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Discouraged Parent


lovemyboys2012 August 30, 2012

Hi out there. My husband and I are the proud parents of a son we adopted at the age of four. I wish I could say school was easy for him, but it is not. He is in 3rd grade, is not doing grade level work and is actually about two grades behind in just about everything. He doesn't tie his shoes yet and getting him to do homework is like pulling teeth. He is a very bright child, but can be a handful and doesn't always make the best choices. Does anyone have any tips on how to get him at least interested in learning? He enjoys math, science, and geography, but is still behind in those.

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TaNikaMBA September 20, 2012

Step one. Your child might need a different approach. Is it private school, public school, charter school, or montessori? I would consider the more structured the better and see what motivates him and then turn his hard subjects into fun activities with rewards for example. My son has autism. He only like food for rewards and movies. So I personally invested in SMART tables for his class room and instead of a possible obese son I have a technologically savvy son. I suggest having him tested see if he qualifies for an IEP and get him the specialists needed to help him catch up without feeling like he or you are humiliated and without spending thousands of dollars start with human services and then get him tested and go from there. It is the best thing you can do for your child and it gets him the individualized help at school and at home with professionals that cost 110 an hour for free. Just a suggestion. I pray for your son.


TeacherParent September 24, 2012

Has your son been tested? That he cannot tie his shoes suggests he has fine motor issues. Does your son's pediatrician know he can't tie his shoes - it may seem a small issue but children with fine motor issues often evidence other subtle issues as well.

Like reading - how is his reading? If your school psychologist or guidance counselor would administer some diagnostic tests, it could give insight into why he's not doing grade level work. He might benefit from an IEP or Individualized Educational Plan.

If he enjoys math, science and geography then he is interested in learning. Just because a child doesn't do well in school doesn't necessarily mean they're not interested in learning. School is just one kind of learning. Lots of very bright people - like Einstein - didn't do well in or like school very much at all.

If he were my son, I'd ask the school to test him and I'd talk to your pediatrician about your overall concerns. In the meantime, I wouldn't hesitate to give him as much help with his schoolwork as you can. If he has textbooks, try reading aloud to him and discuss what you're reading - try to make it come alive. He doesn't sound ready to do homework on his own - that' s not something that can be forced.

And I'd read aloud to him every night from any interesting book and I'd have him read to himself every night from a very easy-to-read book, the easier the better because he needs to build what's called fluency in reading and that comes only from reading easy books, not hard books.

I'd also make an appointment and go in and quietly observe his school classroom. Sit in the back and the kids forget you're there. See what his school day is like - is his teacher paying attention to him or is he sitting on the side and allowed to look out the window? Does he have friends? Is he playing happily on the playground with his classmates?

It's not uncommon for lively boys to not make the best choices and some boys are more of a challenge than others. I'd try to get things going more smoothly in school and that alone can help a child to feel more settled and make better choices outside of school.
Good luck.


jenislove September 26, 2012

Have you son evaluated at a Children's hospital to rule out any type of social/emotional issues such as learning disabilities or even PTSD, since trauma is huge in adopted children. This mimics learning challenges and other issues. All of the comments are very important and noteworthy and I would go to the public school special ed dept to request a Functional Behavior test to see if he would benefit from an IEP.. I can talk off air since I have some experience in this matter.

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