As a teacher where can I tell parents to begin, when they have a child who is constantly failing, for example a nine-year-old in first grade, who still does not know all his alphabets and letter sounds.

Please educate parents about the evaluation process within the boundaries of your job. Many parents do not understand how to help their children who struggle in school. Remind parents that they are their child’s teacher also, and parents help children practice the skills they are learning in school. Many teachers offer before school and after school tutoring to help struggling students.

My 13-year-old is not doing well in his classes and I’m finding it hard to  get him motivated. I asked for him to be tested in school with the guidance counselor but I haven’t heard anything back. what do I need to do to get that ball rolling on that. He’s been to a psychologist and a psychiatrist. He doesn’t have ADHD. They just want to put them on medication but medication made him feel bad and he’s not a hyper kid and he just sometimes has trouble focusing so I’m wondering what should I do next?

Kudos for seeking help for your son. Now please write a letter asking for your son to be evaluated by the school for a possible learning problem. Sign and date the letter and give it to the school Special Education Director. The school has 5 school days to respond to your letter and get the ball rolling with testing and 60 school days to test him, by federal law. If your child does not have ADHD, please find out from the psychologist and psychiatrist who saw him what his actual diagnosis is (e.g., Anxiety Disorder, Depression, developmental disability, etc.). Children who struggle in school often lose motivation over time, so individual counseling with an Adolescent Psychologist may be in order. Find other activities that your son enjoys to help build his self-esteem, such as volunteering, sports, music, martial arts, etc.

I have a 4-year-old bilingual child. He is number 4 out of 5. However, he did not start talking as soon and as clear as his siblings. The 2-year-old is equal to the 3 oldest. It seems that I have to speak with him more to repeat what I say or want him to follow my directions. He is active and likes cars and horses. We belong to 4H. Help !

Great question. If your 4-year-old is not talking on time, this is a sign he may have a speech and language disorder. Child who have a speech delay are at increased risk of having learning problems. Also if a child is delayed in speaking one language, they will be delayed in speaking all languages. Speaking more than one language does not cause speech delays. Please ask your child’s primary care doctor for a referral for a private speech and language therapy evaluation. I also suggest getting your child’s hearing testing through an audiology evaluation. Your child is old enough to be evaluated by the local public schools for a possible developmental disability and can qualify for special education services under the category of Speech and Language Impairment. Write a letter to the local public school requesting your child be evaluated for speech problems. Sign, date the letter and give it to the Special Education Director; this will get the evaluation process started. Finally, consider asking your child’s primary care provider for a referral to a Developmental Pediatrician or a Child Neurologist in your area for an evaluation.

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4 thoughts on “Get Well Wednesday: Addressing School Underperformance in Schools

  1. Ruth O'hara on said:

    Parents have GOT to start going over homework and reading daily with their children. Limit TV and electronics unless they are educational. IT WORKS! If you don’t believe me, watch the movie: Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

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