Today's post is about a new and alarming disorder that affects hundreds of thousands of children across the country -- icantfindititis or ICFI. This unfortunate affliction interferes with a child's ability to adequately search and find items on request, e.g., backpacks, shoes, milk, etc. Although there have been few studies on this disorder, it appears to be genetic and is most prominent in males.
Perhaps you have a child, friend or family member who suffers from icantfindititis? Here are some signs and symptoms:
- Floppy noodle body posture when asked to go find something sometimes accompanied with the phrase "aaaawwwwwww!"
- Short search span, e.g., open fridge door, shut fridge door = extensive search
- Uses the phrase "I can't find it" repeatedly (often in fast succession) sometimes accompanied by a loud and throaty "mooommmmmmmmmmm!"
- Unable to find object despite clarification and added descriptors of where the object is located
- Becomes increasingly whiny and irritated at the prospect of having to continue the search for the item
Individuals with icantfindititis often become dependent on others. They are sometimes enabled by well intentioned, albeit highly frustrated, loved ones who are tricked into feeling that it would be easier for them to find said object rather than having to endure any more the aforementioned undesirable symptoms.
So what can the loved ones of those who suffer from this affliction do? There are a few known interventions that can help to diminish the symptomatology. Please be aware that these strategies require strength, determination and much patience on the part of the caretaker:
- Respond with a repetitive statement ("That's too bad" or "Huh") to the statement "I can't find it."
- Follow up with "What are you going to do?" when the exasperated child comes to you again saying "I can't find it?"
- Close with a "Good luck with all that. Let me know how it works out" thus encouraging the child to solve the problem on his own.
The power in this approach is that the child learns over time that he will have to find the object on his own so it is in his best interest to invest more energy and visual skills in the search. A valuable lesson to learn early on.
Another approach that has been used with some success is to accompany the child back to the location where the item is located. This needs to be done EVERY time so the child learns that no matter what, THEY are going to have to find the object with or without their parent and that it would be in their best interest to find it on their own rather than to waste valuable time which could be used say playing Bionicles instead.
Unfortunately, until some large pharmaceutical company develops another unnecessary pill (don't laugh -- I bet there is someone in a white lab coat somewhere watching rats who can't find their favorite toy), the only interventions are behavioral and require a great deal of effort and energy on the part of the parent.
Do you know someone suffering from ICFI? If so, what symptoms have you observed and better yet, do you found any successful treatment? Please share any tips, suggestions or stories!