Clinicians often fail to diagnose mental problems in young children. Mental problems are present in around 2-3% of the population as either a disorder or an isolated finding (Handler & Fierson, 2011). There are many causes of mental problems in young children including environmental and genetic factors.

Diagnosis of a mental issue majorly depends on a cautious developmental assessment of the child, a thorough physical examination, and an extensive family and individual medical history (Daily, Ardinger, & Holmes, 2000). In diagnosing mental problems, the most important step to carry out first is recording a comprehensive family and patient history (Daily, Ardinger, & Holmes, 2000). Since the parent of the child is mentally challenged and is not the best historian, I would interview him/her and gather whatever relevant information I might get from him/her.

The next group of people I would interview in order to acquire a complete patient and family history include school staff, first- and second-degree relatives, and other caregivers working with the child and the family. I would also interview the child and give him/her intelligence tests to measure his/her intellectual functioning and learning abilities.

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Since a comprehensive assessment is required to make the correct diagnosis for the child as he or she has faced academic difficulties, I would conduct the assessment in all areas of the patient’s mental problem. This type of assessment will have a number of perspectives including the assessment of test data; observation of the child in the classroom; educational, medical, developmental, and social histories; rating scales and questionnaires filled by the student, teachers and parents; and interviews with the family and the child (Handler & Fierson, 2011).

I would also go through the school records as this will help in obtaining the education history. To build an informed baseline history of the child, I would consider obtaining information about any pregnancy complications, type of delivery, duration and course of labor, rupture of membranes or premature onset of labor, and the length of pregnancy. This information can be obtained from the existing medical records, and it help a lot in this situation.


Daily, D. K., Ardinger, H. H., & Holmes, G. E. (2000). Identification and evaluation of mental retardation. American Family Physician, 61(4), 1059-1067.

Handler, S. M., & Fierson, W. M. (2011). Learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision. Pediatrics, 127(3), e818-e856.

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