Brain Tumors in Children

by rnelsen

Continuous Classroom Disruption

Question about Brain Tumors in Children: We have a five year old who continuously disrupts the school day with repetitive questions (that she knows the answers to), temper tantrums, blurting out, interrupting, repeating others, and loud laughing alternating with crying.

She seems to act more like a two year old and still speaks that way sometimes, saying "I go bathroom." Positive reinforcement, discipline, office referral... nothing changes the behavior.

She had a brain tumor removed last year, but the pre-school experienced the same behavior for two years prior to the tumor removal and there has been an escalation in behavior since. Any suggestions?

Answer: When dealing with brain tumors in children there can often be an acquired brain injury resulting in behavior problems. The tumor could have also been affecting her behavior prior to it's removal depending on how long it was there without detection.

Some of this behavior can be considered normal for a 2 or 3 year old, but as a result of brain tumors children may experience developmental delays. Some consequences of an acquired brain injury may be ADHD symptoms or signs associated with sensory processing disorder.

If they haven't already, the parents may want to consider having her evaluated by a neurologist to see if any medications might help. Occupational therapy services would be beneficial to deal with any of the sensory challenges that are resulting in the impulsiveness and temper tantrums.

Using a combined approach is likely the best option for dealing with these types of behaviors. After implementing these additional strategies, you may find that your positive reinforcement and discipline are much more effective.

Is it also possible that she may qualify for services through the local school district with a developmental therapist and occupational therapist? Having her evaluated to determine if there are any delays may be very beneficial for her.

Other considerations you may want to speak to the parents about are things that she may be more sensitive to as a result of the brain tumor/ possible acquired injury. These can include artificial sugars, such as aspartame or coloring in her food, such as red dye 40, which are considered to be "excitotoxins" or neurotoxins for the nervous system.

These can lead to frequent crying, tantrums, and other behavioral challenges. All children can be affected, but those with neurological disorders are more likely to have obviously noticeable affects.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is another common neurotoxin and is in a very large variety of foods with multiple aliases. So, modifying diets for children with brain tumors to include mostly whole foods instead of processed foods may help as well. A sensitized person can react to much less than one gram at a single meal.

You can check out a brochure with more information about MSG by clicking here.

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