and adolescent mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 141(4), 858-900.
Lewis-Fernández, R., Aggarwal, N. K., Bäärnhielm, S., Rohlof, H., Kirmayer, L. J., Weiss, M. G.,… & Groen, S. (2014). Culture and psychiatric evaluation: Operationalizing cultural formulation for DSM-5. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 77(2), 130-154.
Mansfield, A. K., Keitner, G. I., & Dealy, J. (2015). The family assessment device: An update. Family Process, 54(1), 82-93.
Swineford, L. B., Thurm, A., Baird, G., Wetherby, A. M., & Swedo, S. (2014). Social (pragmatic) communication disorder: A research review of this new DSM-5 diagnostic category. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 6. Web.