should I be worried? (development-related) — The Bump
D.C. Area Babies

should I be worried? (development-related)

So I had an interesting conversation with our DCP (the director of the center) yesterday. She is concerned about how sensitive J is to loud noises. Not that all loud noises bother him, but he does tend to startle if there's a loud noise out of nowhere (foghorn, fireworks, etc.) and can sometimes take a little while to settle back down. We know this about him and deal with it - trying to prepare him ahead of time if we know something's coming, holding him and calming him down afterward, etc. He'll also often bring it up afterward - like if it was a truck making a loud noise, he'll ask "No truck? No truck?" like he's asking for assurance that the noise threat is gone.

Anyway . . . she's concerned that he shouldn't be so bothered by these noises anymore, and that it takes him so long to settle after. She seemed to think it might affect his ability to learn (?) if he's being distracted by these things, and suggested making our house more noisy and not picking him up if he gets upset by noise, but getting on his level and reassuring him.

My first reaction was to be a little defensive. He's around noise a lot (it's PLENTY loud at daycare) and I think he's just a little nervous about unfamiliar things but generally a happy, well-adjusted, BRIGHT kid. And not picking him up if he's freaked out seems mean.

Any thoughts? Is she on to something or maybe out of line? Anyone else deal with this issue.

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Re: should I be worried? (development-related)

  • I wouldn't make any changes based on her suggestions right now, but I think it's worth bringing up with your pediatrician at his two-year well visit. I think DCPs are pretty good at identifying things that should be investigated, but I doubt that she has the training to really know if it's a problem or just a difference and how to best deal with it.

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  • DD1 is almost three and still hates loud noises.  If the TV or radio are on loud, that doesn't bother her, but loud trucks, fire engines, turning on the car in our garage with the car doors still open, the garage door shutting, a loud airplane, lawn mowers, the swiffer vaccuum, fireworks, etc. are all problems.  When she was little she would cry, but now she just gets concerned/anxious and wants to know what it is and when it will stop, etc.  We just tell her what it is and it's role in the world/purpose and tell her it's not going to hurt her.  When she was little we had to hug it out because she didn't have the comprehension to understand an actual explanation. 

    Having said that, she has no problems learning.  She said her first words at 10 months and was speaking in sentences at 15 months.  She is incredibly inquisitive and picks up on a lot of concepts quickly.  It never occured to me that it would be an issue, but DCP has never pointed it out either.  She has always been skittish in unfamiliar situations and is just now coming around to meeting new people openly (as in not hiding behind one of us or openly crying and getting panicked).  If you think it may be a problem, bring it up at your next ped appointment, but I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you really notice it having an impact on his (or your) quality of life.

  • image 2vthokies:

    DD1 is almost three and still hates loud noises.  If the TV or radio are on loud, that doesn't bother her, but loud trucks, fire engines, turning on the car in our garage with the car doors still open, the garage door shutting, a loud airplane, lawn mowers, the swiffer vaccuum, fireworks, etc. are all problems.  When she was little she would cry, but now she just gets concerned/anxious and wants to know what it is and when it will stop, etc.  We just tell her what it is and it's role in the world/purpose and tell her it's not going to hurt her.  When she was little we had to hug it out because she didn't have the comprehension to understand an actual explanation. 

    Having said that, she has no problems learning.  She said her first words at 10 months and was speaking in sentences at 15 months.  She is incredibly inquisitive and picks up on a lot of concepts quickly.  It never occured to me that it would be an issue, but DCP has never pointed it out either.  She has always been skittish in unfamiliar situations and is just now coming around to meeting new people openly (as in not hiding behind one of us or openly crying and getting panicked).  If you think it may be a problem, bring it up at your next ped appointment, but I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you really notice it having an impact on his (or your) quality of life.

    This sounds so much like J! He's not quite as shy about meeting new people (he's more likely to say "no" when they try to pat his head rather than hide) but good to hear that you're having a similar experience. It's not affecting our quality of life, which is why I was a little thrown by DCP's comments.

    I do plan on bringing it up at our 2-year appt though.

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  • My brother, who is now a Dr, was terrified of loud noises until he was school age.  I don't know if he outgrew it or just did a better job of hiding it.  He hated the garbage truck, cried during fireworks and thunderstorms and was just easily startled.  I think if the general humdrum of noise at your DCPs bothered him, that would probably impact his learning - but the occasional loud noise is disconcerting.  I jumped the other day during the thunderstorm when the storm was right above us.   
  • I forgot to say, I think the hearing of little kids is more sensitive than our own.  They haven't had 30 years of walk mans, loud concerts and raucous bars to dull it like we've had. 
  • I remember reading something about fear of noises can be indicative of a very mild form of autism but I think your DCP is stretching here! If he is on track with the rest of his development, I personally (and I am no Dr) don't think it's a problem. Bring it up at his 2 y.o. check-up but lots of kids this age don't like loud noises, I think that's normal!

     

  • I honestly thought being scared of sudden loud noises was developmentally appropriate.  T seems concerned about all kinds of noises - kind of like when you move into a new house and every sound is scary when you're alone until you learn it's the air conditioner or the fridge or whatever.  She sometimes looks startled when she hears a new sound and we spend a lot of time talking about them - I name the sound (motorcycle...fire truck...air conditioner...even coffee maker) and she repeats it several times until she's confident that she understands the sound isn't something coming to get her.  She still says "cycle?" to me almost every time our neighbor with a motorcycle drives down the street to reassure herself.  I was a little worried when a neighbor had landscapers out with a chainsaw at bedtime recently, so I tried damage control by taking T out to watch what they were doing before it turned into a scary thing and she got clingy out of concern.

    I would use a little bit of gut instinct about whether you think he's overreacting to sounds, and I'd be interested to hear what your ped. says at the 2 yr. appt. since you'll probably make it in before T goes.

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  • My sister HATED loud noises- waves crashing, fire trucks, helicopters, fireworks, etc... until she was in elementary school. DD gets freaked out about some sudden and loud noises and we did mention it to the doctor. He said it was normal for some kids.

     

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  • I was terrified of loud noises as a child -- thunderstorms, vacuums, loud trucks, sirens, fireworks. I think kids' hearing is just sharper than ours and they are also trying to learn the context for those things. I would be curious what your pedi says.
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  • sounds weird, but according to dr. google, one woman found that her son's aversion to loud noises was linked to a magnesium deficiency.

    it was a random website i found while googling.  so, take it with a grain of salt.  probably just a coincidence where she convinced herself of causation.

  • DS is extremely sensitive to a lot of different things, including loud noises.  As he has gotten older, he has gotten better at dealing with them.  He is a smart, empathetic kid that is just sometimes overwhelmed by the environment.  This book really helped us start teaching him how to deal with the things that bother him:

    http://www.amazon.com/Highly-Sensitive-Child-Children-Overwhelms/dp/0767908724/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311970985&sr=8-1

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  • I have no insight other than that I still startle at loud noises or sudden events and sometimes take a few minutes to calm down! 

    She's a tough cookie!

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