Learning Difficulties

My child struggles with school

One of the largest sources of anxiety and concern for both parents and children in today’s world is school and related performance. Children are expected to know how to read and write, and perform simple mathematical operations even before they commence their elementary education. Moreover, competition among students for educational facilities and opportunities is continuously growing.

Often, anxiety heightens for parents whose child is falling behind their peers. These parents fear that their child will miss out on opportunities, will not advance academically and occupationally, and will, thus, not be successful in life. For both parents and children, it can be frustrating when all efforts seem to come to naught and, the path ahead seems unclear and uncertain.

When your child is not performing at an age appropriate level, you might find that you may blame him or her for being lazy, playful or unmotivated. It may also be easy to blame yourself, your spouse or the school for not putting in enough effort. However, various factors may be underlining your child’s inability to perform. These factors include cognitive weaknesses such as a personal weakness in reasoning and/or working memory; inability to concentrate and sustain attention; increased need for physical activity; executive functioning and processing speed difficulties; emotional distress; motivational problems and; learning disabilities. Standardized psycho-educational and diagnostic testing can serve to be very help in determining the underlying causes for underachievement in school.

When your child has difficulty learning, it is useful to have a clear idea of what is holding your child back. If you are concerned that your child is not coping and are uncertain of the causes, consider getting professional advice from a clinical psychologist. Depending on the presenting issues, the clinical psychologist may recommend a battery of assessment which will determine your child’s cognitive profile and assess for relevant problems, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Mood Disorders and Learning Disabilities, which are known to influence academic performance. Accurate identification of these challenges is imperative in identifying strategies and management plan to support your child in achieving his or her potential in life.

Written by Dr Sanveen Kang-Sadhnani

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