0-6 Year-Old Children

Can very young children have mental health problems? Unfortunately, they can.  Symptoms manifest differently sometimes compared to older youths and adults because of developmental differences, and different thresholds are needed sometimes to make diagnoses, but research suggests that 15% of very young children can be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. 

Lots of things are changing relatively rapidly in the 0-6 years age range.  Psychiatric disorders are much less common in 0-2 years children compared to 3-6 years children.  The reason for this is usually because language, autobiographical memory, and other abstract cognitive abilities come online around three years of age.

Disorders we might see commonly in children six years and younger include:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Adjustment disorders

 When seeking help for very young children, you want someone who has had extra training and hands-on experience with this age group.  Working with this age group requires knowledge of developmental differences, different assessment tools, and special intervention techniques.

What Should Parents Ask Potential Clinicians?

How many children 6 years and younger do you see per year on average?

Ten or more per year is a good indicator.

What extra training have you had for working with this age group?

Clinicians ought to be able to name special training they received in graduate school or workshops they attended.

What treatment techniques do you use for my child’s problem?

Clinicians ought to be able to either name a specific type of treatment model or explain the treatment process to you clearly, and they ought to be able to describe their prior experience using these techniques.

Local Experts

On the Find A Provider page of the Kid Catch Directory, we have a special category under the Issues search filter for 0-6 Year-old Children.  Clicking on this filter will return results of clinicians who advertise themselves as working with this age group.  Kid Catch cannot guarantee that clinicians who advertise themselves this way are truly expert with this age group.  The following are clinicians that we can confirm have extra training and experience with this age group: 

Ruth Arnberger, LCSW (Child Counseling Associates, LLC)

Pat Blackwell, PhD (Pelts, Kirkhart, and Associates, LLC)

Jessica Hoff, MD

Claire Peebles, PhD

Michael Scheeringa, MD (Child Counseling Associates, LLC)

Tulane Infant Mental Health Service (limited to children with Medicaid in the Metropolitan Human Services District catchment area, i.e., Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard parishes).

Child Counseling Associates, LLC is the only known group practice that specializes in very young children in this area.

(If you are a clinician who would like to be added to this list, contact us at [email protected]. We would need confirmation that you treat on average 10 or more children annually in this age group for the past three years).

    - Updated January 2, 2020