Whether your child is just starting school or returning to start the next grade level this year, it’s crucial you, as a parent, be alert to signs of academic struggles your child might be having. In many instances, difficulties can be easily sorted out and resolved. However, if your child’s efforts to master a new skill or skills continues it might be time to work with their teachers to determine which special education resources will be of most help. There are three common signs parents see at home that should alert them to possible academic challenges.
3 Warning Signs Your Child Is Struggling Academically;
- Is it a horse? Doctors frequently say “If you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras. If your child is coming home from school exhausted, grumpy, weepy and/or throwing tantrums at the mere mention of homework, look to the most obvious causes for this behavior.
- Routine – Does your child have a consistent routine? Are they getting plenty of sound sleep (no tv’s or other screens in bedrooms)? Do you have a set time for homework and play time?
- Allergies – Does your child have “raccoon eyes?” Do they wake with bloody noses on a regular or seasonal basis? If so, look into allergy testing. A child who is not being treated for environmental, food or seasonal allergies is not going to be in any condition to learn or pay attention in school.
- Nutrition & Exercise – Keep a food journal for your child to get a clear picture of what they are eating each day. Children need a different balance of fat/protein/carbohydrates than their parents. Check with your pediatrician if you are unsure of your child’s diet – bring the food journal along for your appointment. Exercise goes hand-in-hand with nutrition. School and homework are important but time for active, free play is equally important. Children who are vigorously active are better able to concentrate.
- Is it a zebra? If you have thoroughly examined the most common causes of academic struggles, it’s time to dig a little deeper.
- Reading – If your child resists reading, makes the same mistakes repeatedly when writing – switching b and d, for example, it is worth asking the school or your private physician to test them for dyslexia and or dysgraphia. Children with dyslexia are capable of learning to read and write well but, they often need specialized help such as a special education tutor. Most schools have programs in place to help students with dyslexia. Additionally, there are high quality special education resources locally and online.
- Math – Dyscalculia is similar to dyslexia only the issues are with numbers and mathematical signs. If your child relies heavily on memorization or frequently switches numbers or math symbols have them tested. Once diagnosed they can learn strategies for coping with these speed bumps.
- Maybe a unicorn? There are endless combinations of learning disabilities, emotional and physical disabilities that can make it feel impossible to pinpoint your child’s exact diagnosis. Schools have limited resources and can become a source of frustration rather than inspiration. If this is the case, it’s important that you locate special education resources outside of school. Look for professionals who understand multiple learning difficulties and who offer true strategies for remediation and growth.
Don’t let academic struggles get to a point where they are overwhelming you and your child. Keep your eyes open for warning signs and act early. Always remember that no one cares about your child’s education and success as much as you do. Do not be intimidated by jargon or inadequate services. Ask questions and keep asking. Success is in your child’s future.
As a parent, what are some warning signs you noticed in your child that led you to seek additional assistance? Please share in the comment section below.