While we may suspect or know a child is on the spectrum, we should always make sure the child is not affected by any underlying health problems.
Arrange a meeting with all relevant educators and staff to discuss the possible causes of the behaviour.
First – Consider physical/medical issues eg
- Hearing – can child hear properly, are child’s ears infected, inflamed, blocked
- Throat – is it inflamed/constricted
- Nose – can child breathe properly, are sinuses infected/inflamed
- Eyes – can child see properly, is there conjunctivitis etc
- Bottom-does child need medical attention for nappy rash
- Bowel – is child constipated – this can cause pain and fear of going to the toilet
- Scratching – does child have nits/lice, allergies which need treating
- Eczema – is there a rash causing pain, scratching and discomfort
- Asthma – are there breathing issues causing stress for the child
Second– Consider environmental issues eg
- Diet – what is child eating, is there too much sugar, is at served at the wrong times, is it contributing to child’s allergies, is child eating enough, has child had breakfast
- Sleep – is child sleeping at night, is child being forced to sleep at service instead of rest/quiet activities.
Looking at health issues in practice
The first thing educators do is look for out of the ordinary explanations, like illness, new baby at home, grandparents visiting etc. If these events are short episodes, educators shouldn’t have concerns and will work together to support the child through the change.
However, if there is an untreated illness like an ear infection, educators will see an increase in behaviours displayed over a period oftime.. An ear infection is a good example because some children can cover up the typical sore ear or sometimes we don’t see them pulling at the ear which could indicate an infection.