Psychiatric care for young children

​Psychiatric units specializing in young children offer psychiatric care for infants and toddlers i.e. children under six years of age. The specialist medical care units offering psychiatric care for young children operate as separate units or in connection with child psychiatry outpatient clinics.

Young child psychiatry diagnoses and treats children under six who demonstrate prolonged emotional or behavioral disorders, and is required when there is concern about the child's behavior in interactive situations.

At first, the child's symptoms are closely examined and the strengths and issues in personal development determined. The parents accompany their child to these appointments. To gain a reliable understanding of the situation, interaction between the child and the closest care givers should be assessed. During the assessment period, the child's day care or home is visited with the parents' consent, if necessary.

Care is planned together with the parents. In addition to supporting the relationship between parent and child in the current situation, it is important to help the parents see their child in a positive light, which will contribute to the child's healthy development. Also young children may benefit from individual rehabilitation in the form of psychotherapy or occupational therapy, for example, but even then the parents participate in the care of their child. Day care is often an important element in organizing the child's care. Young child psychiatric care typically lasts from a few months to a couple of years.

The multi-professional team comprises a physician, a nurse, a psychologist and often also an occupational therapist, a speech therapist and a social worker.