I met with a mother a few days ago to discuss how her daughter was progressing. Her daughter had been “diagnosed” with ADHD and an auditory processing disorder. Her previous school was making weekly (sometimes daily!) phone calls to report on the “problem child.” That mother seemed to be carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Her eyes were heavy with tears, and I thought of all those sleepless nights she spent worrying about her daughter’s future.
The thing was: I didn’t see these problems at all.
I mean, I had concerns for the child, she definitely had something going on, but I wasn’t getting any huge red flags. Maybe a few small yellow ones popped up. A little investigating with the parent and some questioning of the child revealed an old school classroom of dictation and coral reading. The student did lots of desk work, shared answers publicly, and was reprimanded for wrong ones.
All together it seemed her old classroom was a place of high anxiety. It wasn’t the safe place she needed to reach her potential. In fact the classroom was actually increasing her problems.
This child and the teacher were simply a bad fit. You always hear about the one teacher. The one who gets you better than any other before them.
Well the opposite is also true. There will be a teacher who seems to bring out the worst in you. Who brings out your flaws and fails to recognize your strengths.
It’s not the child’s fault or even the teacher’s really. It’s just not the right relationship match.
What I would advise is taking a moment or two to start asking question and getting to the heart of the matter before jumping to any diagnostic conclusions.
Before slapping a label on the problem, getting curious could be the cure.
- Ask the teacher to explain the day and how they’re going about teaching each subject area.
- Ask about group work and opportunities for hands on learning.
- If you can, try observing in the classroom for the morning.
- Talk to your child about the issues the teachers bringing up. Try to figure out where these problems might be stemming from.
- Most importantly reflect about how your child is in other settings outside school. Think about their home life and extra curricular activities. A diagnosis would translate in all areas of their daily life. Before jumping to any conclusions get curious and start researching.
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