Let’s accept the truth. We all want our children to perform well academically. We have seen and had our shares of struggles in the world of cut-throat competition. And, we seriously don’t want our children to be left behind in any competition in their life. In such a situation if you notice that your child is performing poorly or not up to the mark of your expectations it is natural for you to be worried about them. But, worrying about a problem is not a solution. In this article, we intend to provide some solution to your problem.
For our solution to be effective, we first need to understand the problem. Without knowing our enemy well we cannot expect to win a battle. So, first, you need to understand the problem – the reason that’s making your child under-perform academically.
We do not intend to scare you but according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 children between 3 and 17 years in the US are diagnosed with a developmental disability. Please be patient! Developmental and learning disabilities are not as scary as they may sound, provided it is diagnosed and treated well in time. So, instead of brushing off your child’s poor performance as her fault or a behavioral issue try to observe closely and make sure she is not struggling with any developmental or learning disabilities.
For your ready reference, here we are listing down some disabilities that affect a child’s academic performance but are often overlooked. In most cases, if a condition is diagnosed early the child can be provided with treatment and life-managing skills to help them lead a dignified and successful life despite their disabilities.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD deserves to be on top of the list as it is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood. Moreover, it is difficult to recognize ADHD in a child because the symptoms overlap with common childhood behavior. Healthcare professionals too tend to diagnose the issue when a child starts her school though the symptoms might been there since the child was a toddler.
The disorder makes it difficult for the child to pay attention, control their impulsive behavior or follow instructions. If you notice the below-mentioned sign in your child then you should take her to a doctor who can diagnose her condition.
- The child daydreams a lot.
- Talks a lot without staying on a topic.
- Gets bored very easily and needs something else to do.
- Cannot concentrate on any given task.
- Is hyperactive in class; finds it difficult to wait for their chance
- Become restless when asked to sit still.
- Have bouts of impulsive behavior especially when asked to be patient.
- Frequently forgets and loses things like their water bottle, lunch box, or even school bag.
Specific Learning Disorder (SLD)
SLD again is a neurodevelopmental disorder that makes learning difficult for a child. Unlike General Learning Disability that impacts all areas of learning i.e. reading, writing, understanding, mathematics, etc. SLD affects a specific area of learning. There are basically three kinds of Specific Learning Disorders:
- Dyslexia – The learning disability that affects a child’s abilities to read. The child finds it difficult to learn words or attach meaning to them.
- Dyscalculia – The learning disability that affects a child’s abilities to learn maths. The child finds it difficult to cope with numbers and do basic calculations.
- Dysgraphia – The specific learning disability affecting a child’s ability to write and draw.
If you find your child struggling with a specific area of learning instead of forcing her to do that task, you should take advice from a pediatrician who can do some basic tests to ascertain your child’s position as compared to developmental standards.
Non-Verbal Learning Disability
Though not listed in every country as a disability; Non-Verbal Learning Disability can impact your child’s grades in their school. This is the type of disability that makes it difficult for the child to understand non-verbal cues such as body language or facial expression. You might notice this in your child even before she starts her schooling. Non-verbal communication makes a very important part of our day-to-day communication. If you find your child struggling with this, you should seek professional help for her.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
APD is not a learning or cognitive disorder but it can potentially affect your child’s academic performance. So, you need to know about it. In this condition, the child has normal hearing power but she lacks coordination between her ears and brain. This means she can listen to everything said to her but she lacks the ability to process the input and understand the meaning. She cannot differentiate between the background noise and the instruction of the teacher. A timely diagnosis and proper management can help the child cope with academic expectations.
While there are other conditions like Down syndrome that can potentially affect a child’s grade, we have not listed them here. Typically when a child has some diagnosed disability like Down syndrome their other underlying conditions are taken care of by their pediatrician.
What if a disability is not the reason behind your child’s poor performance?
It is actually a relieving thing if your child is not struggling with any disability. But then your problem remains constant – what is causing your child to perform not so well in her academics?
There can be plenty of reasons for a child without any diagnosable disability to lack behind in their academic performance. You need to observe and talk to the child and her teacher as well to find the reason.
Some of the common causes may be –
- Unaccepting school environment
- Bullying in the class or school
- Not-so-cooperative teacher
- Too much burden of academics; no time for play and hobby
- Any disturbing condition at home – like separation of parents, frequent nasty fights between parents, the arrival of a new sibling (child feeling ignored)
- Social anxiety
- Lack of friends
Instead of getting frustrated or punishing your child you should try to find the exact cause and extend your helping hand for your child. In addition to providing the needed help to your child, you should also try to figure out their areas of interest. After all, not everybody is made to do exactly the same thing. If some people are born to be scientists and academicians others are born to be dancers, artists, gamers, and travelers. Your child can create a fulfilling career in any field of her interest. They just need your love and support.
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