Developmental disorders, also known as neurodevelopmental disorders, refer to a group of conditions that typically manifest early in development, most commonly before a child enters grade school. This group of mental health conditions is characterized by deficits and impairments in personal, academic, social, and/or occupational functioning. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the range in which these deficits present themselves can vary from very specific limitations in learning or the control of executive functioning to an overall global impairment of social skills and/or intelligence. There are a number of neurodevelopmental disorders, of which include autism spectrum disorders, such as Asperger’s syndrome, intellectual disabilities, and sensory processing disorder.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) occur during the course of brain development and include deficits in social interaction, deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication, and a participation in repetitive behaviors. The spectrum of autism disorders vary greatly in severity from one individual to the next, but all will result in the onset of disturbances in some aspects of a person’s ability to function.
Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is a subset of autism spectrum disorders and is considered to be on the mild end of the spectrum. People with Asperger’s syndrome experience difficulties in interacting socially, often engage in highly repetitive behaviors, and tend to have a rigidity in their thinking patterns. These individuals also maintain a stern focus on rules and routines and become extremely disturbed if such rules and routines are interrupted.
Intellectual disability, previously known as mental retardation, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is defined by below average intelligence or mental abilities, as well as a lack of the skills necessary for daily functioning. People with intellectual disabilities struggle with learning, reasoning, decision-making, and problem-solving. These individuals may also have difficulty effectively communicating and otherwise interacting with others.
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that arises when a person’s brain is incapable of appropriately receiving and responding to information that is transmitted through the senses. With SPD, an individual’s nervous system does not correlate information that is received from the senses in the way that it should and is therefore unable to respond by turning the information into appropriate actions or behaviors.
StoneCrest Center is a 133-bed acute psychiatric inpatient treatment center for adolescents, adults, and senior adults who are in need of specialized behavioral healthcare services. With a vision to remain an ever-improving care center, we strive to redefine the way that mental health treatment is delivered. By focusing on reintegrating patients back into the community by increasing problem-solving skills, communication skills, coping abilities, and enhancing their self-esteem, our compassionate staff is committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for those who entrust us with their care. With our state-of-the-art sensory room, we are the only treatment center in the state that is also able to provide specialized services for individuals with developmental disabilities. With proper therapeutic interventions, individuals who are facing the challenges of living life with a developmental disorder can develop the tools needed to manage their symptoms, set and achieve goals, and lead a full and productive life.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Having a child who is struggling with any type of developmental disorder can be heart-wrenching. You may feel helpless as to what you can do for your child, while also feeling fearful as to what the future holds for him or her. While facing this type of challenge can be intimidating, there are things that you can do to help make the process of receiving treatment manageable and to help your child live the highest quality of life possible.
- Educate yourself about the type of developmental disorder that your child has. Whether it be autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, or sensory processing disorder, the more knowledge that you gain about the disorder itself, the better able you will be to stage appropriate interventions and the better equipped you will be to help your child manage his or her symptoms.
- Keep track of your child’s symptoms and behaviors. By keeping things documented, you will be able to maintain more thorough, open communication with doctors and mental health professionals.
- Schedule an appointment either with your primary care physician or with a mental health professional. In many cases, it can be difficult to know where one can receive the most appropriate mental health services, but by speaking with your child’s general doctor, he or she can provide professionals referrals for psychiatric services that are pertinent to your child’s unique situation. Your doctor should also be able to provide you with referrals for professionals who specialize in specific developmental disorders.
- Research treatment options that you believe may be of the most benefit to your child. Share your findings with your doctor or with the team of mental health professionals that your child meets with. There are many different types of treatment available, and none is a one-size-fits-all, so let it be a collaborative effort in finding the most appropriate method of treatment for your child.
- Continuously keep records of visits with doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and any other type of mental health professional because this will allow you to help track your child’s progress.
- Join a support group with other families who have children or family members who also have a developmental disability. Many communities have such support groups, and it would also be a beneficial way for your child to meet and interact with other children.
Why Consider Treatment at StoneCrest Center
While there is no cure for developmental disorders, the symptoms that accompany these different conditions can be successfully managed when appropriate treatment is received.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including Asperger’s syndrome – Due to the fact that the severity of autism spectrum disorders will affect everyone differently, the type of treatment that will most benefit each individual will vary as well. Inpatient treatment programs can be one of the most beneficial ways of receiving treatment for ASD because these programs are designed to be tailor made to fit each unique individual’s specific needs. The options for interventions that can be received in inpatient programs are vast and can include things such as speech therapy to reinforce proper communication techniques, occupational therapy to reduce overstimulation from sensory stimuli, and physical therapy to work through fine and gross motor delays and impairment.
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) –The symptoms of sensory processing disorder vary so greatly in type and severity amongst individuals that receiving specialized treatment through an inpatient treatment program can be one of the most beneficial ways for beginning the healing process. These programs allow individuals to have the opportunity to be removed from their normal, everyday lives and be placed in a safe environment where they can confront their symptoms while surrounded by medical and mental health professionals. Through individualized treatment plans tailored to meet each individual’s unique set of needs, patients can develop the skills they need to achieve the highest level of functioning possible.
Intellectual disability (ID) – While there is no exact treatment guideline for individuals who have an intellectual disability, developmental interventions should begin as early as possible in order to ensure the best results and provide the individual with a chance at living the highest quality of life. Many individuals with intellectual disability will also have a psychiatric diagnosis, which makes symptom management much more difficult. Behavior problems, especially aggression, are common among those with intellectual disabilities and can cause a great deal of difficulty for families. Inpatient programs that specialize in the treatment of intellectual disability can provide both medication and behavioral management techniques that will be most beneficial. Other treatments for ID that an inpatient program can provide includes teaching adaptive, self-help, and social skills, as well as other rehabilitative measures.
Types of Treatment Offered at StoneCrest Center
The fully trained and qualified staff at StoneCrest uses a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, coordinating care amongst our in-house psychiatrists, nurses, socials workers, and activity therapists. By implementing a case management model that focuses on person-centered planning, each patient works with a therapist who serves as the patient’s coordinator and advocate during his or her stay. These therapists guide patients through the treatment process while establishing a therapeutic relationship as they help them work towards achieving their identified treatment goals. Our treatment programs are created to meet the needs of each patient as a whole in order to ensure that all needs are being addressed and coordinated while in our care. Some of the treatment methods used in our programs may include:
Medication management: The implementation of certain medication may be used when treating developmental disorders if there are symptoms of a co-occurring disorder present. All patients meet with a psychiatrist daily and see a doctor regularly in order to ensure the effectiveness of any medication that is prescribed and to make any changes that may be necessary.
Group therapy: Group therapy plays a major role in the treatment process here at StoneCrest. Multiple groups are held on a daily basis. For our MIDD program, group therapy is more skills-training based, but also includes nursing groups and psychoeducational groups.
Family therapy: At StoneCrest, we believe that family involvement is crucial in helping our patients be successful in the treatment process, and family therapy is held at least once during a patient’s stay. In addition to ensuring that family members are an active part of the therapeutic process, we also educate our patients’ families in order to help them understand what their loved ones are experiencing and discover ways that will help them cope with emotional difficulties that may arise in the future.
Depending on the specific needs of each patient, additional methods of treatment may be used, including:
- Expressive arts
- Therapeutic recreation
- Sensory room interventions spent one-on-one with a therapist
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
When patients have completed the inpatient program at StoneCrest, they will meet with their social worker who will facilitate discharge planning. Our social workers will coordinate appropriate aftercare support, ensure placement or housing when necessary, and schedule any pertinent follow-up appointments with community agencies.