A Book for Alex : Book Donation Program for Children Centers
In 2014, PDAN launched a Book Donation Program called “A Book for Alex”. The goal of this donation program was to assist in the process of bibliotherapy, which is a form of mental health treatment. It involves the use of books to help children cope with emotional changes, emotional problems, or mental problems. At the 2013 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Jennifer Davis Bowman discussed the experiences of parents concerned with their children’s social behavior, and said that previous research found that bibliotherapy could improve communication and attitude as well as reduce aggression in children with social issues.
Thanks to a grant from Pfizer Health Care Charitables, PDAN donated hundreds copies of one of our published books, “Hey, That Kid Got Issues. Maybe it’s ADHD” to various foster care centers in the USA. This is a children’s book about a family’s experience with ADHD.
The story helps the kids and their parents and teachers understand why kids with ADHD may have difficulty following directions and paying attention. “ADHD in some children can be so disruptive that caregivers sometimes resort to abusive responses. This dynamic can result in an increased risk for Borderline Personality Disorder in the child,” says Dr. Blaise Aguirre of Harvard University.
PDAN’s goal is to provide children with the tools to understand how to develop emotional regulation skills and healthy relationships, as well as to educate parents and guardians about the risks that can lead to the development of personality disorders.
Based on the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data provided by the US Department of Health, Human Services Administration for Children & Families, are approximately 22,693 children aged 6-12 with serious emotional problems who live in foster care institutions in the US as of the end of 2012, and the number may be understated.
PDAN focuses efforts on foster care environments because these environments are likely to have children with a predisposition towards personality disorders. Indeed, research has found a number of risk factors in the development of BPD including single instances or combinations of childhood neglect, abuse, trauma and disrupted attachment in particular.
- Approximately 11% of children ages 4-17 (or 6.4 million have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011
- Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD
- The average age of ADHD diagnosis was 7 years of age, but children reported by their parents as having more severe ADHD were diagnosed earlier
- A child with ADHD has a higher risk of developing a personality disorder like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
- Adults with ADHD and BPD are more likely to abuse substances, self-harm, and have suicidal tendencies
- Of the BPD population, 10% end up committing suicide
- Of the youth who commit suicide, 33% have traits of BPD, and the number of suicides of people with BPD traits are 400 times higher than the general population
- Young women with BPD have a suicide rate of 800 times higher than the general population
- Approximately 80% of children in foster care have serious emotional problems, which puts them at a higher risk to develop personality disorders
These statistics clearly show the gap in preparedness for emotional dysregulation. Early intervention and treatment is critical to avoiding the development of personality disorders. PDAN provides information that is intended to impact children and adolescents, because as Dr. Blaise Aguirre says, “Although symptoms typically begin in adolescence, there has been a strong reluctance in the psychiatric community to diagnose BPD in anyone younger than 18.” Although PDAN agrees that the personality is still evolving at this age, our goal is to raise awareness about the importance of youth developmental mental health needs, and to ensure that no one is left suffering because of a lack of information.
Through this book donation program, PDAN hopes to provide the tools for bibliotherapy to prevent the development of emotional problems, mental problems, and personality disorders in children.