WATCH: Facebook Live about medicating disabled children for mood and behaviour

2 mins read

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Tags: expert advice, medicating children for mood and behaviour, Facebook Live webinar

Missed our recent excellent and informative Facebook Live on medicating disabled children for mood and behaviours? Not to worry – you can still view the recording on Facebook, or watch it on YouTube below:

More than 2,500 parent carers have already watched our interview with Mark Lovell, a leading consultant child and adolescent intellectual disability psychiatrist who has a special interest in autism.

Contact’s health lead Amanda Elliot quizzed Mark for an hour on key parental concerns — including how psychiatric medications work, how doctor’s decide to medicate, and drug safety.

Topics covered in the Q&A

During the interview, Mark, who is the acting associate medical director of Durham and Tees Valley CAMHS, shared expert insights on:

  • Different types of psychiatric medication. 
  • When psychiatric medication can help a child.
  • When it’s not appropriate to prescribe psychiatric drugs to children. 
  • What doctors consider before offering medication to children. 
  • Best-practice guidelines to prevent overmedicating children. 
  • ‘Off licence’ prescribing and what it means.
  • How children are monitored for side effects psychiatric medication. 
  • Different formulations available – pills, liquid, etc.  
  • Consent and mental capacity.

Managing behaviour issues at the source

Mark said it was “quite rare” for him to prescribe psychiatric medication to children with intellectual disabilities or autism.

He said it was often possible to remove behavioural and anxiety triggers “with the right resources and right support in place” at school, at home and from social care – including respite for families.

“Then you often don’t need to use medication,” he explained. “This is because you have sorted out the problem at source: you stopped the triggers.”

During the session, parents shared comments about their good and bad experiences of CAMHS and asked about giving medication to (and monitoring side effects in) non-verbal children with severe learning disabilities.

Mark recommended ABC behaviour charts to help parents identify behavioural triggers and monitor psychiatric medication, especially in non-verbal children.

To learn more about behaviour triggers and how to create ABC charts, read our parent guide to Understanding Your Child’s Behaviour.