Saturday, December 4, 2010

How do I know if my child needs special help?

Ms. Dorothy -
I have a child that struggles from day to day with literacy. Some days he writes great big letters and fidgets, moving the book close and then far away from his face. Then other days he writes between the lines nearly perfectly and reads with ease. On the days he struggles, he retains nothing and always feels down about it. Have you any advice or insight as to what the problem may be? Does he need special help? What solutions would you suggest?
- Mom of a 3rd grader

What a challenge it must be for him to face days like that! Feeling down seems like a very appropriate response to that kind of struggle.

I wonder if there is anything else consistent about the days he cannot focus. Sometimes changes in routines can have an impact on the ability to concentrate. Being aware of his sleeping, eating and other daily routines might give you some insight into his difficulty retaining what he is supposed to be learning in school.

Any kind of dramatic change in his life, or reasons he may be depressed should be considered as well. Be sure to check with his teachers and have him monitored in case something is happening at school that is leading to his struggles.

Those concerns aside, it might be a good idea just to have his eyes checked. It is rare that a child makes it all the way to 3rd grade without a vision screening catching something, but it happens. I would recommend taking him to an eye doctor for a full eye exam.

It would be a shame to have him waste any more learning time in discouragement if what he needs is a pair of glasses!

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