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Childhood depression is different from the normal "blues" and everyday emotions

that occur as a child develops. Just because a child seems sad, doesn't necessarily
mean he or she has significant depression. If the sadness becomes persistent, or if
disruptive behavior that interferes with normal social activities, interests,
schoolwork, or family life develops, it may indicate that he or she has a depressive
illness. Keep in mind that while depression is a serious illness, it is also a treatable
one.

How Can I Tell if My Child Is Depressed?

The symptoms of depression in children vary. It is often undiagnosed and untreated


because they are passed off as normal emotional and psychological changes that
occur during growth. Early medical studies focused on "masked" depression, where
a child's depressed mood was evidenced by acting out or angry behavior. While this
does occur, particularly in younger children, many children display sadness or low
mood similar to adults who are depressed. The primary symptoms of depression
revolve around sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, and mood changes.

Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:

Irritability or anger.
Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Social withdrawal.
Increased sensitivity to rejection.
Changes in appetite -- either increased or decreased.
Changes in sleep -- sleeplessness or excessive sleep.
Vocal outbursts or crying.
Difficulty concentrating.
Fatigue and low energy.
Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don't respond to
treatment.

Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in
school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests.
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
Impaired thinking or concentration.
Thoughts of death or suicide.
Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will display different
symptoms at different times and in different settings. Although some children may
continue to function reasonably well in structured environments, most kids with
significant depression will suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of
interest in school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance.
Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol, especially if they are over the age
of 12.

Although relatively rare in youths under 12, young children do attempt suicide -and may do so impulsively when they are upset or angry. Girls are more likely to
attempt suicide, but boys are more likely to actually kill themselves when they
make an attempt. Children with a family history of violence, alcohol abuse, or
physical or sexual abuse are at greater risk for suicide, as are those with depressive
symptoms.

Which Children Get Depressed?

About 2.5% of children in the U.S. suffer from depression. Depression is significantly
more common in boys under the age of 10. But by age 16, girls have a greater
incidence of depression.

Bipolar disorder is more common in adolescents than in younger children. Bipolar


disorder in children can, however, be more severe than in adolescents. It may also
occur with, or be hidden by, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or conduct disorder (CD). Childhood
depression is different from the normal "blues" and everyday emotions that occur as
a child develops. Just because a child seems sad, doesn't necessarily mean he or
she has significant depression. If the sadness becomes persistent, or if disruptive
behavior that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family

life develops, it may indicate that he or she has a depressive illness. Keep in mind
that while depression is a serious illness, it is also a treatable one.

How Can I Tell if My Child Is Depressed?

The symptoms of depression in children vary. It is often undiagnosed and untreated


because they are passed off as normal emotional and psychological changes that
occur during growth. Early medical studies focused on "masked" depression, where
a child's depressed mood was evidenced by acting out or angry behavior. While this
does occur, particularly in younger children, many children display sadness or low
mood similar to adults who are depressed. The primary symptoms of depression
revolve around sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, and mood changes.

Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:

Irritability or anger.
Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Social withdrawal.
Increased sensitivity to rejection.
Changes in appetite -- either increased or decreased.
Changes in sleep -- sleeplessness or excessive sleep.
Vocal outbursts or crying.
Difficulty concentrating.
Fatigue and low energy.
Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don't respond to
treatment.
Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in
school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests.
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
Impaired thinking or concentration.

Thoughts of death or suicide.


Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will display different
symptoms at different times and in different settings. Although some children may
continue to function reasonably well in structured environments, most kids with
significant depression will suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of
interest in school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance.
Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol, especially if they are over the age
of 12.

Although relatively rare in youths under 12, young children do attempt suicide -and may do so impulsively when they are upset or angry. Girls are more likely to
attempt suicide, but boys are more likely to actually kill themselves when they
make an attempt. Children with a family history of violence, alcohol abuse, or
physical or sexual abuse are at greater risk for suicide, as are those with depressive
symptoms.

Which Children Get Depressed?

About 2.5% of children in the U.S. suffer from depression. Depression is significantly
more common in boys under the age of 10. But by age 16, girls have a greater
incidence of depression.

Bipolar disorder is more common in adolescents than in younger children. Bipolar


disorder in children can, however, be more severe than in adolescents. It may also
occur with, or be hidden by, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or conduct disorder (CD) Depression is a
complicated highly condition. As it is experienced by children, is even more
complex. This page is designed to provide an initial overview on the topic and offer
some strategies for teachers to consider utilizing. You are encouraged to seek out
more comprehensive and precise information on this topic.

*Please don't let the corny, irreverant humor, found in all pages of this web site, lure
you into thinking that depression is at all funny to those individuals, friends, and
family involved. Instead, it is severe, persistent, and debilitating. The humor is
meant as a counterbalance to the dark description found below.

What is Depression?
Depression is defined as a mood disturbance, a disorder of feelings and emotions
that can range from mild to severe in intensity. Quite wide spread, it is often
referred to as being the "common cold of mental disorders".

Depression is believed to be a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Some


scientists believe that an imbalance happens first, causing the depression. Some
believe that emotional stress may bring on the chemical changes that result in the
characteristics of depression. Others see an destructive interactive influence of
brain chemistry and one's environmental experiences on each other.

Whatever the sequence of events, when a person is experiencing depression,


certain chemical substances that transmit electrical impulses in the brain are too
low in certain key parts of the brain. Typically, depression is experienced as feelings
of sadness, disappointment, or loneliness that can lead to withdrawal from people
and lessened enjoyment of life. Often, bodily discomforts such as aches and pains
are present too.
the person becomes lethargic, unmotivated, and "down" or "blue" (although this
form is often present in children, and becomes more common as youngsters enter
adolescence). In identifying depression in children, it is important to avoid making
the mistake of looking only for symptoms that characterize adult depression such as
fatigue, suicidal fantasies, low self esteem, and social withdrawal. Depression in
children is often "disguised" by "active" behavior such as irritability, temper
tantrums, violence, risky actions, and/ or refusal to go to school. It is also important
to note that sometimes something as simple as sleep deprivation due to staying up
too late can mimic depression. If a better night time schedule and a nap or two
usually clear things up, it wasn't true depression.

Signs and symptoms can vary depending on the age, personality, and home
situation of the youth. Again, symptoms may vary from mild to profound.
Typically, the indicators listed below are first thought by parents to be reflective of a
physical condition or illness. They then visit the pediatrician who (hopefully)
detects the condition (although many pediatricians are not knowledgeable in this
area). To assist in identification, it is important that professionals working with
children be alert for the following signs, often seemingly contradictory:

Feelings (as identified by verbalizations)


*Feeling sad (cries, pouts, looks sad or troubled)
*Feeling hopeless about the future (says that nothing s/he does will make a
difference, not caring about outcomes)
*Feeling poorly about oneself and one's abilities (makes negative remarks about
self, evaluates oneself poorly in contrast with others)
*Feeling responsible (blames self for past events and negative outcomes in the
present)
*Feeling alone (expresses that no one likes him or her, says that no one
understands)
Physical Symptoms
*Is lethargic, or conversely...highly active
*Fatigues easily, or conversely...rambunctious
*Becomes ill frequently
*Pretends to be ill

General Behavior
* Seems distracted; has trouble focusing and concentrating
* Emotional instability; the child angers with little provocation and/or cries easily
* Fails to find happiness in activities that typically give children joy.
* Frequently mentions unhappy thoughts and sad memories

Eating
* Loss of appetite
* Compulsive overeating

Appearance
* Obvious weight change (loss or gain)
* Looks to be very tired
*Has a sad appearance, or looks very tired and worn out

I'm only wearing black until they create a darker color.

Sleep Patterns
*Engages in attention-seeking actions at bedtime
* Awakens more frequently during the night than was previously the case (insomnia)
* Experiences frequent nightmares and night terrors
* Slow to awaken and "get moving" in the morning
* Sleeps during the day even after a good night's rest (hypersomnia)

Relationships
*Excessive seeking of parental attention
* Lacks interest in friends' or family's activities
* Fights with friends and adults over trivial matters, irritable with others

School
* Avoids school or classes
* Diminished interest in school, schoolwork, or after-school activities

* Avoids socializing with friends or family; seeks isolation

Causes Of Childhood Depression:


Some causes for some cases of childhood depression seem obvious to us, but other
times we are unable to discern a possible etiology. Certainly a long-term illness, an
unhappy home situation, lack of social skill in interacting with others, and
emotionally traumatic events can bring about depression. The various causes are
sometimes categorized in the following manner:

1. Reactive - Depression as a response to environmental factors (family changes,


death of a loved one, end of a relationship)
2. Endogenous - Depression due to biological or genetic factors (brain chemistry
change, inherited predisposition to depression, trauma/injury to the brain)
3. Traumatic environments - Depression as a reaction to an emotionally
overwhelming experience such a child abuse, harsh conflict, or real or imagined
fears of physical or emotional harm.

The reasons students give for failure or the happening of a "bad" event is believed
to determine whether they experience the helpless feelings that lead to depression.
Three attributional spectrums or continua are often considered by psychologist in
their evaluation of children:

External/Internal - "External attribution" means that a particular outcome is believed


to be determined by other people or circumstances. One believes that s/he has
little influence over the outcome of events. Children often attribute many of their
concerns to circumstances beyond their control (luck, fate, chance, powerful others
controlling the events). Strong external forces are seen to be beyond their control.
"Internal attribution" means that the student believes that s/he was responsible for
the outcome in a situation.

Stable/Unstable - If external forces are believed to be at work, this continuum looks


at whether the youngster believes that these external forces will always be present.
An "unstable attribution" is one in which the youngster views the cause in this case
as being transitory, and probably not likely to reappear under similar circumstances.
A "stable" attribution means that the child views the influence as being persistent
and continuous.

Global/Specific - Those with a "global" attribution believe that the cause of the
outcome in a particular situation also influences all other areas of his/her life. A
"specific attribution" outlook sees the cause as occurring only this one time in this
particular aspect of life. A "global attribution" perception means that the youngster
views the perceived force to be influential in many areas of life.

Depressed students make more internal, stable, and specific attributions for failures,
and more external, unstable, and global attributions for successes. They blame
themselves for undesirable results, but fail to see the importance of their efforts in
positive outcomes.

A Quick Checklist For Teachers


If a teacher suspects that a student in his/her class is suffering from depression, the
following checklist of symptoms can be helpful in verifying one's concern and
specifying those concerns to other parties. You might even rate each characteristic
on a 0 to 5 scale to provide information on intensity to the
counselor/psychologist/school-based support team with zero meaning "not noticed"
and five representing "a serious concern that is very pronounced". Also provide
examples and evidence to better delineate the concerns.

Academic Signs
__Unexplained decline in grades/performance
__Loss of interest in school subjects
__Giving up easily when attempting schoolwork
__Low motivation and effort, even though functioning at grade level

Cognitive Signs
__Problems concentrating
__Forgetfulness
__Indecisiveness
__Diminished ability to think, analyze, and decide
__Lack of confidence in one's ability to make good decisions
__Lack of energy, feelings of fatigue

Social/Behavioral Signs
__Disruptive Behavior
__Restlessness
__Similar characteristics to ADHD: Impulsive, inattentive, unable to focus,
hyperactive
__Reckless behaviors
__Antisocial behaviors (lying, stealing)
__Withdrawing from social contact
__Does not want to participate in activities that are fun for other children
__Doesn't want to interact or socialize with other children
__Alienating peers
__Loss of appetite
__Unreasonable fears
__Looking tired or falling asleep

Emotional Signs

__Poor self-image/concept (one's conceptualization of oneself and the


characteristics attributed to oneself...athleticism, intelligence, social ability, etc...
are evaluated negatively)
__Low self-esteem (the degree to which one feels good about oneself is low)
__Expresses feelings of sadness
__Expresses excessive guilt or remorse over his/her actions
__Expresses feelings of helplessness
__Expresses feelings of worthlessness
__Talks/draws/writes about suicide and/or death
__Irritable and cranky
__Excessive complaining
__Does not display pleasure/happiness when other children are doing so Aptitude
tests are designed to measure ability across a range of areas including Verbal
Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning. They are run so that the young person can
identify their abilities and strengths and set career and educational goals to match.
The tests measure ability. This is different to Junior or Leaving Cert exams which
measure performance and achievement. Results are used to help enhance the
young persons chances of success in school and beyond.

Aptitude tests are important for the following reasons:

They help the young person focus on their academic strengths and recognise
subject areas where they may be struggling
They can work to encourage your child because they focus on aptitude rather than
results.
Aptitude tests are good predictors of exam performance and achievement.
They deliver very accurate, reliable and objective results for each individual.
Guidance counsellors and teachers use the results to help and advise students and
their parents as they prepare to make important life and career decisions.
They can uncover hidden talents.

They are useful for highlighting discrepancies between ability and school
performance.
Aptitude tests play an important role in encouraging young people to focus on
realistic and achievable goals.
The results of aptitude tests have good accuracy. Tests used in Irish schools have
been standardised for use in post-primary schools here with separate norms
according to age and gender. The tests do not measure knowledge and students are
not required to prepare for them.

THE SKILLS OF COUNSELLING:

Listening - It is the process of hearing the other person.

a) During listening it is important to show that the counsellor is


listening through the minimal prompts such as head nods,
yes, no etc. They indicate that I am with you. Overuse of
these should be avoided.

b) Behavioural aspects of listening - (SOLER)

S - Sit squarely
O - Openness
L - Leaning
E - Eye contact
R - Relax

Aspects of Listening

Linguistic aspects - words, phrases, figures of speech

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Paralinguistic aspects - timing, volume, tone pitch, ums and errs,
fluency
Non-Verbal aspects: facial expression, gestures, touch, body
position, and proximity to the counsellor, body movement and eye
contact.

Attending and showing receptiveness

It is the act of truly focusing on the other person. It involves


consciously making ourselves aware of what the other person is
saying and of what they are trying to communicate to us.

Observing Body Messages

Non-verbal aspects of communication refer to body


language. The way the client expresses through the use of their
body. They offer clues about the clients internal status beyond the
words. Morris calls it Man Watching. Body language depends on
context in which it occurs, the nature of the relationship, individuals
personal style, personality of the person. Therefore avoid assuming
what person is saying with their body languages.

Listening Blocks

Attraction: Attention is focused on what you are feeling


rather than what client is saying.
Physical condition: Sick/tired, without realizing it you tune out
certain things client is saying.
Concerns: Preoccupied with you own concerns.
Over-eagerness: Listen to only a part and respond.
Similarity of Problems: Same as your own problem. Your
mind wanders.
Differences: Different experiences of yours and client.
Distracting.

Effective Listening:
Attention focuses outward
Suspension of judgment
Attention to the behavioral aspects (SOLER)
Avoidance of interpretation
Development of free-floating attentione is thought of as a natural tendency, special
ability, or capacity or cluster of abilities. Often these natural
abilities are looked at in relationship to a persons readiness
to learn or their suitability for a particular career. For example,
in order to be successful architect, one must possess the
cluster of abilities such as a keen sense of observation, a
sense of aesthetic visual memory, abstract reasoning, and an
ability to sketch free hand. So, aptitude may be defined as a
trait that characterizes an individuals ability to perform in an

area or to acquire the learning necessary for performance in a


given area. It presumes an inherent or native ability that can
be developed to its maximum through learning or other
experiences. However, it can not be expanded beyond a
certain point, even by learning. Although that may be a
debatable concept, it is stated here as a basis on which
aptitude tests are developed. In theory, then, an aptitude test
measures the potential of one to achieve in a given activity or
to learn to achieve in that activity.

Aptitude tests may potentially be used by counselors


and others because.

They may identify potential abilities of which the


individual is not aware;
They may encourage the development of special or
potential abilities of a given individual.
They may provide information to assist on individual in
making educational and career decisions or other
choices between competing alternatives;
They may serve as an aid in predicting the level of
academic or vocational success on individual might
anticipate; and
They may be useful in grouping individuals with similar
aptitudes for development and other educational
purposes.

Types of Aptitude Tests :

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There are different types of aptitude tests. Some of them are


single aptitude tests like tests of mechanical aptitude,
clerical aptitude, teaching aptitude, musical aptitude and
so on. Such tests covering a group of related abilities
are necessary for performing in an occupation like
becoming a mechanic, clerk, teacher, musician etc.
Another type of aptitude test is work sample aptitude
test. It requires the individual to perform all or part of a
given job under the conditions that exist on the job. An
example of a work sample test for the job of automobile
mechanic is to repair a faulty carburetor. Besides this,
there are differential tests Batteries as well. A commonly
know Differential Aptitude Tests (DAT). Bennett,
Seashore and Wesman (1984) battery consists of eight
subtests of verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning
abstract reasoning, spatial reasoning, clerical speed and
accuracy, mechanical reasoning, language usage,
spelling, grammar, combination of such abilities is
required for success in different occupations. Such test
batteries can give comprehensive information about the
relative picture of the students specific abilities.

Administration of total battery can prove to be costly in


terms of time but one can make selective use of certain
sub tests. For example, a student trying to explore
whether s/he will have the required aptitude to go to
engineering, may not be required to take tests like
clerical speed, language usage, grammatical or verbal
reasoning tests but may be required to take numerical
abstract and spatial reasoning tests. Most of the
batteries of tests available for assessment of aptitude at
school stage are in the form of test batteries consisting
of the underlying abilities required for success in
different occupations rather than direct assessment of
job aptitudes.

Caution in the use of Aptitude Test Data :

It is important that counselors select and use aptitude


tests carefully, keeping in view the students/clients needs.
If aptitude test data must be used, it should be used along
with previous achievement data, present interests, leisure
time activities and work habits etc. in order to guide the
students into various occupational possibilitiesAccording to Webster dictionary
counselling is defined as
Consultation, mutual interchange of opinions, deliberating
together.

Counselling is a dynamic and purposeful relationship

between two people who approach a mutually defined problem,


with mutual consideration of each other to the end that the younger
or less mature or more troubled of the two is aided to a self
determined resolution to his problem - Wren-

Counselling is an interaction process which facilitates


meaningful understanding of self and environment and results in
the establishment and or clarification of goals and values for future
behaviors -Shertzer and Stone.-

Counselling is an accepting, trusting and safe relationship in


which clients learn to discuss openly what worries and upsets them,
to define precise behaviour goals, to acquire the essential social
skills and to develop the courage and self confidence to implement
desired new behaviour- Merle M. Ohlsen.-

Counselling is a process by which a troubled person (client)


is helped to tell and behave in a more personally satisfying manner
through interaction with an uninvolved person (counsellor) who
provides information and reactions which stimulate the client to
develop behaviour which enable him to deal more effectively with
himself and his environment. -Edwin Lewis.-

If all the definitions are analyzed we can come to the


following conclusions.
Counselling is a two way process.

It involves two individuals.


There is mutual relationships between the two individuals.
It helps an individuals to gain self understanding self
acceptance and self realization

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It helps an individual to become happier more creative and
better adjusted.

Let us now discuss what Counselling is not.


Counselling is a process which included a number of
activities like giving information, advice & counselling etc. But it is
not an individual activity like giving information / advice / suggestion
/ recommendation only.

From this it is clear that what counselling is.


Counselling constitutes the three activities like I - Informing
A- Advising and
C - Counselling
..