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Is Your Child Falling Behind? Are You Looking for a Better School Experience for Your Child? Thinking Ahead to Next Year? Don’t Just Hope for a Better Experience – Make it Happen.

Tue. 04/02/2019

If there’s a child struggling in school, odds are there’s a parent or care giver trying to get that child help. Parents often look to the school first however, if the child continues to struggle and fall further behind parents wonder what to do next.

Do you find yourself sometimes wondering?

  • My child seems to be falling behind her peers, will she catch up? Is she really just a “late bloomer”?
  • Are the difficulties my son is having serious enough to have him evaluated/tested?
  • What can I do to support my child? How can school be better?

Late Bloomers Are Rare

Three longitudinal studies (Juel, 1988; Francis et al., 1996; Shaywitz et al., 1999) each tracking the reading development of children beginning in first grade suggests that late bloomers are rare and, waiting and expecting your child will catch up rarely works.

Instead, if you child is falling behind and is having trouble reading there may be a skill deficit. Red flags indicating a possible deficit include:

  • Pronunciation problems
  • Difficulty learning new facts or skills
  • Difficulty linking letter combinations with sounds
  • Short attention span
  • Difficulty following directions

Granted, not all children learn the same way or at the same pace.  So, when a child gets a slow start its natural for parents to wonder – is my child just a late bloomer or is it something else? While research suggests that waiting doesn’t work, there’s also the question of your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Why have your child struggle when it’s not necessary. Early evaluation, planning and support will help your child succeed.

Evaluation Leads to a Plan and a Plan Leads to Success

As a parent you may be the first person to recognize a problem. If, at any age or any time, you sense something is wrong, you observe that your child is falling behind his/her peers and/or your child is having difficulty reading – take action.

  • Talk to your child’s teacher and address concerns as soon as possible. Knowing exactly what’s happening in school is important.
  • If your child continues to struggle consider looking into an evaluation/diagnostic testing. This can be done through the school or privately. The testing should be conducted by a professional specifically trained such as a psychologist, speech-pathologist, or educational diagnostician. You always have the right to request testing from your school and, at the same time, you can pursue a private testing by an outside professional. It’s usually helpful to share the results back and forth so everyone works together to support your child.
  • Enlist the help of your child’s doctor. Tell the doctor what you’ve observed at home and what what’s happening at school. The doctor may refer you to a specialist.

The earlier you uncover how your child learns (your child’s learning profile) and any challenges, the sooner teachers and parents can map out an effective academic plan that leads to your child’s success.

Support for a Better School Experience Comes in Many Forms

There is no silver bullet. If your child is not is not thriving and you are looking for a better school experience there are a number of supports available. The important thing to remember is, if you want your child’s school experience to be better, start working now to make it happen.

Tutoring – Whether it’s improving grades or strengthening learning skills, many students can benefit from a tutoring program. The right tutor can make all the difference in your child’s academic success so it’s important to do your research and find the tutor that works best for your child.

Summer Enrichment Camps – Academic enrichment camps help your child avoid summer slide. Research (Rand Corporation, McCombs and colleagues, 2011) confirms that:

  • Elementary school student performance falls by about a month during the summer.
  • Most students lose approximately two months of math skills every summer.
  • Summer slide is noticed as early as the summer between Kindergarten and Grade 1.

If your child is already struggling in school consider how important it is for your child to continue learning over the summer.

Mainstream School or an Alternative – Parents who have a child who struggles in school often ask themselves, should my child attend a mainstream school or one that specializes, how do I know what is best? When considering the right academic environment, parents should consider their child’s personality, strengths, and challenges. The results of an evaluation or diagnostic testing, and the recommendations of any specialists working with your child are also important. Undoubtedly, the right fit will help set the tone for your child’s success.

At The Summit School, many of our students come to us after struggling at another school. Often we find that a new student not only fell behind academically, but their confidence took a big hit. The purposeful structure and environment at Summit teaches students that they can learn, make friends, enjoy school and go on to be successful in high school and beyond.

The Summit School through its Resource Center is also a well-respected source for diagnostic testing services, individual tutoring, summer programs, consultations, free community talks and high-quality, content-rich symposia.

Join us on Saturday, April 6 at 9:00 am for Summit’s Open House and learn more about our unique program serving bright students with dyslexia and other learning differences along with, the resources available through The Summit School Resource Center. You will be surrounded by people who understand how you’re feeling and the impact this is having on your family. The time to plan for a better school experience for your child is now. Don’t wait. Make it happen.

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