I've been reminded from personal trials of the impact of health on the above stated areas. You see, I have a 3 year old with severe sleep apnea and chronic ear infections. Thankfully, we have her surgery scheduled for next Thursday and looking forward to getting some sleep in our home again.
My little girl has a severe speech delay secondary to her ear infections. She had ear tubes which relieved the pressure but the infections continue. Each time she gets a cold, it stays for weeks and she can't hear. Her tonsils and adenoids are very large and stop her breathing as soon as she hits REM sleep. This wakes her up crying and leaves her tired and moody throughout the day.
In my years as an SLP in the schools, I've noticed students who are nasal, chronically tired, and/or have attention problems. During the evaluation or screening process I always inquire about sleep by asking if the child snores or suffers from ear infections. A referral to an ENT may be indicated and may be life changing for these children.
Being a mother of young children, I will never underestimate the impact of sleep deprivation. There are several studies that link it to poor school/work performance, behavioral issues, ADHD, health problems including weight issues, and depression.
The health aspect of our school age students can often be overlooked. Because of this personal reminder, I will be more deliberate in screening for medical problems which may contribute to learning, speech, and language deficits.
Thanks for reading. Jen