Published on August 6, 2014 inParenting on LandOMoms.com
One of the hardest things to witness is your child struggling in school. We first noticed our child having a difficult time when he could no longer coast through classes and retain information needed to succeed. Today I want to share some steps that you can take to determine the cause of your child’s difficulties and how to handle the situation once a diagnosis is made.
But, before I begin, I want to share that there was a lot of guilt I carried around while we were figuring out what was wrong. I felt badly that I had been angry with my child for not being organized, and I was sad that we had not caught it sooner so that we could have had a more successful year. Try not to blame yourself, but be proud that you are doing all you can for your child and paving their way to a successful future.
Talk with Your Child’s Teacher: The first step I took was talking to my child’s teacher to see what was happening in the classroom. Since she was with him all day, she was able to pick up on behavioral clues to assist with a diagnosis. If you plan to test your child thoroughly for a diagnosis, the teacher also may be called upon to fill out a survey of what they observe in the classroom. By beginning this communication, it lets the teacher know that you are doing all you can to make sure your child succeeds in her classroom and that you want to work with them (not against them) as a team.
Talk with Your Physician: Your first point of medical contact will always be your physician. Explain what the teacher is observing in the classroom and what you are witnessing at home. Your physician will then make a referral for testing and diagnosis. Oftentimes, once a diagnosis is made, they will execute the medical plan for your child. If you don’t have a trusted relationship with your physician, make sure that you find another one.
Ensure an In-Depth Diagnosis Procedure: A good physician will offer an excellent referral to someone who can assist with testing your child and will not rely on a swift questionnaire to determine a diagnosis. In the case of our child, we took him in for a four-hour testing process that that measured his ability to memorize and process.
Execute a Plan With Your School: Once a diagnosis has been made and a medical plan is in place with your doctor, set up a meeting with your teacher to plan next steps. For us, it involved setting up an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for our child to help him succeed in the classroom. In our plan we outlined what he needed, whether it was extra time at the end of the day to get his papers organized, a quiet place for testing or a signed agenda that spelled out what he needed each day so we could help him stay organized. Make sure you re-establish communication every year to review the IEP and add or remove anything necessary so your child has a successful school year.
Get the Right People Involved: It can be an exhausting process achieving a diagnosis, setting plans in place, running your child back and forth for physician checkups and making sure they are doing a good job on their homework. I wish I could tell you that it gets easier, but so far it hasn’t for us. Every child is different though.
The best thing we ever did for our child was to get the right people involved in his life. We utilize free college tutors that visit his school to help him with his homework. We have a fantastic physician who developed the best medical plan for him. We keep lines of communication open with his teachers. And we found a great extracurricular outlet that helps him build confidence.
It truly takes a village to help a child who is struggling, but the efforts will pay off in the end. Be proud of all you do for your child. You are an amazing parent!