Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Other Voice: The Best School Year...Ever

At the beginning of the school year, there’s excitement and a sense of “starting fresh.” The students are generally done with vacation and eager to see their friends. They (more-or-less) eagerly trot off to school with a backpack full of new school supplies, hoping for a good year. Everyone – teachers, parents, and students – wants to have a successful year.

While we all hope for this to happen, the reality is that some children struggle to be successful in school be it academically, socially, or behaviorally.  Year after year they seem capable - but unable - to meet grade level expectations. These students languish on academic probation risking denial of enrolment, and parent-teacher meetings, IEPs, and standard interventions don’t seem to make things much better.
When a student is not doing well in school, the best thing a parent can do is take the time to determine why the child is struggling. It is rare that a student fails by choice. Hidden reasons for a lack of success include undiagnosed learning disabilities, developmental delays, psycho-social stressors, &/or underlying medical issues to name just a few. Any one these things may cause a child to have significant, observable difficulty in school. It is worth noting that poor school performance is the single most prevalent reason for childhood issues with self-esteem, confidence, and emotional resilience.

Assessment by a qualified, experienced psychologist can help identify the underlying hindrances, provide a diagnosis if necessary, and allow for the implementation of specific and appropriate learning support. When children get the support they need to learn effectively, they experience a sense of accomplishment. Success breeds confidence, which encourages effort, which produces more success – it becomes a self-sustaining process.

“I wasn't diagnosed[as dyslexic] until well after I had reached adulthood, had struggled through school being considered lazy, dumb, and perhaps even retarded, and had flunked out of college seven times.”
~John R. Horner, World-renowned paleontologist

If your child is struggling in school, take the time to find out why. The sooner the real problem is identified the sooner the hope for success – and all that success means for your child – can become a reality. Don’t wait. You won’t be sorry.

Post author: Dr. Sussanah-Joy Schuilenberg, clinical coordinator & supervising psychologist at Soor Center.

"The Other Voice"- Is our contributing authors post.  If you would like to contribute, email me at for approval, editing and eventual posting:)

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