By Jan Baumel, M.S.
Are there certain grades when kids might feel more stress at school? What should parents be prepared for?
Stress points normally occur at certain developmental periods in education. When expectations for academic performance increase, kids feel stress.
All kids have to make adjustments at times of transition. Many kids, not just those with learning difficulites, experience setbacks when they have to perform more independently. The key is to see if your child can adapt to these challenges and learn new strategies within a normal period of time.
Generally, these are the grade levels when significantly new and different requirements are placed on learning:
|Preschool/ Kindergarten||learning to learn|
|Grade 1||learning to read|
|Grade 4||reading to learn|
|Middle School||learning to organize your learning|
|High School||learning to read, organize, and learn on your own|
|College||doing it on your own|
If your child is functioning well below her peer group, either developmentally, academically, socially, or emotionally, then most likely she'll experience even greater difficulty at these critical times. Because she didn't master skills at the same rate and time as her peers, she'll need to continue to build skills while learning general education curriculum in a different way. She may need to have accommodations in the classroom and at home.
If your child's reading ability is delayed when she enters fourth grade, then she won't have the skills necessary to gather information independently from books. She needs to continue to build her reading skills through direct instruction. You'll find that you can do things to help her get the same general education curriculum as her classmates. Here's how you can help at home:
If your child is diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), then her attention, focus, memory, and self-control may be delayed as much as 30 percent of her actual age. A 12-year-old with AD/HD who is entering middle school may be functioning developmentally more like an 8-year-old. Imagine a third-grader in a middle school, and you can picture the problems your child could have keeping track of different classes, teachers, and assignments while trying to organize her supplies and time. Here are things to help her at home:
Your school or district can advise you about grievance and due process procedures if you have a disagreement. You can request a copy of the district's Section 504 policy as well.
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