Can we still rescue this school year?
This is the time of year when many parents whose children have struggled with school start to either despair or panic. Most parents will say: “We’ve done everything we can; we’ve talked to him (or her), we’ve encouraged him, we’ve pushed him as hard as we can, we’ve even tried tutoring and counseling, hoping for the best, and nothing seems to have gotten better. The school is talking about holding him back and/or putting him in a special class”.
Most of the time, as I inquire further into the child’s problems, I will hear that he (or she) is having significant problems academically and can’t seem to focus or retain what he’s learned at home, or is having lots of behavior problems at school, lacks confidence, is isolated… or all of the above.
This question actually has two parts to it. For the first part: No, it is definitely not too late to get help for this school year. It is at the end of the school year that the evaluations and decisions are made as to what is best for the child in the coming year and we are definitely not at that point yet. I have worked with many teachers, and I am consistently told that if they see significant improvement in academics and/or behavior before the end of the year, it can definitely effect their decisions.
Parental attitude toward this question is also critically important to their child. Your decision to accept these problems as unavoidable and/or to give up on this school year, as opposed to not giving up and continuing to find the solution to your child’s difficulties, makes an indelible impression on how your child sees themselves and their approach to solving problems. If you take the first option, things will probably get worse for them as they will sense you’re giving up, and they will too. They will also think less is expected of them and they may put forth less effort. If you choose the second option, and ground that for them firmly in the fact that the problems do not represent their true self or abilities, and that they are worth these extra efforts to solve the problems, then you have the opposite effect and their self esteem and effort climbs. So does your chances of final success for the school year.
The second part of the question regards whether or the not the proper underlying cause of the problem is being addressed. While tutoring and counseling definitely have their place, the problems mentioned here are more likely stemming from ADHD. Furthermore, the effectiveness of tutoring, counseling, and many other interventions will be significantly reduced if the underlying ADHD is not treated first. This is a disorder that many parents reject testing for and if present, treating, because they understandably fear what they think is the unavoidable use of medication with its undesirable side-effects and rigors. There is, however, a much preferable alternative to this scenario, and that is neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback is an effective, drug and side-effect free procedure in which the individual learns to retrain the attention and/or impulse control mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.
In conclusion: No, if the parents don’t give up on the school year (or their child), and the true underlying cause of the problem is identified and corrected, it is definitely not too late to save this school year, and the decision to do so is critical for your child.