How to Find the Right Kind of Help for Your Struggling Child
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Your child has more trouble than others in a specific academic area (reading, math, writing, understanding), and she is falling behind academically, even showing signs of school avoidance.
The Next Step
Your child may have a learning disability, which means she struggles in a specific academic area. Some kids may have more than one LD, or may have an LD along with ADHD or another diagnosis. To determine whether your child has an LD, she will need to a formal academic and psychological evaluation—sometimes called a neuropsychological evaluation. Your school district performs these types of evaluations (for free) or it can be conducted privately. You should do research in order to determine the best route for your family (considerations include cost and the quality of the evaluation). The evaluator will then make recommendations as to the right support for your child.
Your child frequently exhibits one or more of the following behaviors: anxiety, worrying, sadness/crying, anger/temper tantrums, fears, difficulty separating/transitioning, or trouble making friends.
The Next Step
Some troubling childhood behaviors will diminish naturally with time. However, more often without intervention, they don’t resolve or become worse. In addition, waiting may make it more difficult to intervene effectively, so it is best to seek guidance from a child psychologist or other mental health professional. You can ask your child’s physician or school for a good recommendation and then make sure you feel comfortable with the person. A well-qualified professional will work with both you and your child—not just your child. You should expect to be an integral part of the evaluation and treatment process every step of the way. It is impossible to help a young child without involving his parents, so don’t accept this as an option.
Dr. Susan Bartell is a Long Island-based, nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask.” You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at drsusanbartell.com.