Behavior is Communication: Not Listening
“Do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. Listen to me! How many times do I have to say it? Have I not told you how to do this already?”
Do you ever feel like it doesn’t matter how many times or how many ways you say something to a child… you just can’t get the message through?
We’re back with another installment in our Behavior is Communication series and this one can be one of the most challenging behavior struggles teachers (and parents!) encounter with their students on a regular basis: Not Listening.
Sometimes this inability to listen is much deeper than a simple testing of limits and authority or the deliberate attempt to exert control in unfamiliar or difficult situations. One of the primary reasons a student may present has having an inability or refusal to listen can be due to an undiagnosed language processing disorder. Children of all ages and abilities can struggle with language processing disorders. It’s common for students with diagnosed Autism, ADHD, and Dyslexia to experience language processing delays.
How do you know if a child is struggling with a language processing disorder?
- Difficulty following multi-step directions
- Inability to follow oral directions
- Unwilling to participate in classroom activities
- Hesitant to engage in conversation with teacher or peers
- Very Easily Distracted
When a student is struggling with language processing in any form, it’s important to recognize this early. Early interventions and simple accommodations can drastically improve your students’ ability to listen, comprehend, and respond appropriately to the task at hand.
Accommodations to help students with language processing disorders:
- Break complex tasks into smaller parts
- Provide written instructions using simple and direct language without too much “fluff”
- Avoid forcing a student to participate, allow students enough time to warm up and get more comfortable
- Foster an inclusive environment so that these students feel accepted and part of the class
- Offer adequate brain breaks with the Sensory Path
How can the Sensory Path be a useful tool with language processing disorders?
The Sensory Path offers students a dedicated and intentional space to move their body through guided and targeted movements. The sequence of movements have been carefully sequenced to help clear roadblocks throughout the neurological system of a child. The student will receive a full-body reset and return to your classroom refreshed, reenergized, and engaged.
Proper Sensory Paths allow students the opportunity to build awareness and control of their bodies. Read more about this in our blog series Understanding Why, How, and When to Use a Sensory Path to learn about how these movements help students build necessary skills for their neurological development and how these activities help students in the classroom.
In addition to realigning the student’s sensory system, the movement break at the Sensory Path allows your student a break from the stress in the classroom. This can be especially helpful if there have been some emotional outbursts as a result of their inability to stay focused and understand what’s being asked of them. The student may be frustrated with themselves because they want to do a good job and listen, but they just don’t understand. This quick trip for a movement break can provide a good distraction from that emotional situation.
The Sensory Path is also an excellent way to foster inclusivity and comradery in your classrooms. It’s inevitable that you have one or two students who consistently struggle with behavior in the classroom. This then creates loop of being singled out, constant reprimanding, and being labeled as ‘other.’ With a Sensory Path, the entire class can benefit from a movement break while the students struggling the most can feel that they’re part of the group and less like an outsider or trouble-maker. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Lastly, The Sensory Path can be an incredibly useful resource for alternative assessment. The Sensory Path can be a more informal learning environment that allows students a casual, safe space to explore academics. If you have a hard time getting students to engage in the classroom, the Sensory Path may allow them to let their guard down and provide an opportunity for you to offer kinesthetic learning opportunities through intentional play.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in understanding the complexities of language processing disorders. Our children are complex and unique individuals. We can never find one solution to solve all behavioral or developmental delays, but we can offer accommodations as they become available to us. The more resources we have in schools to support both students and teachers the better. The Sensory Path can be the next step your school takes to provide inclusive and developmentally appropriate resources to advance the learning of your students.
Check out the rest of our blog to learn more about our Sensory Path products and how to handle the many challenges of teaching in the modern age. We’re here to support students and teachers. Let us know how we can help!