What is the problem that needs to be addressed? Please describe how it is related to mental health.
Mental health problems often begin to manifest themselves in early childhood (for instance 50% of adults with severe and persistent mental illness first had symptoms before the age of 14 years) but few evidence based treatments exist for young children. Without a range of evidence based strategies, we will continue to have children (and or parents) who do not benefit from the few evidence based treatments currently in use.
Why is this a concern for Orange County? What can Orange County and other counties learn from this project?
While identifying young children with behavioral problems is important for early intervention, we must also have early interventions that are effective and evidence based in which to refer to children. By expanding our base of evidence supported treatments, we can extend services to more children and perhaps begin to lessen the burdens of the adult mental health problem.
What is currently being done to resolve this problem in our county and throughout the United States? If applicable: Is it working; why or why not?
There are several evidence based treatments that have been used with younger children, PCIT, Incredible Years and PPP. However, parents don’t always have access to these treatments, the training process for therapists is lengthy and expensive and they are not effective for all young children.
What is new or different about this project idea? Please describe how this differs from what is already being done (Question 6). Please list any research that was done on this topic.
We would like to utilize the techniques described by Harvey Karp, MD, the Happiest Toddler which provides a new way to manage young children who are having tantrums or are emotionally disregulated based on brain science studies. There is anecdotal evidence for the efficacy of these techniques, but there has been no outcome research performed in a systematic way to demonstrate evidence support.
What is the project idea? Please describe how this project will operate.
To implement the procedures utilized in the Happiest Toddler with parents and toddlers in a specific Young Child Clinic and look at outcomes for the child’s behavior at 3 and 6 months post treatment. We would provide this clinic through CHOC Children’s Mental Health program. We would propose partnering with an evaluation group at UCI in order to collect outcomes on the toddler’s behavior and maintenance of treatment effects. We would identify children through CHOC’s Emergency Department, the Early Childhood Mental Health Collaborative of which CHOC is a member, our primary care clinics, and our inpatient mental health unit which services children as young as 3 year old. We believe this method of managing young children could be quite effective and is different from other approaches in that it is based on neuroscience approaches and developed by an experience pediatrician.
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