Children and young people require specific child and adolescent focussed therapeutic and supportive care, which takes into account the physical, emotional, social and psychological developmental stages of each child and aspects pertaining to their family of origin. Even though many children have similar experiences, each child and young person is unique and individual, and no one model of intervention or supportive care is appropriate for all children
Children go through a number of different developmental stages. These relate to biological and psychological aspects of growth, all of which are interconnected. Successful development through these stages results in the formation of a healthy person with a positive self-awareness and perception of the world (Ericson). An experience of loss, grief, trauma, and negative mental health issues in these early stages can arrest a developmental stage and have impacts at a later time in life.
Young people typically use different ways of coping from those used by adults. Children may not express the feelings directly, frequently they do not reveal what they are feeling for fear of upsetting the adults in their world, but indirectly through play and behaviour. Inappropriate behaviour cannot be excused but it must be appropriately addressed. Therapists look at the interconnectedness of life and mental stages and the underlying issues.
Active listening helps identify the items of importance and the role they play in the young person’s behaviour. Children may look to the adults around them to learn how to respond to the experience of loss. A child needs timely, clear and direct information. They should also be allowed to ask questions, be given information and the opportunity to make decisions for themselves.
Amaranth Foundation offers support and therapeutic interventions for children and young people. Our philosophy of “How People Live Matters” applies equally to children and young people as it does to adults.