• Stacy Zebrick

What do I do if my child is struggling in school?

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

Everyone wants their child(ren) to do well in school but sometimes they fall behind or continue to get into trouble. It may be some time before you even notice, but the sooner you can help them, the better. So how can you tell if your child is struggling and, if they are, what can you do about it?




What are signs I should be looking for?


  • Too much time completing homework

  • Their motivation dwindles

  • Your child is does not want talk about school including sudden attitude changes; saying school is boring, becoming angry, lashing out, becoming lethargic, having trouble sleeping

  • The teacher contacts you with academic or behavioral concerns


What are some reasons that my student is struggling?


  • Some children learn at a slower pace than others. Ever child is different, has different abilities, and learns at different rates. Many states, including Florida, utilize Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) which is a way of providing high quality instruction and intervention matched to student needs using learning rate over time and level of performance to inform instructional decisions. With extra interventions many students may close the gap and make progress.

  • Shyness/Lack of Confidence

  • Stress is a big issue for students and can be situational. Things like moving, divorce, domestic violence, bereavement, and bullying can effect a student's schoolwork.

  • Special educational needs. Up to 20% of children have special educational needs. These can vary from Learning Disabilities to ADHD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder.


What are my first steps?


  • Talk to your child; communication is key and the problems may be resolved easily

  • Talk to your child's teacher; see if they were noticing the same issues and see what the steps are to try to re-mediate it, or begin the MTSS progress.

  • Make sure your child knows you love them and praise them when they try hard, even if their grades don’t improve. If effort is rewarded then that’s a motivation to try. If grades are rewarded (or punished) then a child may feel under pressure.


What if things don't improve?


  • Some students have special educational needs. There may be cognitive processing, focus, or social-emotional issues from preventing them for making those gains.

  • If you have any suspicion that your child may have special educational needs then talk to their school and/or your child's pediatrician. Psychoeducational evaluations can be completed at the school level (which is a team decision and may take an extended amount of time to complete the process) or from a private licensed school psychologist.

Questions about the psychoeducational evaluation process in Florida? Contact me for a free consultation: 813-384-8481

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