Monday, May 4, 2009

Top 10 children's disorders in desperate need of cures

On Saturday, there was an article in the Straits Times about a little-known disorder called selective mutism, where a child who is normally chatty at home, completely clams up in specific situations, usually schools or in public, and this doesn't improve with time.

I'm sure that if this had occurred 20 years ago, the child would simply be considered "shy". In fact, I had a discussion with a girl friend several weeks back on why there appears to be a proliferation of children's disorders in modern times, whether:

  1. these conditions had always existed and are just being discovered today due to increasing awareness and research
  2. there are indeed kids with more disorders these days due to a global change in lifestyle and environment
  3. we are just trying to create more labels to cater to kids who don't fit nicely into any of the recognised categories
I don't know. And I have no wish to make a judgement call because I'm pretty sure I will get hantam-ed by people who are for the other camps. So I'm taking the cop-out route by saying, "I think it's a combination of all three." There! Everyone happy?

But one thing I'm certain of is that with human beings exhibiting such an impossibly vast spectrum of behaviours and personalities, no matter what new condition you come up with, there will inevitably be some kid who has those symptoms. So I decided to come up with my own fictitious Top 10 list of children's disorders, complete with acronyms (what's a disorder without an acronym??), garnered from years of observing my two young 'uns and other children.

1. Selective Attention Deficit (SAD) Disorder

The ability to sit unmoving for two hours in front of X-Men, but not being able to focus on maths for 10 minutes.

2. Memory Aptitude Deficiency (MAD) Malady

The ability to remember every line of an advertisement jingle they heard a year ago, with accompanying gestures, but not what their teacher had told them earlier that day.

3. Lack Of Sensory Tracking (LOST) Syndrome

The tendency to lose water bottles, lunch boxes, books, files and stationery in school without the slightest inkling of how it happened.

4. Broken Channel Disorder (BCD)

The inability to adjust one's volume so it's constantly tuned to LOUD, particularly when there's a need to ask questions like "MUMMY, WHY IS THAT MAN SO FAT?"

5. Snot Magnet Syndrome (SMS)

Afflicts 5 times more boys than girls. The magical ability to attract dirt, dust and anything resembling snot, coupled with the uncontrollable desire to spread these to different crevices in the body.

6. Sound Origination Syndrome (SOS)

Afflicts 50 times more boys than girls. The ability to fart, burp and create a musical assortment of noises from every body part at will.

7. Total and Irrational Regression in Energy Disorder (TIRED)

The sudden and puzzling drop in energy level, often triggered by the tutor pressing the doorbell.

8. Blasted Bladder and Bowel (BBB) Malady

The strange and instant urge to pee or poop the minute they've left a place with a clean and available toilet, despite having been asked 10 times before, "Do you need to go?"

9. Monosyllable Muttering Syndrome (MMS)

The obsessive and highly annoying use of mono-syllabic answers to probing questions, like "yah", "no" and "mmm". Sometimes improvement may be observed in the upgrade to two syllables - "ok".

10. Hard uf Hearing (HUH?) Syndrome

The ability to hear the opening of a packet of potato chips two rooms away but not their mothers standing next to them, yelling at them to do their homework.

Efforts to find cures for these disorders have so far been in vain, despite modern scientific breakthroughs. So if your kids have any of these disorders, best of luck to you!!

Disclaimer: I am not trivialising real children's disorders. If you are offended by this post, then perhaps you're suffering from the Humour Deficiency Type V (HDTV) Disorder - please seek help.


Anonymous said...

very enlightening...and true

Lilian said...

This is utter genius! So funny...I'm gonna come back and re-read this again and really LMAO (in school library now, can't quite LOL much less LMAO). Rushing off for 9am meeting. Thanks for perking up my morning! Let you know my favourites later.

breve1970 said...

So hilarious, Monica! But sometimes, I also wonder if I am obsessed with Hayley's disorders too, dyslexia, spatial problems, no sense of social awareness... etc.

Perhaps I am freaking out. Will see how the treatments and therapies go for her by the end of this year.

Anonymous said... I know where Andre gets most of his humour genes from....

This is so "marveliciously" funny and I cannot agree more ....


monlim said...

Ann: Hayley's conditions are definitely more real than those on my made-up list so you're justified to be concerned. Try not to freak out and take it one day at a time (I know, easier said than done!) Since you've already intervened, that's a good start, leave the rest to God and therapy :)

QX: Thanks! Glad it made you laugh :D

Lilian said...

My favourite is HUH...from out of nowhere, Brian will appear instantaneously every time we open (as quietly as we can) a bottle of coke. Both boys also have LOST Syndrome but the disorder that annoys me most and really gets my goat is BBB, especially in Moscow where it's not that easy to locate public toilets.

monlim said...

Lilian: I think Andre has almost all of them! But especially MAD. Always, "what did the teacher say?" "err... dunno" but can imitate the Mocca and M1 ad to the T :P

Jo said...

LOL! Just what I needed on leave this afternoon ... during exam week !

Elder daughter gets the TIRED & HUH awards...younger one is champion for SAD, BCD, SOS & SMS

And both are BBB !

Anonymous said...

Monica, you're super funny lah!
Aiyoh, #8 drives me crazy, you know why lah..I have to lay layers then. Yay, I know I'm not environment friendly. :(
And yes, #10, her ears just auto blocked out all sounds whenever the TV is on. How ah?


monlim said...

Jo: Nice to know I've got company!

Sarah: I dunno leh... another parent just told me her son is 16 and still has all of the above. Horrors, they don't grow out of it!!

Lilian said...

Looks like Andre has a bright future in advertising, or maybe composing and performing ad jingles.

monlim said...

Lilian: Not sure about the composing, but maybe the performing!

Veronica_L said...

I'm not a kid...but still have LOST and SAD. Really, X-Men isn't my favourite, being a girl, but anything is better than Maths for 10 mins. ANYTHING!!!!

And as for losing things, it started once I learnt how to hold something. Looks like I have the magical power of making whatever I have in my hands disappear instantly and not remember where I last left it.

In school I was a regular at the Lost And Found counter-the auntie there even knew what I was looking for before I went to check. The 'fat man' part would have been very funny if Andre said it...can imagine the expression on his face.


monlim said...

Veronica: Aiyoh, more and more I'm hearing that people never grow out of these disorders!! *groan*

Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant piece!

Alcovelet said...

Goodness Monica, this is so wickedly hilarious! I couldn't stop laughing! I can't even figure out how many of these RK has!

Michelle said...

Dear Monica. I have been following your blog for a while but this one is my favorite!

I almost peed in my pants from laughing. Keep it up!

monlim said...

Thanks ladies! Thanks for reading, Michelle (and I hope you have new pants!)

Puzzled by Puzzles! said...

This is too funny! LOL!!! You are GOOD! I like TIRED, and I can relate to MAD! Heehee.

breve1970 said...

Thanks Monica for the encouragement.


Han has : BBB & MMS.

Hay has : SAD, MAD, BCD, TIRED, BBB & HUH.


Anonymous said...

Hi Monica

My daughter has a classmate who suffers from selective mutism, as described in the ST article. The girl will normally respond when the teachers asked her questions in class, but she does not speak to her classmates. I found it quite unbelievable at first. My daughter got to know her better this year, and has grown quite fond of her. She told me that the girl will use hand gestures to communicate, it is like playing charades. There was an occasion when she forgot to bring her pocket money for recess. She looked at the sandwich that my daughter brought, pointed at it, rubbed her tummy, and then pointed at her mouth.

I have not met the girl, and do not know her parents. I don't know if they are aware of her problem in school.

Thankfully, the girls in the class didn't ostracize her, and from my understanding, she has her group of friends. But I sometimes wonder how she manages when she comes to project work.


monlim said...

LL: I'd never heard of the disorder until I read about it in ST. It's strange though that she'll speak to teachers but not classmates, isn't it? I wonder how they can treat this ailment.

Anonymous said...

Monica: My daughter says normally no one telephones the girl to ask about homework etc, because they figure she wouldn't talk. It all sound very strange, I know. I'm also curious how to treat this condition.


Anonymous said...

The girl LL mentioned, I am not sure if it is selective mutism, could be inclusive but it is certainly hand-signs she has learnt during babytime that is spilling over. If communication includes language, hand-signs, writing etc...I would say she is choosing the media to communicate with different groups of people.

My hubby has a strange phenomenon since young, selective language mutism. He will only speak specific language to specific people even though there exists 2 or more common languages between him and the people. What a man!


Puzzled by Puzzles! said...

Someone shared this on youtube which I thought was very helpful in knowing more abt selective mutism (Monica, pls remove the link if u think it is inappropriate to post here. )

Anonymous said...

qx: Hi. The girl I mentioned, is already in P5 (11 years old). It could be something that happened when she was younger (in school?) that triggered her behaviour towards her peers. (I'm just speculating.)


Anonymous said...

LL: Hi. If at P5, then you are probably right that the issue may be quite severe and not just wanting to practise her hand-signs communication. I suppose the expert can establish how bad the situation is. Hope she finds the solution soon.


bACk in GERMANY said...

Mon, this is so hilarious!
Your top 10's are always a gem. You're so gifted with words and, ermm, with acronyms too! :)

Both of mine probably have SAD. And Bryan even has HUH, while Kristin always has BBB.

Veena said...

hi monica,
Great write up, cannot laugh and relate more...
I guess i have to start watching for these disorders in my kids..
really good, i liked HUH and LOST the best. Both my kids are champions in that :)

petite fleur said...

This is why I have to go read all your posts or else I would have missed a gem like this...Priceless. This made me laughed out loud. Remind me not to read your blog at work. It's 11.30 & I want to keep reading.

Oh & Nathaly has a severe case of BBB.

Anonymous said...

Lilian commented LMAO. May I know what does it stand for?

monlim said...

Anon: LMAO = Laughing My Ass Off. One of the many shortforms in the digital era :P

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