2013 Professional Development Resources | www.pdresources.org | 10-56 Helping Children Learn to Listen | Page 1 of 17
Title of Course: Helping Children Learn to Listen CE Credit: 1 Hour Learning Level: Introductory Author: Adina Soclof, MS, CCC-SLP
Abstract: Parents, teachers, and other adults often complain that their children do not listen to them. In fact, failure to listen is a common occurrence among all children, at least some of the time. When it becomes a chronic condition, that is, when a child rarely or never listens to adults, it becomes clinically worrisome because the safety and well- being of the child can be at risk. The failure to develop good listening skills is also a threat to a childs learning processes. It is difficult to comprehend and follow directions if one is not listening. Furthermore, children who do not listen are likely to have difficulties in their relationships with both adults and peers. This course will teach clinicians effective and practical strategies for helping children learn to listen so they can better counsel their clients parents and caregivers in the use of these skills. By implementing the techniques presented here, parents and other adults can teach children to listen, thereby decreasing the occurrence of power struggles and frustration. Children can then move on to other important social and educational developmental tasks. Learning Objectives: 1. Describe four reasons why children fail to listen to adults 2. List four ways to set up homes and plan for successful listening and cooperation 3. Identify 16 tools that can help encourage and facilitate listening skills in children 4. Identify four phrases that parents can use to stop arguing with children and enforce their rules Author Bio: Adina Soclof, MS, CCC-SLP, a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, received her masters degree from Hunter College in New York in Communication Sciences. She worked as a Speech Pathologist in preschools for the developmentally disabled in the New York school system before staying home full time with her family. She reentered the workforce as a Parent Educator for Bellefaire Jewish Childrens Bureau facilitating How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk, and Siblings Without Rivalry workshops and presentations based on Raising Your Spirited Child. Adina also runs workshops based on "How to Talk so Kids can Learn: At Home and at School" for teachers and other mental health professionals. She has been featured at numerous non-profit organizations and private schools in Cleveland. Adina developed TEAM Communication Ventures and conducts parenting and teacher training via telephone nationwide. She lives with her husband and four lively children in Cleveland, Ohio.
2013 Professional Development Resources | www.pdresources.org | 10-56 Helping Children Learn to Listen | Page 2 of 17
Helping Children Learn to Listen Introduction
My kids don't listen to me! My kids are so stubborn and strong willed! Why wont my kids follow the simplest directions? How can I make my kids listen?
Complaints like these are so common among parents that one might conclude that not listening is the norm rather than the exception among children. In fact, failure to listen is a common occurrence among all children at least some of the time. When it becomes a chronic condition, that is, when a child rarely or never listens to adults, it becomes clinically worrisome because the safety and well-being of the child can be at risk. The failure to develop good listening skills is also a threat to a childs learning processes. It is difficult to comprehend and follow directions if one is not listening. Furthermore, children who do not listen are likely to have difficulties in their relationships with both adults and peers. There are two general types of children who are chronically poor listeners: children with oppositional or conduct disorders and those with communication disorders. These are obviously two very different groups, and the approaches to remediation will be very different. Therefore, the first order of business in this course will be to address the question: what kinds of children can benefit from the strategies and interventions discussed here? For starters, we might place children into one of three very general categories:
1. Typically developing children 2. Children with language delays or communication issues 3. Children with oppositional defiant and conduct disorders
Of these three groups, the first two will be good candidates for the techniques provided in this course. Typically developing children may be poor listeners for a variety of reasons that will be described herein. The interventions described here will help them become better listeners and assist them in their relationships with adults and in their day-to-day development. Children with language delays do experience greater difficulty following directions, which parents perceive as not listening to them. This results in a constant struggle between parents and children, frustrating the children who feel that their parents overreact and dont understand them, as well as the parents who do not understand why their children exhibit such resistant behavior all the time. Children with language delays and communication disorders will need ongoing language interventions because of the deficits that are part of their developmental conditions. Intervention is crucial for this group so that they can learn better communication skills and get on with their social and emotional development. The third group, however children with more serious behavior disorders are not likely to benefit from the interventions described in this course. These children and adolescents have underlying behavior patterns that will require serious and ongoing mental health interventions. The techniques offered in this course would not be effective with antisocial youth because they are based on underlying motivational mechanisms that are not present in individuals with oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder.
2013 Professional Development Resources | www.pdresources.org | 10-56 Helping Children Learn to Listen | Page 3 of 17
The second question to be addressed here is: what is the age range of children who are likely to respond to this type of training? The answer is that most of the techniques described here can be tailored to the age and development level of the child or adolescent. Examples of modifying statements and techniques for use with children and adolescents are included in a number of sections. In fact, it may even become clear that some of these techniques can be adapted for use with adults. This course focuses on clinicians in their role as educators to parents trying to manage non-compliant behaviors that are related to underdeveloped listening skills. The purpose of this course is to teach clinicians effective and practical strategies so they in turn can counsel parents and caregivers on how to engage their children positively, fostering an environment of improved communication and cooperation. Effective strategies enable us to manage our caseloads, while being a support source for our clients other helping professionals, i.e., teachers, educators, parents and caregivers. Opportunities abound for school-based professionals like SLPs, counselors, social workers, and school psychologists to help parents and caregivers address challenging behavior. Once they are able to understand the link between language disorders and misbehavior, they are able to manage non-compliant behavior much more effectively. Research shows that parents and caregivers of children with difficult temperaments or communication disorders experience significant stress (Meyer & Prizant, 1993; McLeod & Watts-Pappas, 2009, pp.28-29; Flasher & Fogle, 2004, p.161). It is now well established that children with language impairment are more likely than typically developing children to experience behavioral difficulties (Greene, 2005 pp. 23-31; Alderson, Kofler, Rapport, 2007; Bashir &Singer 1999; Cooper-Kahn & Dietzel, 2008). Parents who are experiencing frustrations with their child need to know that children can be taught better listening skills. With encouragement and support, parents can learn effective techniques to facilitate better listening, and become capable of effecting changes in their home (Lindsay & Dockrell, 2012). Helping parents find more successful ways to interact with their children permits them to feel more capable in their interactions with their children and decrease their perceptions of their childrens communication difficulties. This supports research demonstrating that involving parents directly in language intervention can result in positive changes in parentchild interaction strategies, quality of the parentchild relationship, and parent satisfaction with language interventions (Adamson et al., 2011). This course will provide specific techniques that clinicians can use to counsel parents and caregivers on how to manage their childs non-compliant behavior. The skills that are needed will be discussed in detail so that clinicians can work with caregivers to develop the necessary tools and have them available when the misbehavior or non-compliance occurs.
Why Are Children Non-Compliant? In this section we will list four psychological and sociological reasons why children are non-compliant and have trouble listening. It should be understood that these dynamics are common to all children, not only those with language delays. 1. Listening is Difficult for Children One of the major reasons why children do not listen and are non-compliant and is because listening is not easy. Children have a hard time listening. Adul