You were crafted with your child in mind. Never forget that. You are already equipped to do this.
Coming to terms with the idea that your child is genuinely struggling to keep up in school is anxiety- inducing to say the least. Since this is often unfamiliar territory for many parents, it can translate into stress, depression and even conflict in the home for both you and your child. This doesn’t have to be the case if you are willing to commit to small steps that can make a huge difference.
If you feel unsatisfied with the process so far or don’t feel like the strategies discussed in the first article are yielding desirable results, consider moving on to these next steps:
- Arrange to sit with your child’s teacher to review findings to note patterns and/or inconsistencies with struggles and successes. Take time to see if you’re having similar experiences at home and school. There may still be strategies that your teacher can show you how to implement from home that you hadn’t thought of. However, if you are more than three months into the school year, consider moving to the next step.
- Ask about a professional evaluation. It is your right and privilege as a parent to have your child professionally evaluated by the school at no out-of-pocket cost to you. Whether your child seems to struggle a little or a lot—you have the right to an evaluation. Take it.
- Don’t crumble in fear of labels. Don’t fall for it. In the average classroom, more than half of the kids will have learning styles that are not conducive to the traditional classroom. This does not necessarily make any of the children learning disabled. It simply means that they learn differently.
Understand that when you request the evaluation, it will conclude with what most schools call an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. In this meeting, you will discuss the findings alongside the team that evaluated your child (teachers, psychologist, etc.) and a school administrator. I admonish you to come to the table in good faith. They all have your child’s best interest at heart.
If the evaluation finds that your child qualifies for services, you can sign off on them during this meeting. Nevertheless, if you still have anxiety at this point, most schools allow for a few days before you agree or refuse a signature; however, I implore you remember that no matter the findings, you have complete freedom to accept or deny these services. If you are second-guessing the findings of the evaluation, we’ll discuss your options in the next article segment.
While most public schools don’t have the resources to teach to each child’s specific learning style, they can make allowances that help compensate for some of those difficulties. Allowances like having test questions read aloud or extra time to complete tests can make a world of difference for a child who learns differently.
Finally, truly take time to consider accepting the help even if you have plans to venture outside of the school for further evaluation/assistance. If you agree with the findings, make sure your child is the first to get all the services they need to succeed. I have been in schools in wealthier neighborhoods where the parents fight tooth and nail for these services and try to cheat the system to attain them. They don’t care a bit about a label. They just want little Johnny on top, by any means necessary.