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School Underachievement

It is very frustrating when youth don’t achieve to their potential in school. Nobody can control the inner workings of a child’s mind to make them learn. The disparity between parents and educators expectations and a child’s achievement creates a desperate situation often times without easy answers.  Our education system is designed to teach the majority with provisions to assist the struggling, but it’s not streamlined for automatic early detection of learning disabilities or other learning barriers and for well defined, evidence based, intensive remediation.   

Approximately 10% of children in the United States will have learning problems of some kind and need assistance.  The reasons can be many and multiple in the same child.  Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia are types of learning disabilities that are common in children.  Sensory problems such as hearing or vision deficits can contribute to learning difficulties.  Some children have contributing attentional, emotional or other mental illness challenges that affect learning such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, etc.  Physical disease and ailments can affect classroom functioning: asthma, tonsil/adenoid hypertrophy with resulting sleep disturbance, iron deficiency, celiac disease, hypothyroidism, etc.  

The rehabilitation act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1988 are federal legislation pertinent to assisting children with learning impediments of many varieties.   These regulations help children receive extra assistance and accommodations to help them succeed.   Unfortunately federal law doesn’t come with unlimited federal dollars and there is often a challenge deciding who qualifies for services and what interventions are optimal.

Regardless of what happens within the walls of the school, parents of children with learning problems must be involved.  Parents face the challenge of overseeing the child’s education progress, providing executive functioning support, helping with extra academic assistance at home, and dealing with motivational, emotional and behavioral issues the child will face in this difficult battle.

Pediatricians at Canyon View Pediatrics are specialists in child and adolescent medicine.  We are well trained to help parents coordinate the complex dynamics involved in helping their child succeed in school.  We have extended consultation appointments for evaluation and treatment plans.  We will screen for physical disease, learning disabilities and mental health problems.  We will advise you on appropriate testing and assist you in working with the school system to receive necessary remediation and accommodations.  We will guide you in motivating your student and helping them at home to make progress.  We are well versed in the use of medication when necessary for problems such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety that interfere with school achievement.  

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