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But He’s an Angel at Home
time to time a situation comes along where a child surfaces with behaviour
problems at daycare or school, yet at home is an angel. As the problem at
daycare or school continues there is disbelief by the teachers that the child is
an angel at home. The teachers may begin to suspect the parent is defensive,
lying or even that home life is the source of the problem. There is talk of
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and suggestions for medication or counseling.
further exploration it appears that the behaviour issues arise more at free or
unstructured time; when there are multiple or concurrent activities and noise;
and when the child may be fatigued.
medical history of the child reveals multiple occurrences of earaches with trips
to the doctor and prescriptions for antibiotics. The earaches occured
significantly between the ages of 12 to 36 months.
these circumstances, it may be that this child has an Auditory Processing
Disorder, the result of hearing loss during the period of multiple earaches.
a child get an earache, fluid builds in the middle ear blocking sound. The child
goes to the doctor and obtains an anti-biotic. With medication, the earache pain
subsides, often within 24 to 48 hours. However, it can take up to several weeks
for the fluid to clear. Thus hearing remains obstructed. With children who
experience multiple earaches, the fluid may remain in place for months at a
time. This results in an ongoing hearing loss during the crucial period of
language and information processing development.
if hearing is restored, which usually happens as the child ages, the lack of
hearing during the period of language and information processing development can
cause impaired higher order language functions. Hence the child now hears, but
may not understand the language properly, may have speech difficulties and may
have trouble with filtering mechanisms to selectively attend.
children with an Auditory Processing Disorder, it is like being at the midway of
a country fair. There is noise all around and it is difficult to concentrate.
Most kids and adults get used to the noise and within a few minutes can tune it
out. However, kids with Auditory Processing Disorder never do get used to the
noise, cannot tune it out and hence they cannot figure out which sounds to
attend to. The situation remains confusing and distracting.
the classroom setting, by misbehaving, the child is removed from the situation
and they are seen to calm down. However when returned, they act up again and
subsequently the time-out or consequence is increased. Over time, the
consequences are thought to be ineffective and the child incorrigible. At home
there is naturally less going on and hence less distractions and hence a less
likelihood of experiencing the problem.
this sounds like your child’s situation, go armed with this article to your
doctor and ask for help. To assess, the child should be seen by an audiologist,
speech-language pathologist and educational child-psychologist. Your child may
be diagnosed with an Auditory Processing Disorder as a result.
children require modifications at school. A higher teacher-student ratio and
less noisy and distracting setting will help. If behaviour at recess is a
problem with the confusion of the playground, then consider alternate
activities, such as with small groups and clubs and playing board games.
your child is diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder, follow the
recommendations of the assessors and share the recommendations with the daycare
or school. It will be important for the child’s teachers to understand his or
her special needs. With proper diagnosis and guidance, the behaviour should take
care of itself.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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