I had a wonderful opportunity to read and learn from the book School struggles. This book is easy to understand as there are no jargons. I liked the "take a way points" and tips at the end of each section in this book. I agree with lots of things in the book and realized that we have to make changes as parents to avoid problems in the future. Labelling children with problems, doesn't help anyone because many variables and factors contribute to the problems children may face in school. The author Dr. Selznick has worked with families over 25 years and recognizes the complex mixture of cultural, socio-economic backgrounds and uniques of each family. He offers guidelines based on his experience, professional practice and research. He recognizes that these struggles that children have are because of their differences and does not label it as a disability.
The author explains that children become shutdown learners when there are cracks in the foundation because of time + lack of understanding + strained family communications = school struggling shut down learners.
Children that will struggle in the future can be identified early as 4-5 years of age. Even when parents feel there is something wrong and approach the educator, they are usually told not to worry. The signs that a child is struggling in school work emerge in upper elementary grades and become more pronounced by high school, at this time it becomes overwhelming for the family.
Timing is important, so dealing with the problem patiently before it matures is something we can do. Some signs to look for and consider so we can intervene early will prevent children from becoming shut down learners.
- If the child is tuning out during circle time,
- Highly spatial and visual learners,
- Active or over active,
- Having trouble with language based activities i.e. reading and writing.
Here are somethings we can do to help the children
- Trust your feelings when you think something is wrong
- Know what to target and help with skills that needs more practice.
- Look for small things to boost the child's self esteem i.e. "Wow, I like the way your working without being asked to."
- Get the child involved in creative extra curricular activities such as sports, art, cooking, music etc.
- Maintain equilibrium between fun and learning. Don't let school problems dominate every interaction i.e. play board games or do crafts
- Support and connect with the child to let the child know you are in the same team.
- Keep homework time calm. Yelling and telling the child to try hard doesn't help. Set a point system to reward the children and encourage. i.e. however try to avoid monetary compensation and reward with fun trips, going out for ice cream.
- Encourage children to read out loud. After grade 2 children usually read independently and we might not recognize if they are have reading or comprehension problems.
- Lack of understanding that there is a skill deficiency adds up and causes frustration to the child and adults.
- Teach the basics i.e. phonic sounds. Reading and comprehension problems can be helped by prompting and talking to the child so they can start thinking. i.e. the author suggests programs like glassanalysis.com
- Stay organized from the start.
- Technology has changed lots of things in our daily activities and has created less interaction between families, which is why it is important to set a family time to talk and play with each other.
- Let children contribute to the guidelines and rules on what will help them do the homework and study.
Children who struggle with their school work face lots of social problems as well and get picked by peers, family, which effects their self esteem. We can help these children by preventing the problems and taking a step back to see which basic skills need practice i.e. follow directions, play with others, identify letters, sound out the words etc.
Throwing children into special education is not the solution. Medications that are available out there to control behaviour is not a solution either, these types of medication come with lots of harm.
This book will help parents and professionals help chldren take a less rocky road in school. The book is available online and at bookstores. I am glad to host a giveaway of the books The Shut Down Learner and School struggles to one person in US or Canada. The giveaway ends on September 30th, please enter through the rafflecopter below.
Update: The winner is Elaine
All rights reserved on photographs and opinion of the written content Createwithmom © 2012. Please Ask First