Every fifth child shows behavioral problems

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Every fifth child shows behavioral problems

According to the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ), every fifth child shows behavioral problems in Bavarian daycare centers. Children between the ages of four and five are particularly affected. Mental illnesses are also increasingly observed in primary school children.

20 percent of kindergarten children show striking behaviors
More than 20 percent of all four- to five-year-old children show striking behaviors in Bavarian kindergartens. The Association of Pediatricians bases this statement on an analysis of the contractual working group of company health insurance companies in Bavaria (90 participating company insurance companies). During the evaluation period, a total of 4318 children were examined between autumn 2009 and summer 2010. A total of 943 examined toddlers were found to be “conspicuous”. “These results confirm our observations in practice. We see more and more children with developmental disorders, poor concentration and mental problems. The "new" diseases also pose enormous challenges for us pediatricians. It is not uncommon for us to become family psychologists - and that is exactly why we are also setting new priorities in the education and training of pediatricians in Bavaria, ”explained Dr. Martin Lang from Augsburg, state chairman of the professional association of pediatricians in Bavaria (BVKJ). Questionnaires were presented to educators during the regular preventive examinations U8 (age 4) and U9 (age 5). The questionnaire included topics such as social skills, fine motor skills, movement and body coordination as well as concentration skills of the children.

15 percent undesirable developments also in elementary school students According to the medical association, it is not only small children who are affected by social deficits. The "new clinical pictures" were also frequently observed during the preventive examinations of children of primary school age. In about 15 percent of the seven to eight year olds, clear deficits in terms of social competence and emotional constitution were found in the course of the preventive examinations (U10 and U11). “The questionnaires are filled in by teachers and parents - people who deal with the children every day. In this respect, the result is already unsettling. We see not only an increase in the so-called "ADHD children" - that is, hyperactive and often also unfocused children who often have school problems - but also children with emotional problems and unfortunately also many who have difficulties dealing with their peers. That is already a major social problem, ”warned Lang.

Recognize and treat new teething problems
In view of these findings, Bavaria has started to work with the company health insurance funds to develop an offer that recognizes "new diseases" at an early stage. The range of treatments and examinations specializes in mental and social problems for children. "In practice, the socio-pediatric module that we developed as part of the" BKK Starke Kids Contract "gives us the opportunity to deal intensively with the children's emotional problems and develop solutions. The aim is to stabilize the children - and to give them so much emotional strength that a hospital stay is not necessary. Unfortunately, the number of admissions to children in psychiatric clinics has increased dramatically in recent years, ”explains Lang. The pediatric association wants to counteract the increase in mental illnesses in practice with the further development of pediatric care. “The so-called selective contracts give us the opportunity to react quickly to changes in medical care for children and adolescents. Naturally, this increases the demands on our specialist area - and that is exactly why we set the corresponding priorities for our further training events, ”continued Lang.

Children suffer from increasing stress
The observations of the Association of Pediatricians and Adolescents essentially coincide with other studies. A Forsa survey, for example, comes to the conclusion that every second Bavarian student suffers from stress symptoms. During the representative survey, a total of 1,000 parents from all over Germany were asked about their children's stress. It was shown that the pressure to perform has steadily decreased, especially in schools. As a result, the parents surveyed stated that around 29 percent of the schoolchildren suffered in part from considerable concentration problems. Children in Bavaria also suffer from complaints such as headaches more often than children in the rest of Germany. In many cases, however, the school system as the main cause of stress and psychological suffering is not addressed. Rather, among other things, the Techniker Krankenkasse, based on an analysis of internal patient data, recorded that medical prescriptions for medicines to increase the ability to concentrate have increased rapidly. In this context, educators criticize the enhancement of performance with drugs. Instead, children need more opportunities for development and a lot of freedom for creativity. (sb)

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Picture: Günter Havlena / pixelio.de

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