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Ep 9: "Super Kids!" featuring Robert Mockler
Episode 91st March 2021 • The Kids Are All Right! • The Kids Are All Right! Productions
00:00:00 00:23:22

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In today’s show we start our brand new segment called ‘Super Kids!’ where we celebrate super kids doing super things with a fantastic secret surprise planned for them!  

Our very first Super Kid is 12year old Robert Mockler from Dublin, Ireland who has suffered with DLD, or Developmental Language Disorder since he was little.

A developmental language disorder is when a child hasn't developed words and sentences in the way that we would expect. Some have difficulties learning new words and remembering words when they are talking. Others might have difficulty making sentences or understanding long sentences that other people say to them, and some might have difficulty telling and understanding stories. And many will take words literally, finding it difficult to read between the lines, that is, understand the hidden meaning behind words

A hidden disorder, experts say that approximately one in 14 kids suffer from some form of DLD.

Take a listen to see how we surprised Robert, who is a huge Avengers and Marvel Movie fan with an incredibly special Superhero surprise in his house!

And remember to Stay Healthy, Stay Happy and Stay Well!

Michelle and her team have a collective 50years experience working with kids as teachers, entertainers and parents!

Thanks to Zapsplat, Audio Jingle and Alexander Korotkoff for the sound effects and music.

Check out our social media to see more about the team, our guests, the topics we talk about, our competitions AND how to send us in your stories, jokes, comments or ideas for the podcast!

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Hello and welcome to The Kids Are All Right, a weekly podcast specially for kids, that's all about health, happiness and wellness.

I'm Michelle and here with me are my co-pilots on this podcast, Buster and Buddy.

Hey, guys!

And we're on a mission to help you all feel great and live happy!

Here we go again, Yeah!

All right. So, guys, this is the week that we kick off a very special segment on this podcast.

Oh, I'm so excited. It's finally time. It's going to be brilliant!

I know, Buster, it is exciting because this is where we dedicate a whole show to celebrate super kids doing super things…take a little listen to this…..(Super Kids Jingle)

Cool. That sounds really dramatic!

 Well, actually, it is Buddy, because what we will do is find out more about the kids that are nominated, what they are doing that is so brilliant and basically why they are a super kid. And then we plan a really cool surprise for them that we know they will love.

Oh, it's just so brilliant. And they have no idea. It's genius. Oh, I can't wait!

Neither can I!. So who is our first super kids of the series, Michelle?

Well, it's 12 year old Robert Mockler from City Western Dublin, who has lived with DLD, or Developmental Language Disorder all his young life.

Michelle, what is developmental language disorder?

Well, it's a disorder which causes problems with speaking and understanding language. So kids with it will find it difficult to talk and explain themselves, maybe tell a story to a friend in the right order, or maybe even find it tricky to tell a parent what has happened in school.

But that must be really annoying when people don't understand you. Yes, it is.

And as well as difficulties expressing themselves, they also find it difficult to understand what people are saying. So it's not just the words they're saying, but also the meaning behind the words. So they spend their days trying to work out not just what people are saying, but what they really mean.

Oh, wow. That must be so exhausting. Do many kids have this?

Well, it's called a hidden disorder, as it can be difficult to know which kids have it, especially as teachers and parents haven't really been told how to spot it; you know, what signs they should look out for in a kid. And then also because kids who have DLD tend to be really good at just getting by and covering it up. But the reality is that about one in every 14 kids have some form of DLD…,

What?! That's like two kids in every classroom. Wow. That's a lot of kids in a lot of classrooms.

It is indeed. So what is so amazing about Robert is that this year he decided to step up and speak out about living with the condition in an effort to firstly help other parents and kids to realise if they have it. And then also, Robert wants to teach kids what they can do to help other kids that suffer with the condition.

Wow. That is so brave because, like, that's the very hardest thing for him to do, stand up in public and talk. And yet he's still doing it so he can help other kids. What a guy!

Yeah, he is a super kid for sure. So we are going to speak with him on this show and he thinks that we're just speaking with him as part of the work he is doing, spreading information and awareness about DLD. He doesn't realize that we actually want to tell him how brilliant he is and that

 we have a cool surprise waiting for him in his house.

This is going to be brilliant. I can't wait!

I know guys, it’s really exciting!


But there’s something we need to do first. So part of the work that Robert has been doing for DLD has been working on a research project with the University of Limerick…and he’s helping the researchers develop a checklist for teachers to use in classrooms that will help them work out if any kids in their class have DLD.

….And this checklist will also help them make sure that these kids are able to do their work and be involved in the class activities the same as all the other kids….basically so that their DLD doesn’t become a problem for them in school.

It’s amazing!


So we spoke to Aoife Gallagher who is the head researcher on this project who works with Robert to find out a little more.


Hi, my name is for Gallaher, and I am a lecturer or teacher at the University of Limerick. I also do some research to do with children and young people who have speech and language difficulties. A developmental language disorder is when a child or young person hasn't developed words and sentences in the way that we would expect. So some will have difficulties learning new words and remembering words when they're talking. Others might have difficulty making sentences or understanding long sentences that other people say to them, and some might have difficulty telling and understanding stories.

One of the things that a lot of people with developmental language disorder find difficult is reading between the lines, and that is about understanding the hidden meaning behind the words. People say words sometimes and they don't mean exactly what the words suggest. And when I have spoken to children and young people who have developmental language disorders, they have told me how difficult the classroom can be to understand the lessons and to be able to express ideas and participate fully.

And the project that I'm involved in with Robert is the first step, really, in deciding whether this checklist could be used. Robert is part of an expert panel. That means that Robert and some other young people who have speech and language difficulties are advising the researchers on how to make the checklist better and how to make the research better.


Woah that’s amazing! He’s incredible!


Yeah, it’s amazing, an expert Co-Researcher at 12 years old! But it really IS very important work he’s doing that will help so many kids, not just here in Ireland, but all around the world.

Okay, so now that we know a little more about Robert, I think we should talk with him!

OK, so are you ready, guys?

 Yeah. So we are delighted to have 12 year old Robert Mockler from Citywest on the show with us today.

He's going to tell us all about DLD, Developmental Language Disorder, which he's lived with since he was little. Robert, you're very welcome today.

Thanks a million for joining us. Do you want to say hi to Buster and Buddy before we get started?

Yeah, sure. Hey, guys.

So, Robert, tell us what DLD is?

Well, DLD is a language disorder and it can mess up your language like, your English, and your emotions as well sometimes.

And do you remember the first time finding out you had it and going oh right, that's what it is?!.

Well, we figured out in 2016, but they found out earlier when I was six that there was something wrong with me and we weren't sure what it was at the start. And then it took us a couple of years to figure it out.

OK, and you've learned so much this year about it as well.

Yeah. Because we've looked into it more than we did in the last couple of years. We looked into it a lot more this year, but now I understand it more.

And what did you discover this year that you thought was most interesting that you didn't know before?

It's probably my emotions. We only knew we knew about my English. That's why we really went into therapy, because of my English. We didn't really know about my emotions really about until this year, mainly just over Lockdown because they got weirder over Lockdown.

Do you know what, Robert, I think all of our emotions got weirder over Lockdown, you're not the only one to do so!!

Can you explain to everybody listening, to the kids listening how does it make things difficult for you? So we're chatting here and it's great but I can't tell that there's anything at all. So for you, what is more difficult for you?

Some of the things people say, the sayings, don’t make sense to me. Like jokes or sayings like ‘The penny drops’ or ‘Going on the school run’ as well. Dad said he had to go on a school run and I thought he was actually running to the school…like I thought he was actually running!!

And you're like, Dad, you don't run!

Yeah, because he doesn't run!

That must be exhausting at school having to concentrate so hard to understand what your teachers are saying…never mind all the chats going on between your mates. That must be so difficult.?

Yeah, It is.

And Robert, what other ways can it be difficult in school?

Well, just like focus and trying to work because you're thinking one thing and then you're working on the other thing and you just don't know what to do. So it's harder to focus.

And is it very tiring on your head?

Yes. Yes, it's stressful. I sometimes I get migraines when the work is hard. Sometimes I get migraines.

Yeah. And for people who don't know what migraines are, like I've never had a migraine, well I don't think I have…What is a migraine?

It's just like getting a headache, like a really sore headache. And then sometimes I get sick, well it’s 50:50 if I get sick or not.

That's really tough. And is it hard when you're trying to explain that to the other kids in your class?

Yeah, it is. Kind of, yes.

But now they understand a little bit better. Does that make it easier? Because I heard that you stood up in front of your class and you did a really brilliant presentation to explain to your classmates and some of the other teachers what DLD is….Tell us a little more about that.

So I just talked about what DLD was and how you can help. And they asked so many questions. I don't even remember how many questions they asked. There was just so many they asked. So they were so curious about it. I just couldn't answer them all at.

Because you're helping to raise more awareness with the kids. Is there anything in particular you'd recommend they can do to understand more about DLD?

Well, they can ask me. They can ask you like, are you sure you know what I'm saying? And do you know what we're talking about? Do you get it right? And I just give them a minute and just make sure they know what you're saying.

Yeah, that's great. That's brilliant. Did you find a difference in your class when you had that done that presentation?

Yeah, I did.  They've been trying to give me a minute, like they haven't been talking at me. Just remembering to give me a minute to talk and to say what I need to say.

Oh, that's brilliant. But also as well as educating the kids on DLD, you are a co researcher. That's a big title! 12 years old and a Co-Resarcher. I'm so impressed!

You're the co researcher and you are training and teaching the teachers and basically building a checklist of things that they can have in front of them so that they can spot the signs if they have a child or children in their class that have DLD.

Yeah, we've been working on it for a while and I do it with Aoife Gallagher and Rachel Murphy and another kid. And we have to do some meetings and we imagine what our dream classroom would look like. And we do like other ideas, like what could help kids that have to be relaxed and just make sure that they're not under pressure or anything.

Oh, that's so cool. So basically, you get to teach the teachers! Cool!


So tell me this. What does this classroom look like that you imagine you and this other child that would be the best classroom ever for a child with DLD?

It's like, well, it could be like bigger tables so you can have more friends to talk to when you need to. And that you can chat and you can also do schoolwork. So it’s not so much pressure to do it on their own because like, if you need to do a class project then you have loads of people to help you. You all do it as a team.

Brilliant.  I love that teamwork. I like that message!

I think the dream classroom of I was when I was in school would have been a classroom with like sweets everywhere and crisps, is that were you able to put that into your plan, tell them. Yeah, crisps and sweets everywhere?!




Tell me one of the things that you've told them would be great in this classroom.

So a quiet space in the classroom so if they're like stressed, they can go into that quiet space and just take a minute and chill or even read a book in there and just relax when they're really stressed or anything.

Very good. That's very practical. They’re all very practical things, aren't they?


Yes. Yes, very clever.

And you know what's wonderful about this you're trying to educate parents and you're trying to educate teachers and you're trying to help other kids to know how to help a child with DLD and you're trying to help other kids with DLD. It's just so many people you're trying to help. It must feel good.

Yeah, it does feel good sometimes.

So Buddy, I think you had something you wanted to say to Robert?

We're going to be honest. We probably should tell you this isn't just an ordinary interview to learn about DLD. No, we've heard loads about the great things you've been doing. And there are loads of people that are so proud of you and all the awareness work you've been doing for DLD this year. So, Robert, we've got an extra special surprise for you.

You are very first, The Kids Are All Right Super Kid! Are you a bit surprised? Well, the surprise is about to get even bigger!


Well Robert, your mom actually knows about this surprise and she's right beside you there I think so you can tell her she can bring you downstairs now…

Hey, Robert, so we here have heard that you're a huge Avengers and Marvel movie fan, just like me and Buddy!  And that just like us you were looking forward to Dublin Comic-Con and then the coronavirus hit and you are so disappointed about missing it.

So we thought it would be a cool idea to create a mini Robert Comic-Con in your dining room.! So together with your mom and dad we've set up a mini Comic-Con convention, complete with vinyl top bubblehead, a Captain America shield, a Loki Sceptre, loads of different comic books, and all the exciting things that make Comic-Con so special for so many people!!

So what do you think is really cool? Did we catch you out?

Yes, you did.!

Robert, You can actually hand the phone over to your mum now so you can enjoy your surprise. We want her to do a little job for us now.

OK, Brenda, how are you doing? Hi there, Brenda. So you wanted to do something special for Robert?

I'm such a proud mom. If only you guys could see his facial expressions. He may not have sounded very excited. I don't know if he did or not, but his face is showing a thousand expressions!

That was the plan. So why are you so proud of him this year in particular, Brenda?

The year before last, I first got involved in the DLD Day and then last year we got involved heavily and Robert did a lot of work as well. We’re part of a volunteer group and Robert did his presentation in school, which is not an easy thing for a 12 year old to do in front of all his classmates. And he's just been great.. And so we're just super, super proud of him for what he's doing and for what he's achieved. It's not easy at times for him, it can be tough. You know, it can be stressful.

And yes, there behind me he has his head in his hands!! He’s so excited!!

Super okay let's give him a few more surprises then, Brenda. So do you want to help us to present these things to Robert?


OK, so first up, we've got the Marvel Legends series and iconic Atman Helmet given by Big Bang Comics, and it's a premium collectible product with all kinds of special effects and lights. Does he like it, Brenda?

He is delighted with it! I am just as excited and...