Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

Is Your Child Suffering From L.O.S.S.??

Many children suffer a learning disability called LOSS (Lack Of Sleep Syndrome). LOSS is chiefly manifested when a child lacks the cognizance to consciously recognize his or her physical need for sleep. In many children, this results in an inability to concentrate during classes. Other known symptoms of LOSS are crankiness and constant feuding with siblings and friends. Although not usually life-threatening, this disability, if not worked with and treated properly, can result in major issues further on in the child's life. Studies show that LOSS sufferers are overwhelmingly scholastic underachievers. This, in turn, can lead to low self-esteem, bullying and/or selective mutism, and ultimately to an at-risk child.

Sociologists and anthropologists conclusively claim that many of the world’s most famous despots and criminals were LOSS sufferers. LOSS inhibits mental acuity and diminishes physical stamina. Children with LOSS are unable to keep up in class. Since these children are often quite smart – yes, LOSS victims can have a high IQ – yet they remain unschooled, they all too often resort to manipulation and aggression to achieve that which their LOSS robs them of. Eventually, many LOSS victims end up with a lifetime of social disorders and often are lost to a life of crime.


It is our responsibility to save these children – and their parents who know no better – from allowing this very treatable illness to exacerbate and reach unnecessary proportions. Who knows what the world would look like today if LOSS sufferers had been properly treated and offered early intervention in years past? It is indisputable that at particular highly critical junctions in world history, had certain kings, generals, advisors or noblemen had a good night’s sleep and not have been irritable and short-tempered, history could have turned out quite differently. We will never know how many struggles, wars and uprisings might have been avoided had these people been treated for their LOSS.


Who Suffers From LOSS?


Statistically, LOSS initially strikes children – both boys and girls – between the ages of seven and twelve. However, once a child has LOSS and it is not properly treated, the disability will remain with him or her for the duration of their life.


LOSS may strike teenagers or even adults as well, but this is not common. In most cases, if a person did not exhibit any symptoms of LOSS before the age of thirteen and only began suffering later in life, the LOSS is secondary to other syndromes or illnesses, such as LOST (Last-minute Onrush to Study for Tests) or HUH (Hocking at Unearthly Hours).


A recent study proves that LOSS is now striking children at younger ages, though, and researchers are struggling to understand why that is. Indications are that by the year 2018, a full eighty-three percent of children between the ages of five and ten will have contracted LOSS.


At this time, it is unclear whether LOSS is hereditary. In 68% of recorded cases, at least one parent of a LOSS child also exhibited signs of the disability. However, research remains inconclusive at this point, as no clear genetic connection has been pinpointed.


Can LOSS Be Cured?


No. But it can be worked with. Do not deny the symptoms of LOSS. If you suspect that your child is suffering from LOSS, seek immediate professional help. In most cases, therapy – especially finger, play or sand therapy – will help the child overcome his or her LOSS. Medication may be warranted in some instances, especially if the child suffers severe sleep deprivation. The medications have minimal side-effects, such as rapid eye blinking, restlessness, or an inability to sleep. Remember: the detrimental effects of LOSS can be far-reaching, so where medication is warranted, the gains far outweigh the LOSS.


How Do I Know if My Child Has LOSS?


LOSS has many physical symptoms. If your child has puffed eyelids, redness of the eyes or sagging under the eyes, these are indication of LOSS. Headaches, general aches and pains, and Fibromyalgia are also LOSS indicators. Have your child evaluated immediately.


There are also emotional symptoms of LOSS. Irritability – especially in the mornings – are a sign of LOSS. If your child suddenly exhibits little interest in mental exertion in class, he/she may be suffering LOSS. LOSS sufferers also report short incidences of Sudden Mental Vacuity (spacing out), temporary memory loss and feelings of fatigue or exhaustion. If your child complains of any of these, have them evaluated professionally.


While a definitive connection has not yet been made, anecdotal evidence points to a connection between children being up past 1 a.m. and a susceptibility to LOSS. Scientists are at a loss to explain why LOSS strikes this particular group, but some maintain that there is a common, unifying gene behind both. Other experts insist that the connection is entirely incidental. To be on the safe side, children up at that hour or thereafter should be tested for LOSS at least as a precaution or to rule it out.


Helping Your LOSS Child


If you detect any symptoms of LOSS in your child, seek professional help immediately. Trained psychologists, therapists, social workers or life coaches can tell if the signs are indeed those of LOSS. Once a diagnosis is reached, treatment can commence.


Care must be taken to detect whether your child is suffering from LOSS alone, or whether he or she is suffering from multiple disabilities or disorders. Many children suffer LOSS in conjunction with ADHD or ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder, aka chutzpah — no, we did not make that one up). If treated for LOSS alone, the child’s ADHD or ODD can actually increase conversely to their LOSS improvement. Treatment must encompass not only the LOSS, but secondary issues as well.


Only a trained expert should be consulted. Your child’s mental health and future are at stake.


Regrettably, many parents choose to ignore LOSS in their children. Such children will be forever scarred. Withholding the proper treatment (or drugs if warranted) is actually a form of abuse. If you know of a friend or neighbor whose child seems to be suffering LOSS and the parents are in denial, contact your social worker immediately. The child’s future is at stake.


With proper care, LOSS can be overcome. Experts say that if all LOSS sufferers would be properly treated, school performance would rise, the dropout rate would plunge, crime would drop drastically and the world would generally be a better, happier and more politically-correct place.


So let’s make the world a better place. Let’s not leave our children to a disadvantage or LOSS.


– – – – –


The reader may be wondering whether the above article is ‘for real’, or whether it was put together in honor of the start of Adar.


We must ask, though, what is ‘for real’ and what isn’t? How ‘real’ are the ever-growing list of “disorders”, “syndromes” or other labels which we stick, with ever increasing frequency, on every idiosyncrasy and personality trait exhibited by our children?


The excitable child is labeled. The shy child is labeled. The child who is chutzpahdik, spoiled, neglected by his parents or overly exposed or pampered, are no longer looked at as needing chinuch. Instead, they are duly labeled and therapized.


Perhaps it is time to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Are we for real?”


One Size Fits All?


Most of us have learned about how, in the wicked city of Sedom, they had one bed in ‘honor’ of guests. The bed was a one-size-fits-all, meaning that a person was expected to ‘fit’ the bed, no matter what. If a fellow was tall, they would ruthlessly chop his feet to make him fit the size of the bed. If he was short, they would cruelly stretch his body in order to make him ‘fit’ their perverted idea of ‘welcoming’ guests.


It has been said that there are those who unfortunately have a serious misconception of what chinuch is all about. Rather than recognizing the individual needs and personalities of each child and dealing with him or her accordingly, they attempt to force the child to ‘fit’ with their preconceived ideas and personalities.


This is no less cruel and harmful to the child than the infamous SedomBed.


Shlomo Hamelech says (Mishlei 22:6), “Chanoch lena’ar al pi darko.” Raise a child according to hisway.


While the Torah applies equally to each and every Jew, we must bear in mind that every human being has his own personality, character traits, strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies. We must raise that person to love, treasure and adhere to every aspect of Torah. Envisioning our characteristics or our notion of what the ‘ideal’ person should be, and attempting to force that vision on a child, is both cruel and almost certain to backfire and leave painful scars in its wake.


To an extent, the secular world – lacking the clarity of our Torah’s directives – has fashioned a new version of the old Sedom Bed. In article after article, we read about the ‘ideal’ child and what he is supposed to look like. All who fail to meet that standard are viewed as lacking, as less than acceptable, and in need of immediate intervention to bring him or her ‘up to par.’


Rather than recognizing healthy differences and accepting people for who they are and for how Hashem made them, people are instead branded with labels as attempts are made to cut down their ‘deficiencies’ and fit them in to the one-size-fits all Sedom Bedof ‘ideal’ social and physical ‘perfection.’ If a child is more leibedik than our ‘ideal’, we immediately label him. If he is more subdued, we label him as well. We give one child ADHD, another ODD, and a third, ‘sensory issues’ (whatever that is…). There is virtually no one found who does not ‘suffer’ from one of the ever-growing number of syndromes, maladies or ‘issues’.


Never fear, though. Those more perfect than us are on hand to ‘help’ their pathetically imperfect brethren with therapy, counseling and perhaps medication.


The reader is surely awaiting “The Requisite Disclaimer” (!), and here it is: It goes without saying that we are not speaking of those who would not be able to lead normal or productive lives without help or intervention. We thank Hashem unendingly for the true professionals whom we can rely on to help us when we need them, often even in areas previously believed to be beyond salvation. We have only thanks and hakoras hatov for those who give of their time, energy and wisdom to help others lead happier and more productive lives.


Our discussion here is solely regarding the repugnantly haughty notion that unless and until everyone fits in with the ever-changing modern-day mores and notions of the ‘ideal man’ espoused by the few who ‘get it,’ all those other quite normal and happy individuals must also be labeled, ‘helped’ and therapized, until they become closer to what those More Perfect than they would want them to be.


Consider the following true story (with only a few minor technical changes to protect anonymity):


Mrs. Kamiel (not her real name) received a phone call from her daughter’s morah. After exchanging pleasantries, the morah said that she was worried about Mrs. Kamiel’s daughter. Her problem? The girl was constantly slipping her foot into and out of her shoe. Mrs. Kamiel laughed, but the well-meaning morah believed this was no laughing matter. Perhaps the girl had sensory issues or was developing Restless Leg Syndrome (no, we did not make that one up either!) or she was suffering from some other terrible unknown ‘issue’. The teacher felt that doing something habitually with absolutely no valid underlying reason was cause enough for concern.


“Why not have your daughter evaluated?” she asked. “What can it hurt?”


Mrs. Kamiel was unmoved.


As the weeks passed, Mr. and Mrs. Kamiel were continually called by the teacher, the school social worker, and eventually the principal. True, the problem wasn’t severe, but who knows what underlying issue might be at play? Why not have the girl evaluated?


Eventually, bowing to the pressure and not wanting to seem like unconcerned parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kamiel agreed to go down to the school for a meeting with the morah, the social worker and the principal.


At the meeting, the social worker waxed eloquent about the various sorts of underlying “issues” which might cause people to slide their feet into and out of their shoes. She brought up possible techniques and therapies to ‘remedy’ such a situation. The morah and principal nodded their heads and lent moral support to the argument.


When the social worker was done, Mrs. Kamiel asked to speak. “With no lack of respect intended to anyone,” she began, “I would like to point something out. I was watching everyone in the room just now while the social worker was speaking. I don’t know if you ever realized,” she turned to the social worker, “but when you speak, you have this habit of constantly folding and unfolding the paper you are holding. I also noticed that the morah was flipping her shaitel back every few moments. The principal was constantly tapping his pen against the palm of his hand. And my husband kept readjusting his yarmulke as he concentrated on what the social worker was saying.


“And I was thinking,” Mrs. Kamiel continued, turning from one person to the next, “you are one of the greatest and most involved principals I know of. You are an amazing social worker. You are one of the most talented teachers any of my children ever had. And my husband’s not such a bad guy either!”


The meeting ended shortly thereafter, with sheepish assurances by those who called it that they would “stay in touch.”


Sometimes, we — as a community and as individuals — must take a step back and ask ourselves, “Are we for real?”




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