Q. A staff member at my son’s school recommended we get an auditory processing disorder ruled out. What is an auditory processing disorder?
A. Auditory processing is what your brain does with what you hear. Before being able to complete an auditory processing evaluation you need to rule out a hearing issue first. Students experiencing an auditory processing issue often have difficulty hearing in background noise or understanding when there are multiple people speaking. They may have difficulty discriminating between similar words like hat and hit. Auditory processing can be impacted by past chronic ear infections, undiagnosed concussions from contact sports or learning differences. It’s wonderful that your school, and most likely a teacher, recognized that your son was having difficulty listening to sounds, and making sense of what his teacher was saying to him or the class.
Tara Wheeler, Au.D., FAAA, Doctor of Audiology www.grapevineaudiology.com
Q. I’m concerned that my children are becoming addicted to their smartphones and social media.
A. Technology and social media are powerful tools, and recent studies make it clear that children are using too much of both and that it’s making them more anxious, lonely and depressed. What other families have told us is that they are happy when they drop off their kids for overnight camp. Camp is the one place that children will separate from their phone for days at a time and be happy! Almost every other way that parents limit smartphone usage feels like a punishment and makes the phones more appealing. In contrast, a child attending camp makes face-to-face friends, has fun, is active and is completely tech-free, surrounded by adult roles models that are also tech-free.
Steve Baskin, Owner/Executive Director www.campchampions.com
Q. My daughter was diagnosed with Autism; I just can’t wrap my head around how this happens.
A. Generally speaking the cause of Autism has not been specifically identified; however, it is theoretically believed that it is triggered by an environmental factor in combination with a genetic predisposition. Early intervention is a key to success. As a parent and a therapy provider, I would agree 100%. I know this is very, very hard to deal with, but I can tell you that this journey has been a challenging journey for my husband and me, but very rewarding. The most beneficial for my boys has been Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and ABA services.
Kate Lundgren, OTR/L, MBA, CST www.cuttingedgepediatrictherapy.com
Q. With recent art programs being cut from schools, some parents may not see the benefit or may not be able to afford self-funding.
A. After 23 years in dance education, I can vouch for the benefits arts education provides. Along with the physical and mental benefits, an education in the arts builds character too. Dance students learn time management that includes arriving on time to a rehearsal, managing time between school and dance projects, and the discipline learned in packing the appropriate uniforms, shoes, etc. Social lessons are also learned; including how to work well with others, team building, and if needed, conflict resolution. Arts education is so much more than putting brush to canvas, or learning steps in a ballet. The lessons learned benefit the child well beyond the time spent in the studio.
Daniel Tardibono, Administrative Director of Schools Texas Ballet Theater | texasballettheater.org
Q. What age is appropriate to send my child to overnight camp?
A. There is no magic age that deems a child “ready” for camp. There are, however, some signs and skills a parent can look for. For instance, 1) They have expressed interest in overnight camp. 2) Your child can take care of basic needs on their own. (Bathing, washing their hair and brushing teeth is expected) and 3) They have spent the night without you. I do encourage parents to consider camp when their child has interest. Once the decision is made, enjoy the time your child is at camp and let the camp do their job. Before you know it, your child will be back at home telling you about their adventures, friends, fun and more than likely asking, “When can I go back?”
Jacob Summer, Camp Director Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro | www.campfirefw.org