Background: One of the basic roles of any parent is to be a detective when it comes to figuring out what is causing a problem for one of their children. Most parents have good intuition and attempt to remedy situations or conditions to enhance the well being of their children before reaching out for help and this is a good thing. One such area where parents are always trying to help their children is in the area of school and all parents are familiar with academic ups and downs depending upon a number of factors such as: the particular subject; how well their child likes the teacher; whether or not the child has friends in his or her class; and the amount of homework, just to name a few. Taken together, there are many feelings attached to schoolwork which can help to explain why a child might excel or fail.
Once a child is having academic problems in a class or in general academically, in to figure out “why”. Here, the parent is faced with one of two possibilities: 1) an actual learning or academic issue; or 2) an emotional reaction to the work or how the work makes the child feel inside. Or commonly, a combination of the two. Interestingly, both of these explanations cause the same symptoms, but depending upon the reason “why” the child is struggling will warrant different assistance. For example, if the cause is “emotional”, rather than academic, the approach is being supportive, validating, and then encouragement with both limits and rewards. On the other hand, if the child does indeed have some sort of learning or academic problem, then remediation may be necessary, such as a tutor or an educational therapist. Once the reason has been identified and addressed, most children feel better about themselves and their capabilities which then translates into better grades and a better liking of school.
Misdiagnosis though in this area is common and can have long term negative consequences.. For example, often times when a child is having a difficult time completing tasks or concentrating, they are quickly diagnosed as ADHD and placed on some sort of medication. Once again, diagnoses, such as ADHD, are based on a list of symptoms that could be caused by all sorts of conditions, which might be an neurological one, but it could also be caused by anxiety, low self-esteem, and even childhood depression. One can then see that if the cause has not be properly identified, then the condition may not be properly treated and then child does not improve as much as they could with appropriate treatment or remediation.
Once a parent has exhausted his or her intuitive methods to help their children, then seeking professional assistance is a very good idea. Although most school districts will schedule a meeting to discuss and potentially evaluate a child once he or she has been identified as a “risk”, this process may take quite a bit of time and is only typically suggested if the child is failing. This then leaves the child who may not be failing but struggling without a needed assessment to help determine why there is a problem. This is where a learning center, such a Sylvan, which is considered the best, can both assess and then formulate a plan to help a child succeed in school. In such an evaluation, Sylvan will further make a recommendation for a psychological evaluation if their professionals detect that the cause may be more than mild academic or emotionally driven. In many cases however, once an assessment has been made and an academic and study plan implemented, the child improves both emotionally and academically.
1. Academic problems can be either emotionally or learning driven.
2. Parents need to find the “real” underlying cause before implementing change.
3. Remediation needs to be based on a full assessment by professionals.
4. An inaccurate diagnosis leads to continued struggling and often endless medication trials.