In my new advice column, I'll be answering your questions about raising and advocating for a special needs child.
Q: Why doesn't my child respond to me?
In this particular situation, there are a few things that may be going on:
- The first thing I tell parents is to take the child to the pediatrician. Communicate your concerns.
- After a visit to the pediatrician, make an appointment with an audiologist to check to see that there is not a problem with the child’s hearing.
- After testing the child, if the audiologist finds that there is no problem with the child’s hearing then your next step would be to take him/her to a pediatric neurologist.
Be aware: Not all pediatric neurologist are the same and there are some very ineffective ones out there. Additionally, based on the many stories from families that I have worked with, they have included that the pediatric neurologist is very quick to prescribe medication. At this point in the process, medication should not even be brought up or considered.
- Not making eye contact could be that the child hears you (hears the words) but is unable to process what you are saying.
- The child may speak however their expressive language could be more mature than their receptive language and hence no eye contact when spoken to.
- The pediatric neurologist, after testing has been completed should give you a diagnosis and explain what can be done to address this particular problem.
- If the pediatric neurologist does not find any problem from his area of expertise then perhaps the problem could be behavioral.
Behavioral problems can be addressed in several ways at home. By using a rewards chart (you determine what that reward is). Make sure that you make it clear to the child what they are working towards. Unknowns for children with disabilities (especially) can cause a great deal of anxiety. Using privileges (or taking them away) speaks to the child. Making an appointment with a Behavioral Therapist can also be used.
Be aware: Although there are many individuals that work in the education/behavioral field and have the proper credentials, this DOES NOT mean that they are the consummate professional and most importantly know precisely what needs to be done and how to carry it out.
Have a question you want answered? Discover The Ultimate Guide To Advocating For Your Child, a complimentary email course for confused and overwhelmed parents. If you still have a question after the course, just let me know!
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