Avera Medical Minute: Children & Behavior Issues - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Children & Behavior Issues

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Children's Wing at Avera Behavioral Health. Children's Wing at Avera Behavioral Health.

If you are a parent, you know dealing with your children's temper tantrums and outbursts comes with the territory. If you are fit-to-be-tied over your child's behavior, it may be time to get help. You can find in-patient treatment at Avera Behavioral Health.

In the children's wing at Avera Behavioral Health, they treat kids with behavioral and emotional issues between the ages of 3 and12. The average stay is 8 days and typically they have 8 or 9 kids here at a time. Believe it or not, the number one diagnosis, the number one problem that drives children to act out is depression.

Colleen Weber is the Manager of the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Program. She says, "Often times the signs you look for in a child are different than what you'd see in an adult. Adults can tell us when they're sad. They can say I'm not feeling right. Kids manifest that in behaviors."

Typically the children who come here are having trouble functioning at school and at home. They're irritable, often throwing tantrums. They're crying more or are more withdrawn. If you've tried outpatient therapy and these things are still happening, the experts here say it's probably time to check your child in to Avera Behavioral Health, for their health and yours.

Avera Psychologist Dr. Adrienne Elhai works with the children in the program. She says, "I don't like to label parents as bad. I think most parents do the best they can do. They just have children with a lot of challenging behavior and the parents need more direction in how to help their children."

At Avera Behavioral help they focus on positive reinforcement instead of nagging on the negative. If a child makes their bed without being asked they get a token. If they get 10 tokens they get to play on the play station. 6 tokens gets them a trip outside for recess.

Colleen says, "It's important to stress that with proper diagnosis and the appropriate treatment early on, the chances for a full recovery for children with depression is excellent."

Every parent wants the best for their child and sometimes that means knowing you need outside help. That's why the children's program exists.

The children's program at Avera Behavioral Health takes a team approach to treatment. The child will work with at least 8 different disciplines (IE., psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, teacher, expression therapist, social worker) while they're there.

Family counseling is also a must. Dr. Elhai says this can't just be about the child. It has to encompass their environment.


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