How do you know if your average child needs help?

kageyJanuary 25, 2002

My daughter is in the 4th grade. She makes a's & b's with the occasional c. However, it takes a lot of time and effort from both of us to maintain these grades. I just don't think it should be this hard. This past semester her grades dropped. The frustrating thing is I think she worked harder last semester then any other time.

I sometimes get concerned that she is not comprehending what she reads. She was a slow starter in reading and is now about average. It is very difficult for her to study notes and then tell me what they say without looking. Even when I go over them with her verbally, I can just see this glazed look come over her.

She is a wonderful child, but not a self starter. Her dad thinks she is lazy, but I use the term unmotivated.

She can be sensitive and I'm not sure I want her to think she is dumb by having her tested when her grades aren't that bad. However, it hurts to see her get so frustrated with the whole process. And, I am tired.....

Her teachers say she is a good child with average grades and not to worry. But they do not know how difficult it is at home. I feel I am teaching her instead of them. I was a chronic daydreamer when I was in school so I wonder if that may be part of the problem. However, I do not notice her daydreaming at home.

She goes to a small private school with no ability to test her. Our local public school is not that great and I hesitate going there. Are there any other ways I can have her tested? And what would I ask them to test her on.

I'm not a stickler for straight A's, but I hate to see her struggle to maintain average grades with so much time and heartache.

Any suggestions and studying tips would be appreciated!

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I think if she learns to work hard to acheive her best that is a very valuable life lesson.

Inside every cloud is a silver lining.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2002 at 5:47PM
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i think that if there's any question in your mind that she's not fully comprehending then you should have her tested. Just explain that it might help her and it's no reason to be embarrassed or feel stupid. Ask if she feels like she understands something when she reads it, or if she thinks it takes a long time to complete something. By all means, if she does need help, the sooner you can get it the better! My DH works with boys who have dyslexia and reading disorders and many of their learning problems went undiagnosed in school. Perhaps she has an attention deficit problem and her teachers are just glazing over it. The sooner you get her help the better, if that's what you think she needs.

if your school doesn't have the means to test her, then you may want to try Sylvan Learning Centers. I don't know any specifics but it wouldn't hurt to give them a call.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2002 at 11:31PM
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I paid $600 for a complete psycho-educational evaluation for our son and it was worth every penny of it. This was through a private practice; I already knew the school's opinion. I was very impressed; we had a phone meeting for half an hour, and after the testing we met again face to face for an hour and half. We also got an 8 page report. Check with your local ISD (Intermediate School District) for suggested names and more avenues. I believe yours is a situation where a standardized test (CAT California Achievement Test, Terra Nova Test, etc.) would give you another picture of her abilities. Is there a reading consultant in your building that could give her an informal comprehension test? I decided against Sylvan because they are a chain; I figured that they could find something to tutor any child on thus make more $. I hope you find the answers you need.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2002 at 7:00PM
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Hmm, how to find someone to test your daughter. Ask at the school for referrals; also ask at the public school for referrals.

Is there a college or university near you that offers teaching degrees, esp. advanced ones? They might have programs there, or know of recent grads w/ a practice in the area.

I wouldn't tell you daughter it's nothing to be embarrassed about--then she'll know it IS something to be embarrassed about. Say you think it shouldn't be so hard, and an expert is going to talk to her to see if there's another way to approach learning that will help her.

As a general rule:
I think if you're concerned, you should act. If nothing else, it'll allay your fears and let you relax. And you see things the teacher doesn't.

Have you read (my ubiquitous recommendation) "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen (And Listen so Kids Will Talk)"? I only mention it because there might be techniques in there that will help you and your daughter (and dad) figure out how to tackle her lack of motivation. Your daughter might have the answer for how to motivate her. (though struggling w/ reading comprehension is a sure-fire way to lose your motivation!)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2002 at 11:22PM
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I suggest talking to her peditrician. IMO, they are in a position to give you unbiased advice on where they think the best direction is to go from a testing standpoint.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2002 at 12:52AM
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The above advice is all good. Your daughter is at an age where, if there is a perceptual or educational problem, she's got time to learn to deal with it before she gets to jr or sr. high when her workload will be much greater. Tally Sue is absolutely right in suggesting that telling her 'not' to be embarrassed is probably going to have the opposite effect. I personally would be forthright and honest and say that we're trying to find a way to make learning and studying as easy as possible for her.

Now, may I address your comments about your school systems. If you feel your schools aren't providing good quality education, start making noise--let your governor, legislature, county freeholders, local officials and school board know they're falling down on the job. Get other parents and the newspapers involved in your fight. Every child should have access to a high quality, FREE education, in my opinion. Children who have (or may have) learning problems should have adequate free testing available and the public school system should be providing the appropriate help for them. High expectations, yes, but not impossible. In my state, most public school systems are academically way ahead of the private ones. The public schools all have child study teams who are qualified to identify and treat problems. If a school system doesn't have the right class for a child who needs extra help, it's their responsibility to send that child to a school that does--and the public school pays the tuition and provides transportation. If your state is doing less, you have a right to demand they improve what's offered. If our children aren't properly educated, where will we be as a country? Sorry about that--I'll step down off my soap box now.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2002 at 12:28PM
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Thanks for your advise. I have been doing research on the web and found several sites with free test and reading exercises for kids. I have decided to talk with the local public school about testing my daugher. Her school does not test, but does supply extra tutoring if a problem is discovered. I will have her tested soon, but wait until Summer to begin any extra programs. Her grades aren't horrible and I do not know if either of us can handle more stress or work. I'm just going to continue trying new ways to study and have her read more outloud.

I have talked to her about us working more on her reading and her teacher is now sending home extra reading comprehension work. So far she actually seems excited about the process. I hope it will last! I have not talked to her about the test yet. I will wait until I have more info and follow Talley Sues advise.

I also found out that some libraries carry Hooked on Phonics. I will call ours this week to see if they have it or if they can order it.

Thanks for your help. I have been thinking about this for a while, but sitting down and putting it in print made me think it through and take action!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2002 at 9:28PM
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Let me just second the suggestion that you try to get any problems identified and dealt with before jr. and sr. high. It is hard to deal with more stress right now when you're already overloaded, but if your daughter isn't prepared she might be even more stressed in middle school.

I hope all goes well for your daughter!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2002 at 3:35PM
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If your child takes as yearly (CAT) California Achievement test Or (SAT) Stanford Achievement Tests at his school -that should give you a little indication about where your child stands...maybe(?) sometimes those type tests are not a good indicator and sometimes they are.

Sylvan Learning Centers have tests that tell whether your child is (or) is not up to his grade level in certain subjects that they use with their tutouring program. If you think your child has a reading problem you might want to check with them about getting him tutored. They are suppose to use only certified teachers to tutor and have material provided by the company.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2002 at 9:40PM
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Hi! I'm in a VERY similar situation with my son who is in third grade at public school. He does NOT like his teacher, until this year he loved school, and of course his work in class is suffering!! At home too, we het constant battles on doing homework, following the directions, etc...I'm also a student myself studying to BE a teacher, and I feel like I should already KNOW HOW to help him because I'm also his MOM!! Here's what I suggest: Check the internet for "Learning Styles", this can give you a good foundation for learning how your child learns best. You might want to look through some websites or check out books on "Educational Psychology" also. I don't know if I would jump the gun on any disorders quite yet, only because sometimes our children need a certain kind of motivation and/or meaning in what they are studying and trying to learn about. It could be simply that she is bored with the material, or she may be confused because the assignments aren't having a meaningful impact on her, inspiring her to think hard enough!:) There's a LOT of information within the suggestions I wrote to you...I wish you the best of luck and remember to keep your paitence, no matter HOW HARD it may get at times!!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2002 at 12:42AM
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I Think, I have a idea, try search the internet about girls boarding school discipline. This will it help you to get this information about girl's problem.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 6:28AM
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Be aware the original posting was 2002 and it is now 2010. Lots of changes in education have taken place.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 4:02PM
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