Message from the Executive Director

Perspectivei32j
"Asking the same question over and over c Who is the one that doesn't understand?"

@This consultation is from one elementary studentfs motherc gMy child asks me, gSchool, tomorrow? School, tomorrow?h again and again before going to bed, so I answer, gYes, youfre going to school tomorrow.h, but soon after, he desperately asks the same question again. I canft help getting upset and saying, gStop pestering me. Why are you saying the same thing!h I wonder if not only parents or guardians but support staff might have similar experiences. What is the problem behind the question?

@First, letfs think about the reason why the child keeps asking the same question. If we assert that the reason why this child canft understand is because he has intellectual disabilities, we need to reconsider. I believe that a child keeps reiterating their feelings to their parent, guardian or support staff until they come to understand, because they are desperately trying to appeal emotionally to them. An adult who can express their feelings well with words can, instead of asking the same question, rephrase by saying, gNo, thatfs not what I meanchwhen the other personfs answer indicates that they do not understand. When we view it in this light, we can see that there is a gap in communication between the mother and the child in the previous consultation. The child didnft just want to ask if tomorrow was a school day or not. There is a possibility that he might have been trying to appeal his associated feelings; his anxieties and worries such as gI was hurt by my friend who said bad things.h, gI was scared at being scolded by my teacher.h, and gI feel down because I have my least favorite class.h If this is the childfs intention, he canft just be satisfied with the answer, gYes, youfre going to school tomorrow.h I wonder if thatfs the why he keeps asking the same question. If the child canft express his feelings well, it is necessary for the adult to ask additional questions such as gWhatfs wrong?h, or gAre you worried about something?h in order to know his real feelings. If the question matches his anxieties, he should think, gYes, thatfs right!h in his mind and nod, even if he canft say yes or no. And it should be indicated by some behavior such as showing less desperation, being less stressful and making more eye contact. If the child can use words, they might give a reason, gNo, ZZ.h In the previous story, we found out through communicating with the elementary school student and teachers that instructing fixing an unbalanced diet was a burden to him. It is up to our ability to ask a child questions and read the thoughts behind their behavior. It is also important to regularly build and maintain trusting relationships.

@In both children and adults, it is sometimes difficult to understand what they really want to tell us because they keep asking the same questions, gAm I going ZZ?h or gIf I do ZZ, canft I do ?h In this situation, their desperate feelings canft be conveyed to the people around them, because the verbal interaction follows a set pattern: gAre we going?h gWefre not going.h or gCanft we do it?h gWe can do it.h We must try to communicate by focusing on the individualfs real feelings instead of thinking gOh, the usual habit (question) has started.h We might be the ones who canft understand the individualfs viewpoint well.

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