It’s NOT Always The Child!
When a child is in the wrong environment, it is easy to think that the child is extremely disruptive and has a behavioral issue. Have you every stopped and wondered if it might be the environment the child is in before you label the child as someone who can’t listen?
As the ratio of teacher to children in the classroom is decreasing, it is a lot harder to have the one-on-one interactions that are needed. There may be too many children in the same room for some children to process for themselves. Imagine you have to listen to the teacher’s instructions while the child next to you is yelling for a toy, and on the other side you have a child banging his blocks while screaming at another child to leave him alone. You can imagine it can get very loud!
For some children it is too much to process, so they might hide under a desk or find a place that is quiet. But wait! What if the child has to be in one area in the classroom while the area that will help him/her to self-regulate is closed off, but still the child goes to that area? The teacher will approach and ask the child to move. At this point the child has hands covering ears and is kicking and telling the teacher, “No.” No other words can come out since the child can’t come up with the words to tell the teacher that it is too loud. Or maybe the child doesn’t have the language to state why he/she is feeling overwhelmed. Is this a behavioral child? No! This is child is having a hard time processing the world around him/her and isn’t able to communicate that information.
Understanding that children process things differently is the first step for an educator to help this child. Every child is different and will need different tools to get through the day. Ways to help a child in the classroom is to have a designated area for breaks when things start to become overwhelming. Have the child learn the word “Break” so he/she can start to ask for one when needed. If you see that the child is covering ears, see if you can change how loud it is in the classroom or better yet have noise cancelling head phones ready to go. Just these simple steps can help children process their surroundings to where they are successful and not labeled as children with behavioral issues. Sometimes the little things can make the biggest difference in children.
By Vanessa Kahlon, MA
Founder & Director of KFS School
Kahlon Family Services