Is Your Child Acting Up Because of a Communication Disorder?

A child needs your love most when he deserves it least.”

– Erma Bombeck

There are countless possible reasons for a child to misbehave. Most parents are familiar with the tantrums in toddlers that can be traced to a missed nap, or the simple need for a snack. Many have experienced a child who is uncooperative after a bad day at school or the child who comes home in tears.

But what some parents may not know is that some children use inappropriate behaviors to mask insecurities they may be feeling related to speech and/or language difficulties.

Speech-Language Pathologists are familiar with these behaviors. The class clown who is often acting silly may be trying to redirect attention from difficulty understanding the questions posed to him/her or unsure of how to respond accurately. Children who cannot easily make themselves understood may act up as a result of frustration or anxiety they may be feeling.

Temper tantrums, behavioural outbursts, hitting, pushing, biting and crying are all possible signs of a child who is in need of help. This child may be unable to communicate how they are feeling or the difficulties they are experiencing.

As a parent or caregiver, how can you determine if your child has a communication problem or just needs a nap? The key is to look at the situations in which the problem behaviours are occurring. Within these situations try to determine if there is a pattern or a common trigger. Is your child unable to make himself understood, resulting in frustration? Is your child acting silly to distract others from certain situations that require communication?

If your child is demonstrating inappropriate behaviours that you feel might be related to a speech or language difficulty help is available. A Speech-Language Pathologist can assess your child’s unique challenges and help you to develop and implement strategies for overcoming these problems, while addressing the root of some of these behaviours.

S.L. Hunter & Associates provides a complete range of assessment and treatment services for children with speech, language, and communication delays. Any parent that has concerns about their child’s speech and language development is encouraged to contact the clinic to set up an appointment.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. They can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at