Blog: School Struggles, Learning Disabilities & Other Kid Stuff

  • Friday, May 30, 2014

    A mom came in this week to talk about young Caroline, age 7, a second grader.    The mom had a stack of material to show me.  There was the math worksheet filled with word problems with the red 34% at the top of the page, with all kinds of ‘X’ marks throughout. 

  • Friday, May 23, 2014

    “Marlene, just doesn’t follow directions.  You know when she goes into fourth grade there’s going to be no more hand-holding. ”

    “All the kids in the class, but Benjamin, know what to do.  He really should be able to do the work.  After all, he is in 7th grade.”

    “What is it with Kyle? It’s like he’s in a different time zone.  He should be more aware of time management.”

  • Friday, May 16, 2014

    Sometimes I think of school 504 meetings somewhat like what I imagine goes on in the preparation for an NFL game.  The coaches (apart from the players) come up with a game plan.  Then the team has to  play the game and carry out the plan. 

    The plan may work beautifully.  Then again, the plan may blow up.  It may not work.

    What’s the link between the NFL pre game strategizing and a 504 planning meeting?

  • Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    A parent told me today about a strategy that his  9 year child was told to employ in school.

    The child was told something like this:

    “When you come upon a word that you don’t know when you are reading, take a ‘flying leap.’   That means you should just look at the first two letters and think about what the sentence means and take a ‘flying leap’ (i.e., a wild guess.) as to what the word might be.”

  • Friday, April 18, 2014

    A mom came in the other day to talk about her struggling eight-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, a fourth grader.  Jacqueline  presented with many of the common concerns-difficulty with decoding, reading fluency, spelling and writing.

    I asked the mom, “What has been done for Jacqueline?”

  • Friday, April 11, 2014

    The Parenting Dance That We Do

    Parents often need help in learning how to communicate with their child. Children with learning disabilities or ADHD can be very frustrating and difficult to manage. Negative and irritable patterns of communication often play out in a habitual manner.

  • Friday, March 28, 2014

    Kids who are struggling feel like they are constantly running up hill while the other kids are on an easy downward slope.   

    In this day and age of Student Growth Percentiles, Common Core and PARCC testing what is the one thing that the struggling kids need above all?

    They need people to be patient with them, to ease up on all of the pressure.

    Sometimes they get burned out with it all.

    Turn down the heat this weekend.

    Take your kid out for an ice cream cone.

  • Friday, March 21, 2014

    Many times a parent (usually the mom) senses that something is amiss with her child and wants to have and  evaluation conducted in school.  If the child is getting decent grades, the response to the request is often denied. The parent may hear  a version of the following,  “Well, she’s getting good grades-what’s the problem?”

  • Friday, March 7, 2014

    Change does not come easily for any of us. Think about how deeply ingrained our personalities, habits and proclivities are. Fundamentally, we are who we are.

    Parents spent a lot of time trying to change children and I sometimes find that their efforts may be a bit too ambitious.

    Rather than go for large change, a “compound-interest mentality” may help as an alternative.

  • Friday, February 28, 2014

    When parents come in to talk about their kids and why they are struggling there are the common list of factors that are usually discussed.  Some of these include:

    • Poor phonemic awareness
    • Limited decoding skills
    • Weak fluency
    • Family predisposition toward dyslexia and/or ADHD
    • Weak attention skills
    • Weak sustained mental effort/executive functioning
    • Weak language processing skills

    The list can go on easily with at least 50 more cognitive (“in the head”) variables contributing to school struggling.

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