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My child is struggling at school – when should I get help?

By Claire Corbitt, Managing Director & Occupational Therapist

Boy sleeping in class

In my experience both professionally and as a parent, Australian teachers do a terrific job of teaching the curriculum and offering extra assistance to kids who are falling behind.

But due to large class sizes and time restraints, they have no choice other than to direct their learning instruction towards the average student. This is why students with special learning needs, or ones who are just falling behind a bit, often fall through the cracks.

What if my child is falling behind?

When a school has done their best to help a student catch up and it’s clear that student needs more assistance than the school can provide, we as parents need to seek help outside of the classroom.

And the sooner the better as kids need to see that their efforts are producing results otherwise they’re at risk of disengagement. This negative mindset can be difficult to turn around.

How to choose an intervention

With so many options for outside assistance, it can be tricky to select what’s right for your child. My biggest advice is to make sure you’re investing your time and money wisely in something that is:

  1. Researched so you can be sure it works
  2. Targeted to your child’s learning needs, and
  3. Offers a bottom-up approach meaning it targets the underlying reason for your child’s difficulties.

While tutoring or extra practice for example may seem like the best option, it isn’t likely to address the reason why the student is falling behind in the first place.

Need advice?

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