BEMH needs, ASD and ADHD

What is a behavioural, emotional, mental health need, or possible ASD or ADHD?

Where there are concerns about a child or young person’s behaviour, emotional health and wellbeing, mental health or a neurodevelopmental problem such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a child or young person may display the following behaviours:

  • challenging and disruptive
  • withdrawn and isolated
  • low self-esteem
  • lack of concentration
  • anxious or depressed
  • self-harm
  • impulsivity
  • immature social skills
  • hyperactive
  • resentment
  • vindictive or defiant
  • clinginess
  • truancy

Whether or not a young person is judged to have behavioural, emotional, mental health or neurodevelopmental concerns will depend on the nature, frequency, persistence, severity and cumulative effect of their behaviour, compared with expectations for a child or young person of the same age.

Passivity can be just as much an indicator of an emotional or behavioural difficulty as overtly poor conduct, but can be often overlooked or not taken seriously. Many children with emotional and behavioural difficulties are unable to trust or to form relationships with peers or adults.

The reasons why children develop emotional and behavioural difficulties may have a single point of origin or a number of causes. These may be associated with school, home, family or other environments or circumstances, or with physical or sensory impairments.

Further information is available in the resource pack for professionals.

Download the NICE guidelines’ suggested diagnostic criteria for attention deficit disorder in children
Download guidance on recognising children and young people with possible autism