We know that students learn at different paces, but how do you know whether a child’s slow progress is actually due to a learning difficulty? How can we tell if there is something that we could be doing differently to help a child succeed and thrive in school?
Here are some things that are often reported about children with learning difficulties:
- He is becoming disengaged and unmotivated with school or he acts up during work time
- She avoids doing homework and it ends in a yelling match
- His achievement in one area differs significantly from achievement in another area
- She is reluctant to read, makes up words based on the pictures, can’t remember the sounds that the letters make even though she has been taught them
- He is over 18 months behind the class standard across a number of subject areas
- She has delays in spoken language
- He forgets things that have been taught over and over
- She struggles to follow classroom rules and routines
- He still needs a lot of help with everyday tasks that he should know by now
- She just can’t pay attention
It’s important to note that many students will experience some of these difficulties - it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have an underlying learning problem. However, working to understand your child within their individual context can assist you to isolate the cause of slow academic progress. Students with a number of the characteristics listed above may benefit from further investigation around their learning.
Psycho-educational assessment by an experienced professional is aimed at analysing the student in a holistic manner and understanding learning ability, strengths and weaknesses to provide the most effective way of supporting learning.
Have a conversation with your child’s teacher if you have concerns about their learning abilities so appropriate intervention can be put in place.
If you require additional guidance regarding your child's learning and behavioural challenges, an Educational and Developmental Psychologist can advise on the most appropriate course of action to suit your child's particular circumstances.
Shivaun is an Educational and Developmental Psychologist at Hopscotch & Harmony who works with families and students struggling with academic, behavioural and social challenges at home and in the classroom. She also has a particular interest in adolescent mental health. Read more about Shivaun