Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by dona, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. dona

    dona New Member

    Hi all, i have just joined this site and it seems great. I have a 5 years old that has some language barriers, (different languages are spoken at home) and english in school. We have moved to this country UK three yrs ago, however my child is very frustrated and sometimes screams and gets started so if there is a mum saying shush to her child she will cry.....a lot. She just hates to be at the end of my tether with that.....she sometimes remembers being told off by her nursery teachers and cries....she now goes to a diff. school ( reception). She can be very challenging but is not always...i have had her checked and they discharged her for a year and a half as she showed a lot of improvement....but the pediatrician. mentioned that she might just be very sensitive......however she gets very hyper when she eats ready made food and any sort of sweets and not so much on black chocolate. Dont know hat to do.....should i have her checked for food intolerances cos it is not only sweets that make her hiper i just cant tell what is? Thank you......pls help !
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Welcome :)

    I am not sure how they do things in the uk, but if she is having difficulties, why not have her evaluated across the board? It is unlikely to only be due to food sensitivities, although it can be one factor. Can you tell us about her early years? Did she cuddle as an infant? Make good eye contact? Reach all of her milestones on time? How is her behavior with her same age peers? Can she transition from one activity to another without crying? Are there are mental illness problems on either side of her genetic family tree? Is she sensitive to loud noise, certain textures, certain smells? Can she tolerate crowded places? Did she experience any chaos as an infant/toddler? Does she have an siblings and how are they?

    The more you tell us, the more we can try to help, understanding that we evaluate and even diagnose and treat children differently here in the US and Canada. Most of us (not all) are from those two places. All of us, however, have suggestions.

    Welcome again!!
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi Dona. I'm an Aussie, our health system is a little more similar to yours in the UK.

    Food sensitivities can have an effect on behaviour, but sometimes are not the whole problem. What you need for your daughter is a good GP, one who will keep asking questions and who will keep the records and communication with other specialists. At some stage you need a pediatrician, but also possibly a speech pathologist. The trouble is, the different languages will be seen by some experts as the reason for a lot of this, when I don't think it is. There are too may children who speak multiple languages who do not have behaviour problems. Yes, there can sometimes seem to be slight language delay when the child is being raised to be multilingual, but it really is only slight and does not explain the other things you have seen. At five years of age, and exposed to English for three years, she should not have any language delay now. Certainly she shouldn't have any behaviour problems due to the multiple languages, not at her age now.

    You might need to talk to your GP about your concerns and ask if there is a clinic where you can take her to be evaluated. Hearing tests need to be done, because that can be a big factor in both language and behaviour issues. Glue ear can also sometimes be connected to food sensitivity issues. Not that foods cause it, but a child who has food issues can also have glue ear issues.
  4. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    My kids are raised bilingual and were still able to access speech therapy. Althought I make some mistakes sometimes, I am fluent in English and ALWAYS said that my kid's primary language is English. The reason: I don't want evaluators to use the fact that they are raised bilangual as an excuse for their delay and then not provide therapy.
    But, keep in mind that some kids take a lot longer to learn other language. For example, V is behind in French despite having the same exposure as his siblings. Sometimes I feel Sweet Pea understands French better than V. But V has Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) which comes, in his case, with auditory processing disorder. Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) makes it hard for an individual to learn an other language.
    Does she have the same behavior issues if you speak in her native language?
    In V's case, when everyone speaks French around, it ads a level of difficulty and he gets triggered more easily. But even when we all speak French, V has issues. The language is not the cause of his issues, just one more triger, one more reason to get overstimulated. Know what I mean??
    Like others suggested, find a good pediatrician who will listen and make appropriate referrals to specialists.
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Being bilingual can cause some delay on speech as others have said, but it is not a cause of your problems. And studies show that it is a bad idea to talk other than your first language to your kids anyway. People don't use their second language as well (even if they are fluent) and especially showing feelings is more difficult with languages learned later. My kids are functionally bilingual even though I and husband have same first language and that language is mainly spoken in our home, but we are surrounded with also other language and kids picked also that up early.

    However if your daughter has some learning difficulties it may be more difficult for her to learn English. What does school say? Is her English on the level they would expect?

    If you have noticed some food sensitivities, you may want to start from there. Allergies can cause lots of things, especially if they cause problems with sleep. After you have physical side under control and if problems continue, you have to start trying to find causes for problematic behaviours. One thing I would advise you to start right away, is a detailed diary of your daughters behavioural, food and sleep patterns. That may be very valuable information when you try to get roots of her problems.
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I have a slightly different perspective. She's only 5 and has to learn different languages just to communicate effectively in her own home. Then she gets sent to school where they speak yet another language. Personally, I would want to just shut down/give up. Especially if she has some sort of disability that is making learning language hard in the first place. Poor kid. I can't blame her. Learning language can be hard enough for some kids but all the expectations placed on her to learn and retain and constantly switch the language she uses, UGH!
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    SuZir, there are conflicting studies on language acquisition. Our country is now actively promoting children to be bilingual where possible, where there are multiple languages spoken in the home. They have quoted research to back this.

    However, I do agree that it can be difficult for an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kid to learn a second language; they're still struggling with the first.

    I remember watching a documentary on language acquisition when difficult child 3 was a toddler and had severe language delay, yet was learning to read. It was put together by Lord Robert Winston, whose documentaries we enjoy. He showed that the part of the brain we use to learn our first language, is a different part of the brain we use to learn a second language. The second language part of the brain uses the first language to cross-reference, but to learn a first language, you have to learn the entire concept of communication.
    In difficult child 3's case, we felt that he was learning to read as his first language. He didn't actually speak a word until he could read it. Before he was using ANY words, he was reciting his alphabet and typing it on a keyboard. I wrote letters on the piano keys and then made up some home-made music manuscript of the ABC song for him, and wrote in the letters on the notes. This way he learned to read music and play the piano. By about 2 he was learning simple words. He learned to use the word, he learned the look of the word and he learned the sound of it. He picked up phonics very quickly because he could see the logic of the alphabet sequence. He would memorise songs on the radio but not understand them. However, when I printed out lyrics (of simple songs) suddenly he pronounced them clearly.

    We were advised, due to his autism diagnosis, to never let him learn a second language. I remember when he was 5 in Kindergarten, we were having a learning team meeting up one end of the classroom while difficult child 3 was playing "Grandma & Me" on the classroom computer. Suddenly we heard the computer speaking in Spanish - difficult child 3 had changed the settings (out of boredom, I suppose). His teacher called out to him, "difficult child 3! Change it back to English now!"
    Instantly it changed back.

    In high school, a time when Aussie kids are introduced to learning other languages formally, we were still following this rule of "don't expose him to other languages". But we had to. So the school compromised on one language, not the three they usually did in one year. difficult child 3 chose German and handled it well. By this stage his language delay is not measurable, he has caught up. it still shows up in a longer word retrieval time, but it takes detailed speech pathology testing now, to identify any problems. We're told that he will always find communication frustrating at some level because he is exceptionally bright, has an amazingly broad and advanced vocabulary, but struggles to use it all to the best of his abilities sometimes.

    His German is not fluent, but I occasionally throw German phrases at him, or he will try and translate a phrase or two. He does struggle with confidence, and with other languages you sometimes have to go out on a limb a bit and take a chance. He likes certainty. I'm going to start teaching him a bit of French. He can handle other languages now.

    He's very adept at using Babelfish and other online translators. We actually used a translator widget on our computer while we were travelling in French territory a few months ago and found we had to deal with some technicalities which were beyond the scope of our language. The widget helped - we got the other person to type in the French, too, onto our laptop, and between it and us we managed to sort out the SNAFU.

    Usage brings familiarity. That first language is important, and learning two first languages side by side is more of a mental stretch. For 'normal' kids it is a gift. For Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids, it can aggravate language delay but there will always be one language that prevails more than the other in these circumstances. You may need to ease off on the secondary language a little, until the first language is established more firmly in that case. But according to Aussie research, this is not as good as learning multiple languages at once.

    I'll try and find the research references. Our recent news stories on this should have it. By "recent" I mean in the last six months or so.

  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    VERY interesting Marguerite. I do see a BIG difference between Partner and V in the way they learn 2 languages.
    I did indeed had to lower my expectations or my demands on V but I certainly have not stopped speaking French.
    Interrestingly, when my parents are in town, V will use as much French as possible with them. Partner is 100%, but V gives his best and gets the point across. After all, that's waht language is: a back and forth communication and V is certainly doing that at his level.
    Because I know V has some challenges, I do favor English with him. But I firmly believe that the bilangual exposure forces his brain to hear and think and eventually will pay off.
    I'd be quite curious to read the study you're talking about. All my 3 kids have/had language issues and yet I feel that 2 languages are helping them.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Marg, you are of course right that at times learning of foreign languages may need to be postponed due to language development or learning issues. But in the cases like Dona's, it is a moot point in reality. The kid lives in UK and goes school there. It really isn't possible to not to try to teach her English. Same would had been true to my kids. Yes, we could had postponed formal teaching of our kids second language and certainly English (but not to prevent them for hearing foreign languages, for example our tv is not dubbed but subtitled, it is common to hear closer to ten different languages from tv during the night), but prevent them from learning the language half of the neighbours talked, that we talked at times in stores or with many friends, that half of their hobbies were instructed? Not gonna happen. I guess it would be just as difficult to keep autistic Chinese child living in Australia from hearing and learning English. And I'm not sure it would be that smart. I think that also for Dona's child not hearing or learning English is not an option.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Just sending support.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think you misunderstood, SuZir. When I referred to the dominant language, that generally is the one they're more exposed to. For those of us on this site, that is generally English. But not in every case. We have a few kids, for example, who live in French-speaking communities. Certainly, you should allow a child to learn the dominant language of the area in which they live. It would be seriously problematic to do otherwise.

    One thing I do recall from our travel in New Zealand - in my opinion they treat their indigenous people better than we do in Australia (although I do think Australia is lifting its game). In NZ there are immersion schools for the Maori kids, where the school is on a sort of commune (called a marai) where they live in community and learn in community, and their native language only is spoken. Since a lot of the older adults have actually lost their Maori language (through a government policy in their childhood to eliminate the Maori language) the kids in the marai would be exposed to some level of English. However, for a lot of the young children, they only learn Maori, it is their first language. At school they are taught only in Maori until about age 12 when English is introduced formally. I met a couple of young Maori adults who had grown up on a Maori-speaking marai and gone to university studying Maori. Their English was excellent, but they preferred to speak Maori. I met one little girl who was being raised this way. A three-year-old at the time, she was on holiday with her grandparents who had lost their Maori language and deeply regretted it. The little girl apparently only spoke Maori to the casual observer, but she seemed to understand that her grandparents needed English. The little girl would speak Maori, but switch to English if her grandmother needed to understand more. Grandmother was actually a teacher at a very high level in their education system and was trying, late in life, to learn Maori again. A struggle. We learned a lot from that family in the few days we spent together. I didn't directly ask, but I think that allowing the little girl to have a regular holiday with her English-speaking Maori grandparents was the parents' way to ensure that she grew up bilingual. The little girl's parents (we met them) were fully bilingual but only spoke Maori on the marai.

    I'm going to ask my speech pathologist friend for help with this one. I need to know for myself now, what the experts really say (rather than what our Prime Minister says).

  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I simply meant that when you are in the situation there your family's main language(s) is different of most dominant in your environment, or you live in very bilingual environment, not teaching/talking moren than one language to kids, even with disabilities, is simply not possible. Unfortunately in older times (and even more unfortunately in some parts of the world still) families are told not to talk their primary language to their children but use the dominant language in that environment. Or parents from two different language are told to choose only one language to speak their kids. And if parents do that, huge amount of heritage and voicing the feelings is lost. And often child only learns the language wrong on the top of that. Language is not just a way to communicate, it is an important part on how we think, how we feel, how we understand the world. Second or third language is just not the same.

    My family speaks minority language in there we live. I was born bilingual, my dad speaks the dominant language in this country, my mother is minority, some of my (numerous) step fathers/my mother's SOs spoke my mother's language, some my father's, some yet another. During that time bilingualism was considered a disadvantage so half of my childhood my mother changed languages she talked to me according a current husband/boyfriend, I also changed schools often and some of them taught in one language and some in other. I didn't have learning disabilities and I can say I master both of my first languages now well and I also speak five other language well enough to be able to for example read newspapers (or write this, English is neither of my first two languages) and know some basics from few other languages. However I'm still angry to my mom for robbing me from having a strong, consistent first language. My grandparents talked their language to me consistently and my dad spoke his language to me (but I didn't meat him often or consistently) and his language being a dominant one in my environment, I learned that well. But because my mom's inconsistency I always feel a little worse to wear over my first language.

    Because of my own experiences I very strongly oppose forsaking parent's own language(s) in favour of the dominant language. And if someone is in the situation like Dona here, there they are minority language speakers, the only way to 'spare a child from having to juggle wit many languages' is to forsake their own language(s). And that does so much more bad than good.

    So even considering removing some languages from child's life is bad idea. If there are language related learning difficulties, they have to dealt with, but the way to do that can't be having less different languages in child's life.
  13. dona

    dona New Member

    Thank you terry ★
  14. dona

    dona New Member

    Tedo, thank you for your post.
    She mixes the lang when she is speaking to me she replaces the word with whichever she knows it...and has a gift of translating fro one lang to another and vive versa.....just that she becomes frustrated and screams and shouts...and i have run out of ideas on how to calm her esp in public.....:)
  15. dona

    dona New Member

    Thank you terry ★
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    In bilingual families here, it is often suggested that each parent stick to only one language each when talking to the children. So... for example, Dad may use the "common" language and Mom the "first language", or vice versa. The child will learn to interact with each parent in that language - and pick up both languages without as much confusion.
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    IC, as SuZir pointed out, this is not always practical.

    Dona, what you describe does sound fairly normal (in terms of switching languages to find the word she wants). I can relate to it - by the time we came home from our holiday in New Caledonia, husband & I were speaking a sort of pidgin conglomerate of English and French in desperation to be understood at times. We'd gone there partly to extend our French-speaking capabilities, but found by the end of it, we were burning out.

    Maybe your daughter is feeling a bit burned out at times. The problem here seems to be the frustration and her response to it, rather than the dual language thing itself. If it wasn't language frustrating her, it would be something else.

    I've mentioned here before - a child we knew well, a former neighbour (they moved away long ago) was bilingual. The family spoke English and Spanish. Their little boy was 2 and spoke both (at a 2 year old level). He then had an accident which left him brain-damaged physically. Doctors tested him and said he was a vegetable, basically, because he did not respond to their simple English commands. But his father insisted the boy knew him, that he reacted with eye movements to him. It took the doctors some time to realise, that due to the accident the boy had lost ALL speech (never got it back, ever) and his English understanding. However, he could respond perfectly well to commands in Spanish.

    I remember babysitting the boy (after he came out of hospital) and he was tired (cranky, grizzling, but not able to say anything coherent). I sat and talked to him and he continued to complain. I counted his fingers and played with his hands. He was still fretful. So I counted his fingers in Spanish (about all the Spanish I know) and he shut up and looked intently at his hands, really concentrating.
    Over the next few months he regained his English comprehension; I think he had to learn it over again. By the following year he was typing on a computer, recognising basic written words (including his own name) and generally doing well intellectually.

    He is a classic example of a child who has lost the capacity for speech, but not the capacity for language. At about the same time we were trying to get difficult child 3 diagnosed. He had speech, but not the language or comprehension.

    There are grades of in-between with all this, as well as a lot of normal too. Kids learning multiple languages can sometimes seem to be language-delayed, simply because their heads are trying to hold twice as much information and it takes time to process and assimilate it.

    As I said before - the issue here is the way in which your daughter responds to frustration. Does this happen in other frustrating situations?

    Something that might help, it worked with difficult child 3 and has worked with other kids - label the house. It does mean teaching the child to read perhaps a bit earlier than people like, but it can help clarify word recognition. Do it in both languages, write the labels of things (computers do make this easy) and stick them on. So you label wall, door, window, bench, bed, floor - you get the idea.

    It can be a fun project.