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Signs of learning and school difficulty

As you looked at the dimensions of learning, you
saw your child’s ability, attitude and skills combine to determine whether he
succeeds in school. Now look at the most common signs of learning and school
difficulties. You learn how to evaluate how well your child is doing and what
types of problems he or she may be having. You then look at each of these signs
in more detail, including thinking about how you can help your child if you see
signs of learning and school adjustment problems.

Think about these questions. They get at common
signs of learning and school problems. As you consider each question, ask
yourself if your child ever has the problem. If not, go to the next question.
If he or she sometimes has the problem, put a check mark beside the question
and then go to the next question. Repeat the process until you have thought
about each question.

your child

Have trouble making good choices and decisions?

Have problems expressing his thoughts and

Have trouble doing things most children
his age do easily?

Have difficulty understanding school
assignments and what teachers expect?

Have trouble understanding what he reads?

Get confused about what he is doing, what
people expect or what people are saying?

Find trying harder does not lead to his
homework and other assignments getting better and easier?

Do some assignments very well and others
very badly?

Forget to do homework or have trouble
remembering what was assigned?

Have difficulty following instructions
and directions?

Have a problem paying attention to time
or managing time?

Get bad grades?

Have trouble asking for help or letting
anyone help?

Have difficulty accepting or dealing with

Always have excuses for not doing well?

Think his not doing well is someone
else’s fault?

Have to have an adult standing over him
to get him to do his school work?

Feel teachers and other adults at school
have it in for him?

Disrupt the classroom or the activities
of other children?

Make no effort to cooperate and get

Skip school or miss school a lot?

Did you spot any problems? If not, your child is
likely doing quite well in school. Be pleased with him or her and also pleased
with yourself. Your hard work and effort are paying off nicely for both of you.

It is more likely you spotted some signs of
difficulty. Most children are having some problems needing attention. The
problems may be mild and within the normal ups-and-downs of children and
school. Nonetheless, they require your help today to prevent more serious
problems tomorrow. They also may be even more alarming. If so, start working
with your child on them now or you can be sure they will become very serious

If you have spotted some problems, do this.
Reconsider the questions where you made a check mark. For those questions, put
a 1, 2 or 3 next to the question. A 1 means you see the problem once in a great
while. For those problems, talk with your child about your concern and then
watch for a couple weeks to see if things get better. They usually do.

Put a 2 beside the question if you notice the
problem more than once a month. For those problems, talk with your child about
your concern and also mention it to his or her teacher.

If you cannot stop by school, call her at school
or in the evening. The school office has her number or can make arrangements
for her to call you. Teachers normally want to hear from you. If you cannot get
in touch with the teacher, call the principal at your child’s school. Follow
any suggestions you get from the folks at school.

Put a 3 beside any question that identifies a
problem you see once a week or more. Something is definitely wrong. Also, talk
with your child’s teacher. Just remember this. Something more is wrong than is
fixed by merely telling your child to pay more attention, listen better, study
more, or work harder. All of these are ways of blaming your child for having
the problem. He needs to take his share of responsibility for things getting
better; but you and the people at school need to do your share of the work too.
It takes all of you to help him. It is not just his problem. Each of you must
take responsibility for what’s wrong.

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