For many children, school is not a straight path free of roadblocks. Ups and downs in school are inevitable, and some subjects and grades might go more smoothly than others.
As a parent, you do your best and follow your instincts when dealing with problems as they arise. But Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center cautions parents to watch for signs that their children need more than typical parental involvement. “No child has a trouble-free school experience, but it’s important to be aware of issues that might have deeper roots and require more intensive intervention,” she says. Huntington lists these five signs of possible learning problems:
Sign #1: Poor comprehension – Poor reading comprehension can be a sign of many different learning issues. Pay attention to how your child completes reading and writing assignments. Does it take far longer than it should to read a page? Does your child have a hard time answering questions about books he or she is reading? Is your child’s writing often unclear with spelling and grammatical mistakes?
Sign #2: Poor attention span – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most associated with a poor attention span, but even students not diagnosed with such an issue might need support improving their ability to focus and complete work. Take note of your child’s work habits while studying. Do you notice a lot of gazing out the window? Getting out the phone or surfing the internet when he or she should be doing something else? Working for only a few minutes before getting distracted?
Sign #3: Difficulty retrieving information – There are several types of memory, all of which are essential for students to be able to store and retrieve information when they read and listen in class. Do you notice your child struggling to answer questions about material he or she has just read or forgetting information learned just recently? Do you see your child frequently leaving the room to get or do something only to return a moment later having forgotten what that item or task was? Or, does your child remember recent topics taught but have a harder time recalling topics taught a month ago?
Sign #4: Weak organization and time management skills – While many children grapple from time to time with organization and time management, consistent difficulty planning ahead on homework, staying organized, and paying attention to details could be signs of something bigger. Specifically, your child might lack executive functioning skills, which are essential aptitudes that allow students to self-regulate and achieve their goals.
Sign #5: Poor grades in language-based subjects – As mentioned, a poor grade in any subject should be a red flag that something is going on with your child in school, but if you observe problems with reading fluency, writing, spelling or recall, the scope of your child’s challenges is narrower. Your child could simply be dealing with missing skill gaps, or the issue could be something more complex like dyslexia.
If you notice one or more of the above signs, or other red flags such as low self-esteem, apathy about school, or homework taking an exceptionally long time, contact Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN. We can assess what is going on with your child, identify the problems ailing him or her, and establish a plan of action to correct them.