Free MFT Exam Practice Question: Disorders Usually Diagnosed in Childhood

By Asya Mourraille on January 22, 2019

This week, our free MFT exam practice question is going to focus on the topic of disorders usually diagnosed in childhood. It’s quite possible you have not had any exposure to working with children during your traineeships or internships, and yet the BBS still wants to know that you are aware of the unique issues that arise when working with this population. Regardless of how much or how little you already know about this subject, the Therapist Development Center’s exam prep, will ensure you know everything you need to correctly answer questions on this topic.

How might this topic be tested?

Whether you are taking the California MFT Clinical Exam or the National MFT Exam, there are several ways in which disorders usually diagnosed in childhood might be tested.  Questions could test your ability to:

  • Diagnose these disorders
  • Differentiate them from each other
  • Come up with an appropriate treatment plan
  • Know common interventions
  • Be aware of proper referrals


Let’s see how you do on this week’s FREE MFT practice question.

Practice Question on Disorders Usually Diagnosed in Childhood:

Parents of a six year old boy come to therapy seeking emotional support. Both of them are overwhelmed and tired. They share how hard it has been to care for their son.  Ever since their son was very little, he has struggled with transitions. They share that he throws significant tantrums whenever there are even slight changes in his routine, such as changes to his diet. He doesn’t make eye contact, doesn’t respond when his name is called, and often doesn’t know when it’s time to switch topics or adjust his tone of voice. “It is also so hard since he is incredibly sensitive to noises,” his mom adds. “We can’t flush the toilet, for example, without him covering his ears and crying. Everyday sounds that we were not even aware of are now a big deal in our household.”  Based on the symptoms described, what is the most likely diagnosis for their child?

  1. Social Communication Disorder
  2. Language Disorder
  3. Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
  4. Autism Spectrum Disorder

Please see the correct answer and rationale below.

[caption id="attachment_1974" align="alignnone" width="300"]Child psychologist working with patients  [/caption]















The correct answer is D.

  • Even though a persistent deficiency in social communication is something the boy described in the vignette has, he also has symptoms pointing to restrictive, repetitive patterns of behavior. Thus, answer A does not account for all symptoms described in the stem.   
  • Language disorder in answer B also does not account for all of the symptoms. For instance, his sensitivity to noises and difficulty with transitions are not going to be explained by a language disorder, so this answer is out.
  • Yes, this little boy has tantrums, but he also has difficulty making eye contact, great sensitivity to sound, and an inability to adjust his tone and respond to his name. Other than tantrums, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder does not account for any of the above mentioned symptoms, thus C is incorrect.
  • Answer D is the only one that takes into consideration all of the symptoms the little boy exhibits. In the stem we can see that he has difficulty with social communication and exhibits restrictive, repetitive behaviors.  Thus, autism spectrum disorder is the most likely diagnosis.

To learn all about the intricacies of disorders usually diagnosed in childhood, sign up for one of TDC’s MFT exam study guides to help you prepare for your exam today! Amanda Rowan has helped thousands of Marriage and Family Therapists pass their MFT exams-are you our next success story?


Commenter Name
March 6, 2019

I was in the same boat because in early childhood I had a social communication disorder and I had to study extra hours at home. I think a distance-learning and homeschooling system for children with disabilities is a nice choice, given that there are a lot of useful educational sources online like Gpalabs.

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