A diagnostic assessment is a comprehensive, written evaluation conducted by a mental health professional who works closely with each child and family to identify what services or activities would be most helpful for the child’s individual needs.
The mental health professional interviews the child and/or family to gather information such as:
Onset, frequency, duration and severity of current symptoms
History of current problem
Relevant family and social history
Effects of symptoms on functioning in home, school and community
The mental health professionals completing the Diagnostic Assessments are licensed psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychiatrists or marriage and family therapists with expertise in a wide range of children’s mental health concerns, including: depression, anxiety, ADHD and trauma.
Individual, Group, and Family Therapy
Individual, group and family therapies (also known as Outpatient Therapy) are aimed at treating children and adolescents with behavioral disorders, trauma, anxiety, grief and loss issues and depression. Therapy may be provided at different sites including our offices, school, home and various community settings.
In therapy, our psychologists, social workers and professional counselors work to help children and adolescents lead healthier and happier lives. Individual therapy is recommended to address specific problems with a more personalized approach. The frequency and length of treatment varies depending upon the specific concerns.
Groups offer a ready-made situation to learn new ways of looking at problems, relating to others, engaging in role-modeling and feeling supported in a safe environment. The length of treatment varies based on the severity of the problems, motivation, and ability to risk making changes.
Family therapy provides a non-judgmental, safe place where families can deepen connections, work through stressful times, and and discuss more effective patterns of behavior and communication. The specific focus of treatment will depend on your family’s needs. Family therapy may include all family members or only those that are able or willing to participate.
Intensive In-Home Services
Intensive In-Home (IIH) services are designed to preserve families in their home environment and to identify the root causes of dysfunction for deeply troubled children and their families. This is a time-limited, intensive child and family intervention that is intended to accomplish the following:
Reduce presenting psychiatric or substance use disorder symptoms;
Provide first responder intervention to diffuse current crisis;
Ensure linkage to community services and resources; and
Prevent out of home placement for the child or adolescent
Intensive In-Home services are available to families twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and are provided in the family’s home and community.
Intensive In-Home services are delivered to children and adolescents, primarily in their living environments, with a family focus, using Evidence Based Practices and a variety of parenting curricula. IHH services include but are not limited to the following interventions, as clinically indicated:
Individual and family therapy;
Substance use disorder treatment interventions;
Developing and implementing a home-based behavioral support plan with the child/adolescent and their caregivers; psychoeducation
Psychological testing is helpful in understanding the strengths and challenges that a child or adolescent may have with their emotional, cognitive and behavioral functioning.This process allows for diagnostic clarity leading to appropriate treatment recommendations.
This allows each child or adolescent to reach their potential by providing appropriate interventions and/or accommodations.
The psychological testing process includes gathering information from the child or adolescent’s parent/guardian from a wide variety of test activities. Some examples include questions, drawing, reading, math and writing. Testing may occur in one visit or over multiple visits.
At the conclusion of Psychological Testing, the parent/guardian will meet for a discussion of the results as well as be provided with a written summary.
Day Treatment is a 12-month, school-based program that integrates intensive mental health services with educational services. The primary reasons for referral are mental health and/or an inability to function appropriately in their home and school settings. Some examples include frequent and uncontrollable emotional outbursts, an inability to cooperate with others, and social withdrawal. When children and adolescents graduate from Day Treatment, they transition back into the appropriate school placement.
Appalachian Community Services provides Day Treatment at the following locations:
Murphy Middle School
Swain East Elementary
Swain West Elementary
Swain Middle School
Swain High School
Before recommending any medication for a child or adolescent, a prescriber will complete a thorough psychiatric evaluation. This may include a physical exam, psychological testing, consultation, or other medical tests.
When prescribed appropriately, taken as prescribed, and used a part of a comprehensive treatment plan, medication may help reduce or improve the daily functioning of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders.