Posts tagged ‘isolated’
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.
Having been in the field for over 16 years, helping children and parents with school related problems, and also having worked closely with teachers, I have learned a few things about parent-teacher conferences. Conference time is just around the corner, and for some it may already be here. These conferences should be seen as a rich opportunity to build understanding and communication between the home and school. Due to budget shortfalls and increasing multiculturalism, teachers are under pressure and overworked. Many parents are also pressed for time, have lingering negative impressions from their own school years, and are apprehensive about what will be discussed during the conference, particularly if their child is struggling. What follows are some suggestions to help make the conference go better:
After you received the notice, schedule your conference as soon as possible within the allotted time blocks (you’ll get better choices). Arrive on time or you’ll forfeit important parts of your allocated time frame and miss key information points. Thank the teacher for their time. As it does for you, appreciation goes a long way to help both you and your child. Do not bring toddlers or babies as they are too big of a distraction. Leave your personal problems at home, unless they directly affect your child’s school experience.
Bring prioritized questions with you to the conference, and make sure they are not already covered in the informational packets sent home. Prior to the meeting, discuss it with your child. Find out what they like or dislike, as well as what they struggle or excel at. Ask the teacher what they think would make the school day go better. Some good questions are, ” Has my child completed assignments regularly?” and “How does my child handle taking tests?”. Other good questions may include, “Have you noticed any changes in my child’s behavior during the year?”, “What areas academically, and in terms of attitude, do they need extra help in at home?”, and “What is my child like during the day?”.
If your child is struggling academically and/or with their behavior, or if they seem isolated, you or their teacher may bring this issue up (which is a good thing to talk about). As parents, we can often be defensive and in denial to these problems, and their possible causes. Remember, both you and teacher are there as your child’s advocates. Be open to this discussion, as it can only help your child. Often these problems are caused by ADHD (Attention Deficit with/without Hyperactivity Disorder) or other learning disabilities. Many parents, believing that medication is the only treatment for this disorder, avoid the appropriate testing and/or treatment because they understandably fear the side effects and rigors associated with the medication. There is, however, an effective alternative to this scenario.
One alternative method to medication is Neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback that utilizes EEG to provide information on brain signaling activity and allows for re-training that lasts for life. This form of treatment mitigates the symptoms of ADHD in a beneficial and side-effect-free manner by re-focusing the thought processes of brain.
For additional information pertaining to Neurofeedback therapy for ADHD or various other disorders, please contact the director of the Alta Neuro-Imaging: Orange County, CA location.
As a psychologist specializing in helping students improve their academic and behavioral experience in school for over 16 years, I have come to identify certain types of students who benefit the most from specialized types of help. These are students that can make big time improvements at the start of the academic year.
The first type is the student who struggles significantly with homework (which icnreases in amount and difficulty each year). This is usually a problem with attention span, task completion, and/or organization. Problems such as homework taking too long, not being completed, not being turned in, or not being brought home, all fall into this category.
A second type is the child who has to work too hard to get what success they can. Poor grades and difficulty with testing are typical for this child. These are children who often can do OK when the work is done “one-on-one”, but are too distracted in group settings such as the classroom or group activity.
The third type is the student who has significant difficulties with his or her behavior. They may be getting into trouble frequently, and as a result may even be getting blamed for things that they don’t do. This behavior may make it hard to make friends (or the right kind of friends) and lead to feelings of isolation. They can often be held in or punished at recess (further isolation), and may begin to believe that they are troublemakers, or “bad” kids. The resulting damage to self esteem from this, and the other above patterns, can shape self-fulfilling self-images that are very sad to see develop.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult for parents to see these problems. They may feel that these problems for their child are “not that bad” or “I had the same problems when I was a child” (do we really want them to carry the same burdens?), or “they will probably grow out of it.” As parents, we need to be proactive regarding our children’s challenges and protect them for these obstacles, they will learn how to treat themselves from how we treat them with their difficulties.
As we mentioned earlier, many of these difficulties are caused by aptitude deficiencies whihc are quite correctable. Many of the students with these difficulties suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), either diagnosed or undiagnosed. Proper testing and/or treatment of this disorder are critical for these children’s well being. Many parents also resist testing and treatment because they fear the side effects and rigor of what they believe is the only treatment: medication. This is, unfortunately, still a popular misconception.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to this scenario. Neurofeedback is a proven, effective, drug and side effect free procedure in which the individual retrains the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once treatment is complete, no further training is necessary.
If you would like more information about Neurofeedback, please contact Dr. Ferrari at his Southern California office, Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback.