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Ask a Speechie – Why is my child acting out in a group setting?

January 11, 2019
Ask a Speechie – Why is my child acting out in a group setting?

This month’s Ask A Speechie question is answered by Speech Pathologist Genevieve Ward

Question: Why is my child acting out in a group setting?

Sometimes being a child can be tiring and hard work! There is a lot of development that is occurring as the child learns about themselves and the world around them.  Often some of our parents will come to us and report that their child is acting out when in groups or in a larger setting with new people. There is a range of factors that could be contributing to the challenging behaviour seen and it is important to appreciate what your child may be thinking and how your child may be feeling. Take a moment to step into your child’s shoes to see what their thoughts might be. Together we might be able to determine if there is an underlying issue that may be impacting on their ability to communicate appropriately and effectively in the group environment.

Your child could be experiencing the following thoughts:

“My friends don’t understand me when I talk.” 
It sounds like your child might be having some difficulties with their speech sounds and being understood by their peers.

“I can’t express what I mean.”
Your child may be having problems with their expressive language and  finding the right words to use.

I don’t understand what my friends are telling me.”
This thought could indicate your child’s is having receptive language difficulties and may find it hard following instructions and understanding language.

I know what I want to say but I get stuck and can’t get my words out.”
In this instance it appears stuttering is the likely cause. Stuttering can be when your child repeats sounds, words or whole phrases even though they know exactly what they want to say.

I can’t follow my friend’s ideas when I play with them”
Your child may be finding it hard to keep up with their peers play themes and ideas and this will be making it challenging for them to stay in the play leading to maximum frustration.

“My friends don’t listen to me and I don’t know why they take turns.”
Your child may need some help developing their social skills. They may need help getting their friends attention before sharing their ideas and entering and exiting the play.

As parents, teachers and clinician’s we must always appreciate that sometimes a range of areas can be responsible for the cause of unpleasant behaviour. It is also important to understand that there is always an underlying root cause to any behaviour, whether it be a positive or negative one that we see. By thinking like our children we can begin to conceive how tricky it can be living with a communication difficulty and this can help us to show more compassion, be more patient and see beyond the young child “causing trouble” at the playground.

If you would like to have a helpful discussion about your child please call the practice on 9890 1062 and ask to speak to a Speech Pathologist.