Monday, June 30, 2014

It is a mystery

If you have a theory or suggestion, I would be interested to hear it.

(Well, it is not so much a mystery any more.  Apparently, this symptom is common with visual processing disorders.  Now to figure out what to do about it.)

Anyone who reads our blog is probably is aware that Baby Bop (our son) has some unusual neurological processing issues. Reading is particularly difficult for him. He can memorize words, but he just can't decode the sounds that the letters make.  He has been in speech therapy since he was 18 months old. (He is almost 8 years old now).

Recently, he has hit a new developmental window and is beginning to be able to decode letters and sounds (sound out simple words). But, this bring with it an interesting side effect from this letter sound decoding: he begins to yawn almost nonstop. It is an involuntary response. He is not even aware he is doing it unless I point it out.

[He also a visual tic disorder.  When he was about 2 years old, his head would jerk to one side after a few seconds of exposure to a video screen.  Now that he is older, he can handle limited screen time without the tic showing up, but we never quite know how much is too much or if he has outgrown it altogether.]

When he is looking at site words or word that he has memorized, he doesn't yawn. As soon as he starts sounding out an unfamiliar word, he yawns. I'm not talking about small yawns either. They are big, nonstop yawns.

Today, we worked on reading. I had Baby Bop do a cartwheel or jump up and down every time he started to yawn. This would only bring a momentary pause to the yawning. As soon as he started sounding out a word, the yawns would start again.

Really, the only thing that stopped the yawning was Baby Bop jumping up and down while he was sounding out the words (which he was more than happy to do). For now, I guess he is going to be jumping up and down while reading until we can come up with a better plan.


C T said...

Here's my crazy theory: yawning can be caused by reduced glucose in the brain,and having to use his brain to sound out words and letters is using up his glucose stores in his brain. Basically, his brain wants a sugar boost. Maybe try giving him Skittles or Kool-Aid just before doing a lesson that involves sounding out? I always re-juiced my brain with sugary stuff (Skittles, Slurpees, donuts) during and after SAT, ACT, etc. tests and found it pleasant and effective self-medication.

Fatcat said...

Dianne Craft's website mentions yawning with visual processing issues. Check it out. I don't remember my son doing this when he was littler, but he learned to read completely with sight words, could not sound out at all and still reads very well. He's 16. If he wants to know how something is pronounced, he looks it up on a dictionary web site, then never forgets it. :-)

I can't believe Baby Bop is 8! You may have to change his blog name, now that he's getting so big!

Janine Cate said...

Well, I googled "visual processing disorder yawning" and hit the jack pot. Now I need to figure out what to do (more than we have already done) for a visual processing disorder.

Marlis said...

Given the tic, might this be a manifestation of a mild form of Tourrettes? Boys are more susceptible to this disorder. I have a very mild form myself which was stronger between ages 9-15.

Janine Cate said...

Tourette Syndrome is on our radar. There is another boy in our homeschool co-op with Tourettes. He was diagnosed right after Baby Bop began having issues with his visual tic.

I also noticed another related symptom. Baby Bop also yawns when he recites phrases during family scripture study. Because he doesn't read, when it is his turn, we read and he repeats.

As with the reading, as soon as he starts repeating back the phrases, Baby Bop begins to yawn.

Janine Cate said...


Maybe I should just call him "The Boy" since we don't have any other male children. :)