What is typical? What is not?
Typical sexual development is a normal part of child development as long as it is mutually agreed upon between children of similar age and/or developmental level, exploratory and spontaneous in nature, intermittent, and easily redirected by an adult. When addressed, it should not be associated with strong emotions such as anger, anxiety, or fear. Sexual behavior can become problematic in nature when there is a risk to the safety and well-being of a child and/or children.
If your child is exhibiting problematic sexual behaviors, it does not always mean they have been sexually abused. There are a variety of reasons that a child may be exhibiting problematic sexual behaviors. Our Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB) screening can help a parent/caregiver better understand where this problem behavior may be originating from as well as provide the child with a body safety lesson. The assessment specialist will also help determine if the child may benefit from treatment for this problematic behavior.
What is a PSB screening?
A Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB) screening is a one-on-one body safety lesson between a Mental Health Specialist and a child between the ages of 2 and 10. PSB screenings are utilized in situations where a child is exhibiting concerning sexualized behaviors, using sexualized language and/or exhibiting red-flag behavioral indicators of sexual abuse, but has not made any direct disclosures of sexual abuse.
What is the goal of a PSB screening?
The goal of a Problematic Sexual Behavior screening is to educate parents on child sexual abuse dynamics, provide a behavioral assessment and body safety lesson to the child, and provide follow up recommendations.
What should I expect?
When you arrive at the Children’s Advocacy Center, the Mental Health Specialist will meet with the caregiver(s) first. This allows the Specialist to review the intake form with the caregiver(s), explain what to expect during the assessment with the child, and gather any additional information that may be pertinent to the assessment. The Mental Health Specialist will then meet with the child in a developmentally appropriate, child-friendly room. The Specialist will review general body safety with the child, discuss okay/not okay touches, and brainstorm a list of safe adults that the child feels comfortable talking to. Following the meeting with the child, the Mental Health Specialist will again meet with the caregiver(s) to share any information that may have resulted from the Child Assessment. The Mental Health Specialist will make any recommendations or referrals if that may be of assistance to your family, and will answer any follow-up questions that your family may have. The appointment may last anywhere from 1 – 1.5 hours.
**As a member of the CAC’s multidisciplinary team, the mental health specialist reserves the right to discuss aspects of the case with Law Enforcement, Child Protective Services and/or medical personnel. This includes but is not limited to the sharing of statements or concerns that indicate or are reflective of a criminal violation and or child abuse or neglect.**
How do I schedule a PSB screening?
If you are a parent or caregiver with questions about your child’s problematic sexual behavior, please call our Mental Health Specialist, Rachel Heberle (970) 565-8155. Rachel can help determine if Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB) screening may be appropriate for your child.
For more information on problematic sexual behaviors, click the following links:
Sexual Behaviors in Young Children
Sexual Development Behaviors in Children